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Holidays in Ecuador

Understanding Ecuador

The "Republic of the Ecuador" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 the others being Colombia and Venezuela Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999

Radio and Television

Radio and/or television is available in Spanish except in some of the particularly remote areas English-language movies usually are shown in the original language with Spanish subtitles Many hotels have cable television that may include English-language stations and/or premium movie channels that feature subtitled movies in their original languages

Newspapers and Magazines

Spanish-language newspapers and magazines can be purchased on the streets of cities but can be hard to find elsewhere Some hotels catering to foreigners may have a small selection of English-language reading material


Ecuador adopted the United States dollar USD as its currency in 2000


Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Talking in Ecuador

Spanish is the official language Amerindian languages especially Quichua are generally spoken in the more rural, mountainous villages English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants and other businesses that cater to high-end travelers Ecuadorians are friendly and generally tolerant of foreigners who attempt to speak Spanish but make mistakes

What to do in Ecuador

Ecuador has so many attractions The capital Quito, is a city with a lot of history where you can walk in downtown, enjoying of the beautiful colonial buildings There is also the "Teleférico" cable-car which takes passengers from the highest mountain in Quito to see the whole city from the sky Regular admission is $4 per person or you can pay $7 for an express ticket that bypasses the line There are many welcoming cafes as well as many dancing clubs open every weekend, often until 5AM The beaches in Ecuador are great, the weather is just perfect and the food is delicious and unique One can eat a lobster for $15 and stay in a hotel for $10

In Guayaquil, an excellent place to visit is the Malecón 2000, which is very similar to Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, offering food, shopping, boat rides and a beautiful view of the river Except for electronics, prices are quite low; however, almost everything sold with any sort of brand name is a knockoff This area is very well patrolled and quite safe For a real adventure, it is possible to visit the more authentic, less expensive, and far more dangerous Bahía or "Informal Market" It is not advisable to visit it without a native It is possible to purchase a knockoff of almost anything here Pirated video games and movies also abound; it is possible to purchase game systems modified to play such games as well Make the proprietors prove to you that any movies or games you might purchase actually work before buying though In the Bahía, it is necessary to haggle for all items

Baños is the perfect city for the outdoors or extreme sports enthusiast, offering rafting, mountain climbing and backpacking excursions of all sorts It is possible to get an English speaking guide Be sure to get all the necessary vaccinations, as it is possible to get some nasty infections from prolonged exposure to the water Baños also offers a public hot spring mineral bath, which only charges $1 admission Other, more expensive baths also exist, but are fed from the exact same water It is best to arrive at these baths as they open, as the water is freshest and cleanest then

Ibarra -and the whole Imbabura province- is a very recomended destination Very close to Quito about a 90mins ride, it offers many touristic activities such as comunity tourism, adventure tours rafting, swing jumping, kayaking, trekking, etc and indigenous visits The most recommended places in Imbabura to visit are: Ibarra, Otavalo, Intag and Cotacachi

Many tourist don't take the time to visit the northern part of the country The north of Ecuador offers the best beaches, Bahia de Caraquez, Manta, Crucita, San Jacinto, San Clemente are just a few They offer very inexpensive hotel accommodations, great food and even warmer people In the coast it is no surprise that travellers find a more relaxed place, where the people only are welcoming Manabi is a providence that you MUST visit

Ecuador is perhaps the most bio-diverse country in the world, so don't miss the chance to see some of the wildlife The Galapagos Islands are justly famed for their wildlife, but there is also lots to see on the mainland Ecuador has over one hundred different types of hummingbird - good places to see them include Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve, Mindo and San Luis de Pambil

Montañita Town In the coast, 3 hours from Guayaquil, This is a growing town with many particularies which makes it great to visit: Goog Beach and incredible surroundings, the people, incredible nightlife, and surf There are many people who live in the town permanently from all over the world


One way to work on your Spanish skills is to go to a movie Films in modern theaters cost about $3 to $4 in the larger cities, less in smaller towns Foreign films are typically shown in the original language with subtitles - but not always, so ask first

Buying stuff in Ecuador

Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency Other types of currency are not readily accepted

