5 things I wish I knew before going to Ecuador

Ecuador is the second-smallest country in South America, but nowhere else on Earth will you find so much natural diversity.

In one day you see the Amazon Basin, volcanoes, cloud forests and the Pacific coast. You can spend your cash shopping at the awesome indigenous market in Otavalo or enjoy some of the world class trekking Ecuador offers (try the Quilatoa Loop).

Some trivia about the country: Ecuador exports 8 million tonnes of bananas a year, has had nine presidents since 1997, its residents make a minimum wage of $318/month, and the Panama hat actually came from Ecuador.

Besides all of the wonderful adventures you can have in Ecuador, as with any place you travel, there are a couple things you'll need to look out for to stay safe. We've asked our friends in the adventure travel industry for their advice, so have a read below and then please add in the comments add your tips for making the most of Ecuador.

1. Get your travel jabs.

When traveling to Ecuador, a thorough evaluation of the traveler's immunization history is as important whether they are a child, adolescent or an adult. Routine immunizations can protect you while traveling to South America; and may even save your life.

Jorge Castillo, Passport Health USA

WorldNomads: If you want to know which vaccinations to get, we can hep you with that. Check out our guide to travel immunisations you really need for South America.

2. Women travellers.

Dress conservatively if you are bothered by catcalls. It's still a macho culture. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So avoid miniskirts, spaghetti straps, etc. and no matter how athletic you are, take high altitude precautions seriously.

Kimberly Haley-Coleman, Globe Aware

3. Common crime traps.

Don't walk up to the virgin monument in Quito as people do get robbed on the remote track. There is a mustard scam in Ecuador, mostly in Quito. You will be walking down the street and will step on a package of mustard. One of the locals will come to help you clean the mustard off your pants and will also clean you out your wallet.

Trish Sare, BikeHike Adventures

WoldNomads: Don't miss the view from the virgin monument, it's spectacular, just follow these simple tips for getting there safely.

4. Galapagos tips.

Don't bring anti-malarial medicine. Although there are mosquitoes in Galápagos, none of them are carriers of malaria or dengue fever. Make sure you do bring sunscreen.
The Galapagos gets very hot and sunny. Also consider bringing seasickness medicine or check and see if your cruise has it. A motion sickness medicine called Mareol is available in Galapagos and mainland Ecuador pharmacies.

Carla Torres, Geovisions

WorldNomads: The Galapagos Islands are certainly unique, with some unique problems for the first time visitor. Learn how to avoid these traps to keep your trip fun and safe.

5. Do explore.

Especially the lesser known parks and mountains, but always consult a knowledgeable and credible local guide on trails & conditions, take a compass and not least, tell someone how long you'll be gone for. Also, the best thing you can pack is a good rain jacket. The weather is very capricious in the mountains and podocarp rainforests.

Christina Tunnah, World Nomads Travel Insurance

Learn some local lingo!

Of course, whenever you're travelling to a foreign country it's always helpful to know a bit of the local language, Learn Spanish with a WorldNomads Language Guide. Share your story! What did you learn in Ecuador and wish you had known before you left?


  • Caroline said

    Be careful when travelling into the rain forest area. Remember more water, more mud slides. Be careful in general as people are very poor in this country. Beautiful tropical country. Very friendly people.

  • Jenny said

    Hey everyone, i was recently in ecuador and let me tell you, it was wonderful. i never felt uncomfortable or unsafe, people are extremely friendly and nice. The prices are incredibly low so its a really good place to go shopping. Its also a very cultural and beautiful place. i can't wait to go back!

  • anantharaj said

    This country how much salary labour work computer billing how salary

  • ericka said

    Exercise caution when traveling to the Vilcabamba area. Tourists and expats have been targeted by armed criminals in the area. You can search and see the news articles. Use common sense and avoid hiking in remote areas.


  • viviana said

    HI, I live in Ecuador, and about robbery I can honestly say that you should be carefull in the big cities like Guayaquil or Quito, as New york or other big metropolis crime is something thant you can´t avoid. Don´t dress conservatively, I mean is true, you may have to deal with some of the disgusting flirtatious but is a really hot country, and I repeat this will only be in the big cities.

  • Abdul said

    Ecuador is a country I will soon like to visit , have been reading they have a lot of adventurous places to go and different tourist attractions .. Can't wait to go there for the first time

  • Jani said


    I am planning to apply for PR on Ecuador,I just wanted to know more about this place.Please help me.

  • Alicia Erickson said

    Insulin is cheap and easy to get here (lots of Hispanics develop diabetes). Once you are a resident of Ecuador, you are eligible for social security insurance which runs about $70 a month. It becomes effective once you have paid for 3 months and covers all hospital costs, clinics, specialists and medications. Many expats pay for the cost of this insurance by turning in their refunds (taxes of 14% in Ecuador are refunded to retired people). Once you get to Ecuador, other expats will help you get this all straightened out. Otherwise paying out of pocket is not too expensive (dentist visit with filling $30 or specialist visit $30).... or you can go to the free hospital (pain in the but, but there if you needed it)
    Food is and is not expensive here. Cost of bacon (200 grams) is $6.29 (USD), peanut butter (peter pan) 16oz. is almost $10, but a whole chicken is $6, 30 eggs are $4, a bag of potatoes is $1, a bag of limes is $1, bag of onions $1, 15-20 tomatoes costs $1, lunch at an Ecuadorian restaurant costs $2.50 with chicken, rice, juice and beans, lunch at a tourist trap costs $6-8. Eating local and fresh is less expensive. If you have to have stuff like peanut butter, bacon, cereal, etc. then food prices are more expensive as you are eating what locals don't thus the import fees are high (import taxes in Ecuador are expensive). Turkeys are crazy expensive at about $12 a pound, but two large fresh fish from the coast (come in a truck) will run you just $3. Be careful eating out here, as they are carb lovers (plates of rice, potatoes, pasta, corn, etc) and don't know how to cook veggies.
    I hope this helps. .
    Alicia (Gringa living in Cuenca, Ecuador for 4 years)

  • Shaam aaron said

    Hi...Everyone,recently I have planning to move Ecuador for my bright future,I have completed my B.Pharmacy and I have three years work experience as a Pharmacist,Guy's please share with me some information about life in Ecuador and how to get a Pharmacist job up there and if I wants to move USA for my bright future,after getting Professional PR visa,if it is possible?????Please share your amazing experience and valuable words to me....thank you and love you Guys!!!!

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