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FAQ Page

Frequently Asked Questions when travelling to Ecuador & Galápagos Islands

Here are our best Ecuador and Galápagos travel tips and advices

Check the frequently asked questions about travelling to Ecuador or South America in general.

Here you will find some advices and tips when travelling to Ecuador and Galápagos. Don’t forget to check this information when planning your trip.

If you have a specific question that is not on this list, go to our Contact Page or check our contact form and send us a message.

CURRENCY

Since the year 2000, Ecuador uses the United States of America Dollar(USD) as its currency for all legal transactions.

In cash, you can enter with up to USD$ 10,000 – without having to declare it. Any higher amount must be declared and give a reason for the origin of the money, the legality of its source and the purpose for which it will be destined in Ecuador.

If you enter with other internationally accepted currencies (euros, sterling pounds, Swiss francs, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars, etc), you must also keep in mind that they cannot exceed the USD$ 10,000 when converted.

MONEY / MONEY EXCHANGE

It is recommended to exchange money in Ecuador, as the exchange rate is much better here than in Europe. You should take USD in cash with you or traveller checks.

The most common credit cards to pay with or to draw cash are American Express, Euro/MasterCard and Visa. In the cities you will be able to use your credit card in many places but when paying cash you can save up to 10%.

MEDICAL

Unless you enter Ecuador from a country where yellow fever is a risk, vaccinations are not mandatory when entering Ecuador. However, we advice you to get the following vaccinations:

  • Tetanus and Polio
  • Yellow Fever and Typhoid (if you stay for longer periods in the jungle)
    Hepatitis A+B
  • Malaria prophylaxis (if you stay in the coast areas and Amazon Basin)
  • Cholera

Please contact your doctor or visit the nearest tropical diseases Institute to make all the necessary arrangements before coming to Ecuador.

TRAVEL SEASONS

High season (Jun-Sep):

On the coast, the high season runs from April to December.
From January to May it is high season in the Galápagos.
Despite the weather, a large number of Americans and Europeans visit Ecuador throughout the whole year.

Mid season (Oct-Nov):

October has fewer tourists and lower prices.
The sea is more agitated in the Galapagos, which is why there are better offers.

Low season (Dec-May):

The low season in the Galapagos is between June and December.
In the Amazon the low season runs from April to July.

IS ECUADOR SAFE TO TRAVEL

Ecuador is a quite a safe country to travel. Nevertheless you should not leave you valuables unguarded. Thefts and pick-pocketing are quite common, especially in places, which are frequently visited by tourists, such as the historic centre of Quito. It’s best to carry your valuables in money-belts, which can be worn underneath your clothes.
It is also recommended to join a group of other people when travelling alone.

When taking public transportation, do not ever put valuables in your external pockets. If you have a backpack, it is recommended to hold it in front of you everytime to avoid pick-pocketing.

As a general recommendation in whole South America, try to only stay in touristic places or follow the instructions of your travel guide / advisor. Avoid unknown places or neighborhoods.

LANGUAGE

The language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish. Many Indigenous groups of the highlands are bilingual – they speak Spanish as well as Kichwa. Indigenous people living in the rainforest speak their own languages and dialects.

Most touristic places have information available in English and you will be able to find english speaking people to help and support you.

HOW IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN ECUADOR

High season (Jun-Sep):

In the highlands, the days are normally sunny and clear. During the day, the average is 22°C / 71.6°F and during the evening, an average of 12°C / 53.6°F.

In the Amazon it is less rainy and the average temperature goes up to 30°C / 86°F.
The weather is more chill and drier in the Galapagos Islands with an average of 23°C / 73.4°F, the temperature never goes lower than 19°C / 66.2°F.

Mid season (Oct-Nov):

In the highlands the weather is cooler, with more showers (sun in the morning and rain at night). An average temperature of 18°C / 64.4°F is expected.

In the Amazon, the average temperature goes up to 30°C / 86°F.

The temperature in the Galapagos Islands shows an average of 23°C / 73.4°F, the temperature never goes lower than 19°C / 66.2°F.

Low season (Dec-May):

In the highlands the temperatures are cooler and it rains more, the average temperature goes from 9°C / 48.2°F to 16°C / 60.8°F.
On the coast, warm temperatures and usual rains are expected. The temperature goes up to 35°C / 95°F.

In the Galapagos Islands the weather gets rainy (it rains almost every day) and cloudy, the general humidity is high. The temperatures go up to 31°C / 87.8°F and it never goes lower than 23°C / 73.4°F.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

City buses and taxis are not expensive. The rate for city buses and public transportation is US$0,25 p.p (this rate can change depending on the city). Taxis charge the rate showing in the taximeter, however, the minimum rate to pay during day is US$1,50. During the evening people normally bargain a “good price” with the taxi driver according to the distance, eventhough, taxi drivers must use their taximeter, by law.

In the windshield of buses, they indicate their route. They stop when you wave your hand on almost all roads. It is possible to get off the bus at every time.
Taxis will stop on hand signal.

Mobile transportation services such as Uber, Cabify and InDriver are popular and, currently, the most effective and preferred service between locals.

Buses between cities or provinces (buses interprovinciales) cost from US$1,50 p.p. to US$5,00 p.p. You can take them in the big main Bus Stations on each city.

TIPPING

Tips are only expected for touristic services and restaurants.

Most restaurants charge already a 10% extra fee for the “service”, it is up to you if you want to leave an extra tip to your waiter/waitress.

Taxis or transportation in general do not expect tips.

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