US paper money is used for most transactions Ecuador has its own coins, which are exactly the same size and weight as US coins up through 50-cent pieces; both they and US coins are used US Sacagawea dollar coins are also widely used, more so than in the US Susan B Anthony dollars, however, are not generally accepted Many merchants examine large bills $10 and above carefully to make sure they aren't counterfeit Outside of tourist areas and Quito, many merchants do not keep large amounts of money on hand, so getting change for large bills or even small ones may be difficult or impossible This is especially true on cheaper buses Take lots of one and five dollar bills with you; you will also want to bring the newest possible bills Worn bills are often regarded with suspicion, and it is not uncommon for a merchant to ask you to pay with another bill if the one you handed them appears old or worn

Travelers' checks can be exchanged at some but not all banks for a reasonable fee usually not more than 3 percent They are also accepted at some hotels that cater to tourists, although it is difficult to use them elsewhere There is often a surcharge added to use traveler's checks

Credit and debit cards are accepted at many places that cater to tourists as well as at some upscale shops However, many places charge a commission for their use as reimbursement for what the banks charge them You may be asked to show your passport when using a credit or debit card

Automated teller machines are widely available in major cities and tourist areas Most claim to be tied in with major international networks, in theory making it possible to withdraw money from foreign accounts Depending on the transaction fees charged by your bank at home, ATMs offer very good exchange rates Be aware that you may have to try quite a few different machines before receiving money TIP: Banco Austro is the only national bank chain that doesn't charge a withdrawal fee The others have learned a cue from the States, and typically charge $1 or more per transaction Avoid using ATMs on the street as their users are frequently targeted by street thieves Hotels or other places with a guard nearby are your best choices

Prices vary widely in Ecuador Costs at upscale hotels and restaurants seem to be close, maybe 10 percent less, to what they would be in the United States Outside of tourist areas, costs are much less It is possible to get a meal at a clean restaurant for under $2 or to pay less than $10 for a clean but basic hotel room

Even though Ecuador is a very beautiful country it does not know how to sell itself very well In Quito a very famous touristic site is El Mercado Artesenal where many souvenirs can be found but after a thorough look around you will realize that there is a bit of redundancy in the items in the sense that everyone is basically selling the same thing so after buying a few main items it becomes difficult to find much more variety Almost everything that can be bought has a price that can be bargained and if you are not a native, they will try and get higher prices out of you which is why it is recommended to go with someone who is either fluent in Spanish or native, to bargain more effectively

Food and eating in Ecuador

Throughout the country there is a lot of variety as to what is typically eaten, depending on the location In the Sierra, rice almost always accompanies lunch and dinner, and in the coast potatoes are popular Soup is also a big part of lunch and dinner Breakfasts often consist of toast, eggs and juice or fruit Batidos, or fruit shakes, are popular breakfast items or snacks

Restaurants run the gamut in terms of menu, quality, hygiene, hours and price Basic meals can be had for less than $2, or it is possible to pay close to US prices in the tourist areas, especially for food from the American chains

If you're on a budget, your best bet for a good and local meal is to order an almuerzo lunch or a merienda dinner These normally consist of a soup, a meat main course and a dessert for $1-$2

More expensive restaurants say, ones that charge $4 per meal or more often add a 12% sales tax and a 10% service fee

Coffee or tea including many herbal varieties is typically served after the meal unless you ask for it sooner

Except at places that cater to foreigners, it is the custom not to present the diner with the bill until it is requested While many servers are used to rude tourists, rubbing your fingers together isn't as accepted as in Europe although it's not considered downright rude as in the United States The best way to get the check is to tell your server "La Cuenta, Por Favor"

Smoking is allowed in most restaurants, but the law explicit prohibit smoking in closed areas, so it's a good idea to ask for a smoking section, or ask if the restaurant allows smoking

Locro de papa is a famous Ecuadorian soup with avocados, potatoes and cheese

Ceviche is a common dish found on the coast It is a cold seafood cocktail that is usually served with "chifles," thin fried plantains, and popcorn

Encebollado is a hearty fish soup with yuca, also found on the coast: A tomato-fish soup filled with chunks of yucca, marinated vegetables with "chifles" thrown in for added crunch

In the Highlands, Ecuadorians eat cuy, or guinea pig The entire animal is roasted or fried and often served skewered on a stick

