Population: Ecuador is a multiethnic and multicultural nation. Its population exceeds 13 million people who mainly live on the coast and in the Andes. In its three continental regions (mountains, jungle and coast) live 13 indigenous nationalities.
Quichua communities of the East, Huaorani, Achuar, Shuar, Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Shiwiar and Zaparo are in the Amazonia.
In the Andean region live the Quichuas de la Sierra.
The coast is home to the Chachi, Cayapas, Tsáchilas and the Awa.
The three most populated cities of the country are Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca.
The Ecuadorian population is characterized by its youth: 38.8% is under 15 years and 49.6% is less than 20 years.
Language: The official language is Spanish. Most of the indigenous population also speaks Quechua, but there are also 18 different languages spoken in Ecuador.
Religion: 85% of the population is Catholic. During the last decade, evangelism has hugely grown at the national level, both in urban and in indigenous communities.
Government: Democratic Republic. The current president is Eco. Rafael Correa.
The best time to visit Ecuador is all year round. The highlands’ dry season (the best time for hiking and climbing) is June to August, which coincides with the wettest months in the Jungle.
Trekking in the Jungle is best done in the dry season, from late August through February. As for crowds and costs, the high season both on the mainland and in the Galápagos tends to be mid-December through January and June to August, when most of the vacationing foreign visitors arrive.
If you’re visiting the Galápagos, you’ll find the warm rainy season from January to April, which is the best time for snorkelling; the rest of the year, the water is cooler, typically around 20°C (68°F). The mainland coast has similar weather patterns, and its beaches fill up from January to May during coastal Ecuador ‘s school holidays.
June through August sees vacationists descend, though the weather’s generally gone chilly by then. Not too chilly, but comfortable.
GMT – 5:00
You must be in possession of a passport valid six months after the date of your return.
(Indications: to be confirmed by the Ecuadorian authorities of your country of residence)
Passport valid more than six months after the date of return.
No resident from the European Union, North or South America needs a visa to enter Ecuador as a tourist (maximum 90 days). An extension of more than 90 days is possible (for a maximum of 90 additional days) by going to the Migration Service offices in Quito.
On 1st March 2000, the Ecuadorian Congress approved the dollarization of the economy.
This measure, which supposes the adoption of the dollar as the sole legal currency, was inaugurated on the 9th of September 2000 and the Sucre ceased to exist officially.
Thus, the official currency used throughout the country is now the U.S. dollar.
To avoid the disappearing of cents, given that at the beginning of the process of dollarization everything was sold at a minimum price of USD 1 regardless of the product, thus artificially raising the cost of living, the alternative movement of currencies with fractional representations in Ecuador has been adopted and these currencies only have economic value in Ecuador.
You will then find Ecuadorian and American fractional coins, which can be used indiscriminately for any purchase or sale on the national territory.
Traveller’s checks are not used very frequently in Ecuador. There are few commercial establishments accepting them.
The exchange rate depends on where the transaction takes place, and furthermore, it occurs on a limited schedule (until 14:00).
Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most tourist towns and there are also Cash Points where you can withdraw money in cash with these cards.
Ecuadorian food is simple but varied. A meal often starts with a good soup « caldo » or « ceviche » (fish soup), then you could perhaps be offered a « cuy » (guinea pig) or « lechon » (suckling pig), roasted. You will also taste « llapingachos » (potato and cheese pancakes).
Beer, two national brands: Pilsener and Club.
– Chicha (Indian drink), alcoholic or not, a rather rustic drink.
– The local rum, alone or in cocktails.
– Fresh juices.
– Water fire or “Aguardiente” is the national alcohol, made from sugar cane.
– And of course, chocolate.
Luggage: To make your trip easier, we recommend you to bring a large bag (or backpack with wheels if possible) and a backpack to carry by hand.
It is important to know that all passengers are allowed to carry up to 20 kilos on the plane on most scheduled Transatlantic flights (check with airlines for confirmation of these conditions on your flight). It is advisable to take out « »loss of luggage” insurance. »
Clothing: It is recommended to bring clothes for both temperate to hot climate and cold (see details about conditions above).
The Amazon region has a hot and humid climate; therefore you will need light clothing, as well as in the coastal city of Guayaquil.
The towns of the Andean region have a temperate to cold climate according to the season, which may be dry or rainy. It is advisable to bring warm clothes even though sunny days can follow heavy rain.
Vaccines: No type of vaccine is required to enter the country.
It is recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever if you are thinking of visiting the Amazon.
In highland areas such as Quito (2,850m), altitude sickness or « soroche » (headache or nausea) can happen but doesn’t last long; as far as possible, it is advisable to go up by steps, eat little (because digestion is slower in high altitudes) and relax on arrival at altitude.
Similarly, to visit the Sierra region, any traveller with heart problems or high blood pressure should consult his doctor before starting the journey.
Water: It is recommended to drink bottled water during your stay in Ecuador. Tap water is not safe and can cause diarrhoea and abdominal pain. However, tap water may be used for brushing teeth.
In cities with a high altitude and located in the region of the Sierra, mountain sickness or soroche is common but does not last long. The recommendations for fighting soroche are: relax upon arrival, drink more water than usual, eat lightly and avoid alcohol. Normally, it takes a day to acclimatize to the altitude.
In Ecuador, the coca tea is not offered; you can instead have infusions of natural herbs. To visit some towns in the Sierra, travellers with heart problems or high blood pressure should consult their doctors before travelling.
Ecuador is deemed to be a relatively safe country for travellers. However, it is necessary to take the normal precautions peculiar to any destination:
– Handbags or backpacks closed
– Do not change, take or leave the money in public places with high density,
– Avoid showing off your valuables: cameras, jewellery, and so on.
Important notice: in case of theft in a hotel, it will only cover, if necessary, a burglary within its walls, with evidence of tampering. So remember to use good security lockers for your important personal documents (money, passport, plane tickets, etc.). «
From the country to Ecuador: prefix 00593 + city code (without 0) + numbers
Indicative of major cities: Quito: 02; Guayaquil: 04; Cuenca: 07; Otavalo: 06; Riobamba: 03
Fax: easily available in most offices and hotels.
Internet: service available in major cities of the country through Internet cafes at low prices.
Allow between 5 and 10 dollars per day and per person for the guide and 3-5 dollars per day per person for the driver.