A to Z – Ecuador Edition

A to Z for traveling Ecuador

Everything you want to know from A to Z before traveling to Ecuador. A guide.


  • Altitude Acclimatization: Ecuador boasts diverse elevations, from sea level to towering peaks. To avoid altitude sickness, start slow. Spend a day in Quito (9,350 ft / 2850 m) before heading to higher altitudes.
  • Adventure Activities: Embrace Ecuador's thrilling adventures! Hike the Andes, swing at the 'Swing at the End of the World' in Baños, or snorkel with penguins in the Galápagos. There's an adrenaline rush waiting for every traveler.


  • Bring Layers: Ecuador's climate varies greatly. Pack layers to adapt to different temperatures. A light rain jacket, a sweater, and comfortable shoes are must-haves.
  • Bargain at Markets: In indigenous markets, like Otavalo, bargaining is customary. But, engage respectfully, and don’t haggle tooo hard!


  • Currency: Ecuador uses the US dollar. Carry small denominations for convenience, and notify your bank about your travel dates to prevent card issues.
  • Cultural Etiquette: Embrace local customs. Greet friendly and say "Buen provecho" before meals. Respect sacred sites like Ingapirca.


  • Don't Drink Tap Water: Stick to bottled water to avoid stomach issues. Hydration is crucial, especially in high-altitude areas.
  • Discover Diverse Cuisine: Savor Ecuador's culinary delights, from ceviche on the coast to llapingachos (potato pancakes) in the highlands. Don't miss trying cuy (guinea pig) if you're adventurous.


  • Electrical Adapters: Ecuador uses Type A and Type B outlets. Bring the right adapter or a universal adapter to charge your devices.
  • Explore the Amazon: Venture into the Amazon Rainforest for a unique wildlife experience. Choose eco-friendly lodges for ethical tourism.


  • Free WiFi: While major cities offer WiFi in hotels and cafes, rural areas may have limited connectivity. Consider buying a local SIM card (Claro) for internet access on the go.
  • Fiestas: Plan your visit during local fiestas for an immersive cultural experience. Fiesta de la Mama Negra in Latacunga and Inti Raymi in Ingapirca are vibrant celebrations.



  • Health Insurance: Obtain comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or emergencies during your trip.


  • Indigenous Encounters: Engage with Ecuador's indigenous communities to learn about their rich traditions.
  • Insect Repellent: Protect against mosquito-borne diseases in the Amazon and coastal areas by using a reliable insect repellent (with DEET or Icaridin as the active ingredient)


  • Jungle Safaris: In the Amazon, embark on guided jungle safaris to spot exotic wildlife like toucans, sloths, and pink dolphins. A memorable adventure awaits!


  • Knowledge of Spanish: Not many Ecuadorians speak English, knowing some Spanish phrases will enhance your travel experience and help you connect with locals.
  • Keep an Eye on Belongings: Petty theft can occur, especially in crowded places. Keep an eye on your belongings, and avoid displaying expensive items.


  • Money Management: Inform your bank of your travel dates to avoid card issues. Use ATMs in secure locations and carry cash for remote areas.


  • National Parks: Ecuador is dotted with incredible national parks. Visit Cotopaxi for dramatic volcanic landscapes or Cuyabeno for an amazing rainforest experience.


  • Off the Beaten Path: While must-see sights are fantastic, don't shy away from lesser-known gems. Consider a detour to El Cajas National Park or the remote Chachimbiro Hot Springs.
  • Otavalo Market: Saturdays are market days in Otavalo. Don't miss this vibrant spectacle of indigenous culture and crafts.


  • Preserving the Environment: Embrace eco-friendly travel practices. Carry a reusable water bottle, minimize plastic use, and choose lodgings with sustainability initiatives.
  • Photography Paradise: Ecuador offers endless photo opportunities. Capture stunning landscapes, colorful markets, and unique wildlife. Bring a zoom lens!


  • Quality Sun Protection: Ecuador's high altitudes can lead to strong sun exposure. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat for protection.


  • Rainy Season Awareness: Ecuador's rainy season varies by region. Check local weather conditions when planning your visit to avoid getting caught in heavy rain.


  • Safety First: Ecuador is generally safe for tourists, but exercise caution in crowded areas and at night. Keep your belongings secure and avoid risky situations.
  • Spanish Phrases: Learning basic Spanish phrases can enhance your interactions and show respect for the local culture.


  • Tipping Etiquette: Tipping is not customary in Ecuador. But always appreciated and expected in more touristy areas. And don’t forget your guides and drivers.
  • Time Zone Consistency: Ecuador does not observe Daylight Saving Time, so its time zone remains consistent throughout the year. Galapagos is 1 hour behind the mainland.


  • Unplugged Moments: While connectivity is essential, embrace moments of disconnection. Enjoy the beauty of Ecuador's landscapes without distractions.
  • Uncover History: Visit historic sites like the Inca ruins of Ingapirca or the colonial architecture in Cuenca to dive into Ecuador's rich history.


  • Volcano Views: Ecuador is known for its volcanoes. Don't miss the opportunity to see stunning volcanic landscapes like Cotopaxi or Chimborazo.


  • Wildlife Watching: Ecuador offers exceptional wildlife encounters. Spot toucans, giant tortoises, and blue-footed boobies in their natural habitats.
  • Waterproof Gear: Rain showers are common, especially in the highlands and the rainforest. Pack waterproof gear, including a rain jacket and a cover for your backpack.


  • Yummy Street Food: Try local street snacks like empanadas, ceviche, and llapingachos for a budget-friendly taste of Ecuador.
  • Your Health Matters: Prioritize your health and well-being during your trip. Stay hydrated, rest, and take precautions to avoid altitude sickness.


  • Zero Waste Travel: Minimize your environmental impact by reducing waste. Use reusable containers and bags, and dispose of trash responsibly.

A change of latitude would change my attitude.


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