Empanadas are also a common local food that are usually consumed as snacks in the afternoon The most common varieties of this filled pastry are cheese and/or chicken

Drinking in Ecuador

Bottled water is very common and is safe to drink; it comes con gas carbonated and sin gas non-carbonated Water from the tap is unsafe to drink Even Ecuadorians generally only drink bottled or boiled water

Coffee is widely available in cafes and restaurants, and also sold in bean form Tea is also common, usually with a good selection including herbal

Fruit juice is plentiful and good, and you will often have many options: piña pineapple, mora blackberry, maracuyá passion fruit, naranja orange, sandía watermelon, naranjilla a jungle fruit, melon, taxo, guanabana, guava, etc If you'd like it made with milk, sort of like a less-frozen milkshake, ask for a batida Note that often juices are served lukewarm

Aguardiente, often made from fermented sugar cane, is the local firewater If possible, have some ground freshly into your cup from the sugarcane

Accommodation in Ecuador

There are many low-cost hostels that can be found throughout Ecuador Often, the hostels in smaller towns are actually privately owned homes that welcome travellers As with most things, natives can help you find an excellent hotel at a very low price $6-14 Again, large groups will be able to bargain for lower prices Air conditioning is an amenity which often comes at an extra cost of a dollar or two a night

Ecuador is also home to an increasing number of Eco Lodges, including many renovated, traditional Haciendas

Haciendas of Ecuador

Cities in Ecuador

alamor  alausi  alfredo baquerizo moreno  ambato  archidona  arenillas  atuntaqui  azogues  babahoyo  bahia de caraquez  balao  banos  calceta  canar  cariamanga  catacocha  catamayo  catarama  cayambe  celica  chone  colimes  coronel mariduena  cotacachi  cuenca  daule  el angel  el carmen  el triunfo  esmeraldas  gualaceo  gualaquiza  guano  guaranda  guayaquil  huaquillas  ibarra  jipijapa  junin  la libertad  la mana  latacunga  la troncal  loja  lomas de sargentillo  macara  macas  machachi  machala  manta  milagro  montalvo  montecristi  muisne  naranjal  naranjito  nueva loja  otavalo  pajan  palenque  palestina  palora  pasaje  pedernales  pedro carbo  pelileo  pillaro  pimampiro  pinas  playas  portovelo  portoviejo  puebloviejo  puerto ayora  puerto baquerizo moreno  pujili  puyo  quevedo  quito  riobamba  rocafuerte  rosa zarate  salinas  samborondon  san cristobal  san gabriel  sangolqui  san lorenzo  san miguel  san miguel  santa ana  santa elena  santa lucia  santa rosa  santo domingo  saquisili  sucre  sucua  tena  tosagua  valdez  velasco ibarra  ventanas  vinces  yaguachi  yantzaza  zamora  zaruma  

What do you think about Ecuador?

How expensive is Ecuador?
Meal in inexpensive restaurant2.91 USD
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)17.46 USD
McDonalds meal5.21 USD
Local beer (0.5 draft)1.1 USD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 2.88 USD
Cappuccino2.1 USD
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)0.91 USD
Water (0.33 bottle)0.54 USD
Milk (1l)1.16 USD
Fresh bread (500g)1.46 USD
White Rice (1kg)1.32 USD
Eggs (12) 1.99 USD
Local Cheese (1kg) 4.88 USD
Chicken Breast (1kg) 5.24 USD
Apples (1kg) 2.3 USD
Oranges (1kg) 1.59 USD
Tomato (1kg) 1.19 USD
Potato (1kg) 1.21 USD
Lettuce (1 head) 0.76 USD
Water (1.5l)1.16 USD
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 11.08 USD
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)0.94 USD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 2.83 USD
Cigarettes3.86 USD
One way local bus ticket0.25 USD
Monthly pass for bus14.85 USD
Taxi start0.91 USD
Taxi 1km0.95 USD
Taxi 1hour waiting8.87 USD
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.54 USD
Utilities for a "normal" apartment42.2 USD
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 15.55 USD
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 331.25 USD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 290.59 USD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 602.29 USD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 601.18 USD, your travel companion

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