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11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

To be honest, we love reading tips on how to make travelling in a foreign country as easy as possible, but we love writing down our own experiences even more. It just feels great. We spent more than a month in Ecuador, and even though it was hard at times, we would have gone back in a second. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know before going to Ecuador, one of the smallest countries in South America.

CROSSING THE BORDER CAN TAKE TIME

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

There’s a good chance that Ecuador isn’t the only country you want to visit on this trip. We were surprised by how many backpackers there were in South America who went from one country to another in just a few months.

So, if you plan to cross the border from Colombia to Ecuador or vice versa, this tip might be useful. Because of the recent problems in Venezuela, a crazy number of people have decided to leave the country.

TAXI PROBLEM

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Ecuador is working hard to be thought of as a safe place to live. We all know that when safety is bad, fewer tourists come, which means less money for the people who live there. We think this is something everyone knows.

Up until recently, the biggest problem was probably the reputation of taxi drivers and the safety of travellers who wanted to use this kind of service to get around.

Simply put, always use your common sense. We were less strict about the rules in the countryside than we would have been in the capital city Quito, which has a bad reputation.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Ecuador has everything a nature lover could want. There is both water and high land. But if there’s one thing you should know for sure, it’s that you can get sick from being at a high altitude.

When you land in Quito, you’ll be 2,850 metres above sea level right away. If you want to do the Quilotoa Loop Trek, which takes more than one day, you should know that the Quilotoa Lagoon is at a height of 4000 metres.

We also rode our bikes almost 5000 metres down from Chimborazo back to Riobamba. Simply put, the elevation can have an effect on your trip, especially if you plan to go to different places with different elevations.

VACCINATION

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Before every trip, you should make sure you have the most up-to-date information on what vaccinations you need. We could read that in all South American countries, you have to get a yellow fever shot.

Still, the truth is that no one has ever asked to see our card, except before the bumpy flight from Brazil to Panama.

Travel Insurance

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

We never leave home without travel insurance, which is meant to help cover our costs if something goes wrong on the trip. World Nomads Travel Insurance was made by travellers for travellers to cover the most important things about your trip.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

For many people, it’s the only reason to go to Ecuador, but backpackers on a tight budget have to ask themselves over and over again if this trip is worth it, because it’s not cheap. There are a lot of good reasons to go to the Galapagos, and if you’re still not sure, we can only tell you to put them on your itinerary.

The whole trip is like stepping into a different world, and it is a real paradise for people who love nature and for photographers. Plus, it’s a trip that will change your life and show you how to travel in a more sustainable way.

QUITO BUS STATIONS

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Quito has a lot of people and cars, so getting from one side of the city to the other can be a nightmare. Because of this, one of the first things you should know is that the capital has two main bus stations.

One is called Terminal Terrestre Carcelen and is on the northern edge of the city. The other is called Quitumbe and is on the southern edge.

ALWAYS WATCH YOUR VALUABLES

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Even though it should go without saying, we have to talk about the most common bus problem in Ecuador. Losing your valuables is the best way to ruin a vacation, so be very careful.

Don’t put your hand luggage under your seat or above your head when you travel in Ecuador. Keep everything important on your lap at all times. It’s not very comfortable, but it will save you a lot of stress.

ROADS IN ECUADOR

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

The great condition of the roads in Ecuador was one thing that surprised us in a good way. We thought that all the roads had been fixed up, at least the ones that led to popular tourist spots like Quilotoa Lagoon, and it was very easy to get around Ecuador.

It also helped that Ecuador is a small, close-knit country, so we didn’t have to take as many night buses as we would have had to in other places, but we still had a great time.

MONEY

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

The US dollar is the country’s official currency. It has a lot of good points. If you live in the US, it’s pretty clear. You don’t need to worry at all about changing money.

But even though we use a different currency, it was a win-win situation for us, too, because we always carry emergency dollars with us. We found it much easier to pay with dollars than with a currency we had never seen before.

WEATHER

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

Before you go to Ecuador, you should know that the most important thing is how you pack. Not only does Ecuador have two wet seasons and two dry seasons, but the landscape changes so quickly that you need to be ready for any kind of weather.

Make sure you bring leggings or outdoor pants, a few functional t-shirts with both long and short sleeves, a fleece jacket, and a down jacket. It gets really cold in the mountains, so we were glad to have a down jacket.

Simply put, the weather in Ecuador can be hard to predict, but it shouldn’t be too bad during the dry seasons, which last from December to February and then from July to September.

MITAD DEL MUNDO

11 things you should know before visiting Ecuador

It wasn’t a mistake that Ecuador got this name. It means that the country is on the equator, and you can go to a place there where you can stand on both hemispheres at the same time. You can be in both the Southern and the Northern hemispheres at the same time.

Mitad del Mundo, also known as the Middle of the World, is the place where you can have this “sense.” Since Mitad del Mundo is only about 20 kilometres from Quito, we think that no traveller should miss it.

What do you think?

Written by Christina d'souza

Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.

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