Ecuador, with its perfect spring weather throughout the year and endless golden beaches, is the ideal tourist destination for thousands of reasons, including the amazing food and vibrant city life.
Ecuador is perfect for those who want more than just a simple vacation, but also for those who want to enjoy their life to the fullest. If you fit into this category, you are probably wondering what kind of place Ecuador is, what to expect from it, and what you should bring. So here are a few things to consider.
Prices & Currency
If you’re from the USA, you don’t have to worry about confusing conversions, as one of the official currencies is the United States Dollar. Even with a low budget, Ecuador can be an amazing place for budget backpackers because prices are not too high.
You can easily find good quality double rooms for $20 to $30 per night, and a good meal, for example, a two-course seafood dish, for just 3 bucks.
A great idea that will save you some trouble is to always carry a good amount of small denomination bills, as street food, daily items and transportation are usually really cheap and people often don’t have change.
Another recommendation is to be prepared to battle some ATM machines. Some machines won’t accept your card at all, while some ATM machines cannot issue more than $100 at a time. On top of that, smaller cities and villages usually don’t have ATMs, so prepare your wallet before you go anywhere.
Being perfectly fluent in English is always a good thing, but in Ecuador it might not be that helpful since local people speak many different indigenous languages. Most of the local people don’t speak English that well or at all, but everyone speaks and understands Spanish perfectly, so it would be wise to learn at least some basic phrases before booking your flight to this amazing country.
For those who don’t like to experiment too much, Ecuador offers standard western cuisine or different varieties of rice dishes with vegetables, meat and fish. However, western food is usually more expensive, and besides that, it would be a sin to miss some of the wonders of the traditional Ecuadorian kitchen. You can get a taste of Ecuadorian cuisine right on the streets or in fancy restaurants.
One of the most popular choices for indecisive and hungry tourists is usually the “almuerzo” – lunch special. These dishes usually include soup, a main dish, and a drink, and they cost around $2.50 to $3. Here, you’re always guaranteed to get enough food with an amazing taste for an affordable price, so be sure to explore the many different choices this place has to offer.
It is a great idea to pre-book some transportation to your hotel when you arrive in Ecuador for the first time. Even if you haven’t, you can still use a taxi. Getting around in bigger cities is not a problem, since taxi services are not expensive because fuel is cheap.
In most situations you won’t have to spend more than $3 to $5 per ride, but if you want to save on that, you can still catch a local bus. Local bus fares are usually no more than 50 cents, but traveling routes can be confusing, so check twice to ensure you are on the right bus before it goes anywhere.
For cross-country traveling, your best option is still a bus, as it is really easy to use. Just make sure you hold onto any bus ticket receipts you get, since you might need them later on. If you are traveling for more than a few hours, be sure to check the fares and routes of different bus companies, as prices and time spent on the road can vary.
While Ecuador is notorious for being a place where you can easily “lose” your wallet, these rumors are often exaggerated. Having said that, it is important to note that some visitors, as in all countries around the world, have had negative experiences, and therefore it is a good idea to keep your eyes open and always check your belongings.
If you are going somewhere, it is better to be accompanied by some friends so you can look after each other. Learn about common scams, how to notice them, and how to avoid them before your trip and you should be just fine.
As the name itself suggests, Ecuador is located on the equator, which means it’s much closer to the sun than any other place north or south of it. This means that you’re going to need some serious UV protection. In case you forgot to bring sunscreen, you can easily find local stores where these types of products can be found.
Ecuador is a destination that is guaranteed
to give you the adventure of a lifetime,
just make sure you are adequately prepared and well informed!