In areas higher than 2500m you should keep a close look at your health and well-being, since altitude sickness is common up here. You might be lightheaded and dizzy for the first days, when you for example arrive in Quito, which is already at 2850m. Take it easy the first few days, drink lots of water, take light walks. The symptoms will become less over time. When hiking in higher regions and the symptoms increase, immediately descend.
In rural areas, you can often get coca tea to mitigate the signs.
The sun is brutal around the equator and hazardous to your health. And even worse combined with the altitude and thin air in the Andes. But no matter where you are, mountains, amazon, coast or Galapagos, sunscreen is essential.
It’s best to use SPF 50, directly put on in the morning and the sunscreen bottle carried around throughout the day. You never know, and a severe sunburn can not only give you serious medical complications but can also ruin a perfect holiday.
We recommend using eco-friendly sunscreen (reef safe), mostly when you visit the Galapagos & the Amazon, since you will surely jump into the water, and we are certain you don’t want to ruin the natural balance of these sanctuaries.
Also, wear a hat with a brim!
Mosquito bites are not only unpleasant and itchy, but the insects might carry diseases like Dengue fever or Malaria. So a repellent is undeniably necessary for your well-being.
The most common ingredients in repellents are DEET and Icaridin, both being able to keep insects away for hours.
Unfortunately they also both have a bad environmental sustainability, as studies show.
There’s other, natural options you might try to use, such as Citronella or tea tree oil. If those don’t function on you properly, there’s no way around DEET or Icaridin. But try to use them wisely.
Here’s a few tips you might want to consider for using less repellent:
- Shower before going to bed, so the insects don’t get attracted by the smell of sweat
- Use a fan, as well to reduce the body odour
- Wear bright clothes, thick fabrics, long pants and shirts
- Avoid being around open waters such as rivers and lakes in the evenings and at dawn
This can happen anytime, especially when eating street food or drinking tap water. There’s a quite common rule to follow if your belly gets easily upset:
WASH IT, BOIL IT, PEEL IT OR FORGET IT!
In general, tap water is drinkable in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, in rural areas I would always buy bottled water or get your water bottle filled up at a watercooler.
And even in said cities, I would think twice if I am in older buildings with old pipes.