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FAQ Ecuador
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FAQ Ecuador

General Facts

Capital

Quito

Area

283.561 km2 (109,483 square miles)

Population

15,6 million citizens

Official Language

Spanish

Time Zone

-5 GMT Continent; -6 GMT Galapagos

Currency

US Dollar

Geography

Galapagos Islands, Pacific Coast, Andes, and Amazon.

Medical assistance and emergency phone

911

Most frequent questions

Do I need a visa/passport?

All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. Traveleres from the US and Canada do not need a visa to enter Ecuador. Other nationalities may have to check with the consulate.

 

What is the official language in Ecuador?

The official language in the country of Ecuador is Spanish, and several indigenous groups speak Quichua or other languages. In all the main touristic areas of the country you will find people who speak English. This includes hotels, restaurants, museums, and other touristic centers, but not by the general population.

 

How can I get cash in Ecuador?

Ecuador has a vast network of ATMs in all cities throughout the country. Always go with someone and if you have a problem with your credit or debit card, be suspicious of strangers offering to help you; it is better to consult the bank directly and employ the usual security measures.

 

Will my credit cards work in Ecuador?

Most local shops also accept all types of credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club.

 

Cash and Dollar Bills 

Currency in Ecuador and Galapagos is the US Dollar. Small denominations should be brought when shopping. Avoid bringing $100 dollar bills as these will not be easily accepted except at banks.

 

How much should I tip?

Mid-level to upscale restaurants will tack a 10% service charge onto your bill (along with a 14% tax).  If the service has been exceptionally good, you can leave another 10% (as a reference) to indicate your appreciation.

 

What is the electricity voltage?

Electricity is provided at 110V and 60Hz, with single-phase, dual-outlet power.

 

Is Ecuador a safe country?

Although Ecuador is a country full of attractions, whose people are friendly towards visitors; you should still protect your money, valuables and credit cards, among other things, from thieves and bag snatchers. Take great care of bags, rucksacks, mobiles phones and cameras, especially in crowded places such as public squares, bus stations, markets and the beach, etc. Find out where you should avoid for safety and to avoid theft and crime in general.

Keep your valuables in the hotel safe, make a photocopy of your Passport, and write down the number of your credit or debit card company so that the cards can be cancelled if lost or stolen. Use only registered and certified taxis. The emergency number from anywhere in the country is 911.

 

Are there any special health issues I should consider?

Your health is important. If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, you must consult your doctor before going to highland areas such as Quito and/or the surrounding volcanoes. In any case it is a good thing to acclimatize yourself, in case you suffer from altitude sickness or soroche; for this reason we recommend that you rest the first day, drink plenty of fluids and eat lightly.

 

How do I adjust to the altitude?

Gradual exposure to higher elevations and time are the best ways to acclimatize. If possible, try to arrive to Quito (elevation 9,350′) a day early. Drink plenty of water, eat lightly and avoid alcoholic beverages for the first day or two.

 

Diet guidelines to avoid food poisoning and other complications

As a general recommendation, DO NOT drink tap water anywhere in Ecuador. Drink only bottled water. Also, avoid clams (which are served uncooked) and any uncooked or unpeeled products. Do not eat in any place or restaurant not recommended directly by us, your cruise and/or hotel.

 

Special Needs

Ecuador is just beginning to apply mandatory facilities for special needs i.e.: wheelchair ramps, wide doors, etc. We will provide you with accurate information and will do our best to accommodate you.

 

Customs for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands 

You will have to clear customs upon arrival to Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil). All of your personal baggage will be scanned for items such as fresh fruit and or other fresh plant and animal foods. The Galapagos Islands does not have customs since there are no international airports. In the airport your personal luggage will receive a short inspection for things like fruits or seeds that might be introduced to the islands.

 

Health Insurance Requirement

Any tourist that enters Ecuador must have a public or private health insurance for the duration of their stay in the country. If the visitor can not provide proof of such insurance, the migration agent may deny the visitor entry to the country.