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Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world and is located in the northwest part of South America. To the north is Colombia and to the east and south is Peru. Two high and parallel ranges of the Andes, traversing the country from north to south, are topped by tall volcanic peaks. The highest is Chimborazo at 20,577 ft (6,272 m). The diversity of Ecuador is mostly based on the four different climate zones you can find throughout the country: Amazonas, Andes, Coast and the Galapagos Islands. Since they are all very close to each other, you could easily visit all four “worlds” of Ecuador within one week of holiday.

General Information

Here you will find all everything about Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands!

Capital of Ecuador:Quito
Currency:United States Dollar $ (USD)
Population of Ecuador:17.6 million (in 2020)
Languages in Ecuador:Spanish and various dialects of Quechua are spoken in the highlands, while in the Amazon several indigenous languages are spoken, including Kichwa, Shuar and Wao.

FAUNA AND FLORA

Ecuador is home to some of the most fantastic arrays of landscapes, habitats and species on the planet. Despite its relatively small size, it hosts approximately 10% of the world’s biodiversity. Transected by both the equator and the Andean mountain chain, and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador encompasses four distinct regions each with its own natural and cultural beauty, charm and value. The admiration of the world is centered on the fauna of the Galapagos Islands, due to the endemism conditions (82% mammals, 80% land birds, 26% seabirds, 95% reptiles are endemic to the islands). The Galapagos fauna has its ancestors on the continent and they had an evolutionary process of approximately 4 million years. Among the Endemic Species can be mentioned petrels, cormorants, Galapagos sparrowhawk, penguins, land and marine iguanas and many more. 

GASTRONOMY

The country is recognized for its tremendous exotic fruits, high quality seafood and numerous kinds of potatoes in the Andes. The country’s cuisine changes from region to region. People from the coast like beans, fish and plantains, whereas the Andes regions eat rice and meat.

  • Locro de papa: It is a delicious potato stew that may contain cheese and rinds, and which is served along with avocado and toasted corn.
  • Llapingachos: This typical dish are fried tortillas made with boiled potatoes and filled with cheese, that tend to be bathed in a delicious peanut sauce, with chorizo, fried egg, salad, and avocado.
  • Shrimp ceviche is one of the most traditional dishes in Ecuador, especially on the coast of the country. In Ecuador ceviche is prepared in different ways, and one of the particularities is that the shrimp is cooked, and not only marinated in lemon.
  • Bolones de verde (stuffed green plantain dumplings): You can’t miss the experience of eating a delicious bolón de verde whether it is filled with cheese, chicharron (deep fried pork), or both. The bolón de verde is prepared with green plantains which are cooked and smashed until they form a dough.
PERSONAL CARE & HEALTH INFORMATION
  • Ecuador does not have a system of purification on tap water. Do not to drink tap water unless it is boiled or purified with tablets.
  • Be careful with meat and fish dishes places unknown or local markets! It is recommended to try Ecuadorian dishes in restaurants.
  • Ecuador does not require any immunizations for entry, although we recommend vaccination against yellow fever. Please consult your doctor.
  • In case you are staying in the Amazon rainforest (Jungle), we recommend to consider a malaria vaccination (consult your doctor)
  • Symptoms of altitude sickness tend to occur within hours after arrival at high altitude and can produce headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and stomachaches. Please do not plan any physically demanding activities the first days, drink a lot of water and eat well-balanced food.
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Most people prefer dry and sunny days, which means one of the best times to travel to Ecuador is often considered to be the months of June through September (dry season). This is certainly the time when you can be more certain of enjoying superb panoramic views of Ecuador’s grand mountains and volcanoes. It is also the best time of year for hiking, climbing and other outdoor pursuits. However, the dry season is naturally also the busiest season. You can expect during these months that everything will be generally busier, and possibly more expensive due to higher demand.

On the Galapagos Islands the seasons are split into cool/dry (June to November) and warm/wet (December to June), the best time to visit the Galápagos islands depends on what you want to see. Top tip: the warmer season is the best time to go to the Galápagos for diving as the sea is calmer and the underwater visibility is really good. Unlike most other wildlife destinations, the animals here can be seen all year, with exception of the migratory species. Their behaviour does vary though, so you may want to take this into consideration – whether you want to play with penguins, swim with baby sea lions, see tortoises hatching or sea turtles laying their eggs – there are wildlife spectacles all of the year in the islands.

A passport valid for six months is required to enter and depart Ecuador. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. Please visit the Embassy of Ecuador in your country for more information. We recommend you to have a travel insurance for your trip to South America.

For the Galapagos Islands, there are some aditional entry requirements. The Galapagos Transit Card was created by the Ecuadorian government to monitor the time spent by visitors on the islands and you cannot enter without it. You can obtain it in the airport of Quito or Guayaquil. Even before checking in with your airline, go the the INGALA/CGREG counter to purchase the Galapagos Transit Card. It costs 20 USD per person and is preferably paid in cash. If you have booked a pre-arranged tour or cruise, your travel agent will have pre-registered you for this card. You can go to the INGALA/CGREG counter and just purchase the Galapagos Transit Card. If not, plan for a little extra time at the airport or save some time by pre-registering yourself. Once you arrive on the Galapagos Islands, you have to pay the Galapagos Entrance Fee. The cost depends on your country of origin and age. Make sure to bring cash, as card payments are not accepted! The basic cost is 100 USD for adults.

Ecuador’s official currency is the US dollar and is identical to those issued in the United States. Coins of one, five, 10, 25 and 50 cents are identical in shape, size and color to their US equivalents, but bear images of famous Ecuadorians. Both US and Ecuadorian coins are used in Ecuador.

Emergengy numbers of U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador:

  • Calling from the U.S.: (011-593-2) 398-5000
  • After hours: (011-593-2) 398-5000
  • Calling from other Ecuadorian provinces: (02) 398-5000
  • After hours: (02) 398-5000
  • Calling from a landline in Quito or Pichincha province: 398-5000
  • After hours: 398-5000

Emergency number of British Embassy in Quito, Ecuador:

  • +593 2 3972 200.

Emergency services in Ecuador can be reached on the following numbers:

  • Police: 101
  • Ambulance: 131
  • Fire: 102
  • Emergency (major cities only): 911

Tours & activities in Ecuador