Hola and welcome to the tropics, where beaches are plentiful and the islands are brimming with the most incredible wildlife you’ve ever seen.
Travelling in Ecuador is like travelling in a compact version of the whole of South America.
You can see the Andes, climb volcanoes, head to the beach, go wild in the Amazon jungle, hang out with llamas and of course see the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. If shopping is your thing there’s the Otavalo market town, if adventure sport is your thing there’s Banos (not to be confused with the Spanish word for toilet, which is also banos).
If evolution is your thing, there are the incredible Galapagos Islands. For the foodie there are hundreds of ways to eat chicken, beans and guinea pig (yeah, guinea pig).
And if you like parties that don’t start until midnight and don’t finish until the fireworks go off, Ecuador is your kind of place.
What people say
The Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip. The boat is not a cruise liner so don't expect 5-star dining or huge rooms, but it is excellent! Amazing to see all the wildlife, incredible. Freddie the naturalist was great, informative, but didn't treat us like babies. It's good to be able to do your own thing sometimes on a tour.
Ecuador travel highlights
See why Quito’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site – this capital city is all about colonial architecture and colourful local life.
Snorkel with sea lions, come face-to-face with giant tortoises and check out the incredible wildlife that inspired Charles Darwin’s famous theory.
Ecuador’s outdoors is brimming with adventure. Hike forests and gorges, climb to a waterfall, soak in a hot spring or revel in the carnival-like atmosphere.
Effortlessly cool and stylish, delve into impressive churches, colonial buildings and buzzing nightlife.
Practice your bargaining skills while exploring the rainbow of indigenous handicraft stalls at Plaza de los Ponchos – Ecuador’s largest market.
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Articles on Ecuador
Ecuador holiday information
Local Culture of Ecuador
Food and Drink in Ecuador
Festivals and Events in Ecuador
Geography and Environment
Shopping guide to Ecuador
Ecuador travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: No – not required
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
USA: No – not required
Visitors from most nations do not require a visa for stays in Ecuador of up to 90 days.
It’s generally a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months after your arrival date in Ecuador and that you have a few blank pages. Keep in mind that visa requirements can change at any time. Please contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.
While tipping isn’t mandatory, tips are very much appreciated by service workers and guides. Leaving a 10% tip is customary in restaurants. Some automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill, in which case an extra tip isn’t required.
Internet can be accessed at internet cafes and hotels in large cities and towns, but is limited in rural and remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is good in Ecuador’s cities, but may not be available in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Ecuador has a mix of Western-style flushable toilets and squat toilets. Either way, always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as these are not always provided. You’ll notice that most flushable toilets have a wastebasket next to them. This is because toilets in Ecuador can’t handle toilet paper and will overflow if you try to flush it. Instead, always put used toilet paper in these baskets.
Juice = USD 1
Street food snack = USD 1.50
Simple lunch at a local restaurant = USD 3-5
Sit-down dinner at a cafe or restaurant = USD 10
Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Ecuador. Avoid drinks with ice and make sure to peel fruit before eating it. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your leader or hotel can tell you where to find filtered water.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors and family-run restaurants and market stalls. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.
ATMs are widely available in larger cities but are less common in small villages or rural areas. Make sure you have enough cash before leaving urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Apr 14: Good Friday
May 1: Labour Day
May 24: Battle of Pichincha
Aug 10: Independence Day
Oct 9: Guayaquil Independence Day
Nov 2: All Soul’s Day
Nov 3: Cuenca Independence Day
Dec 25: Christmas
For a current list of public holidays in Ecuador go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/ecuador/public-holidays/
Ecuador is a relatively hassle-free destination for LGBTQI-travellers. Same-sex marriage was legalised here in 2008 and the country hosts several fiestas where it’s acceptable for men to cross-dress as women. That being said, homophobic attitudes still exist in some parts and travellers are generally advised to avoid public displays of affection.
Most people start to experience altitude sickness when they are more than 2,500 metres / 8,200 feet above sea level. Quito, as well as other tourist spots, sit above this elevation and some travellers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness, including shortness of breath, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. In order to avoid or reduce these symptoms, stay away from alcohol and exercise before your body has adjusted, drink plenty of water and talk to your doctor about possible medication. Ecuadorians also have their own method for treating the effects of altitude – try chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea.
Ecuador requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever. Many South and Central American countries pose a risk (including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia), so if you are planning on visiting other nearby nations before Ecuador you may be required to get this vaccine.
Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule your vaccination 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective. No other vaccines are required in order to enter Ecuador but some are recommended for protection against disease.
1. Hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated water)
2. Typhoid (transmitted through contaminated water)
Malaria, yellow fever and Zika are all mosquito-transmitted diseases found in certain parts of Ecuador. Zika can also be transmitted through sexual exposure. Since Zika has been tied to serious birth defects, pregnant women are advised to not travel to Ecuador. You can protect yourself by wearing light coloured clothing, using a good bug repellent and taking anti-malaria medication. Talk to your doctor or travel clinic about your travel plans to determine what medication is right for you.
Top Ecuador travel deals
|Departing||Trip name||Days||From CAD|
|Galapagos Discovery (Daphne)||7||
|Galapagos on the cheap||9||
|Quito to Lima Adventure||9||
|Taste of Galapagos||7||
|Galapagos Highlights (Daphne)||10||
|Galapagos Express (Daphne)||6||
|Absolute Galapagos (Daphne)||17||