Ecuador

Ecuador might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but this audacious land stakes a legitimate claim as the continent's most complete package. Blessed with a bonanza of perfect beaches and the remarkable Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s wealth of natural riches make it a one-stop shop for incredible real life experiences. Come and indulge in a scoopful of the Amazon rainforest, a generous helping of the Andes and a refreshing glass of colonial Quito - Ecuador makes for a scrumptious serving of South America’s best.

Ecuador Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Ecuador

Departing Days Price USD
17 Oct 2016 Active Galapagos 10 $3585
3 Oct 2016 Active Galapagos 10 $3585
4 Oct 2016 Complete Galapagos - Central Islands (Daphne) 10 $4611
4 Oct 2016 Complete Galapagos - Central Islands (Daphne) 10 $4692
4 Oct 2016 Complete Galapagos - Central Islands (Daphne) 10 $4728

All our Ecuador trips

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USD $2,861
CAD $3,484
AUD $4,067
EUR €2,642
GBP £2,081
NZD $4,370
ZAR R46,678
CHF FR2,919
Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater, is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Tour the Galapagos'...
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USD $3,468
CAD $4,202
AUD $4,925
EUR €3,197
GBP £2,517
NZD $5,293
ZAR R56,524
CHF FR3,539
Come face-to-face with the extraordinary central islands of the Galapagos. Snorkel with sharks off Isla Bartolome,...
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USD $4,300
CAD $5,224
AUD $6,110
EUR €3,967
GBP £3,122
NZD $6,568
ZAR R70,124
CHF FR4,394
Come face-to-face with the extraordinary central islands of the Galapagos. Snorkel with sharks off Isla Bartolome,...
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USD $1,921
CAD $2,345
AUD $2,731
EUR €1,776
GBP £1,393
NZD $2,935
ZAR R31,347
CHF FR1,964
From Quito, discover the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos, visiting the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San...
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USD $5,430
CAD $6,598
AUD $7,030
EUR €5,007
GBP £3,951
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ZAR R88,623
CHF FR5,549
Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...
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USD $4,300
CAD $5,228
AUD $6,115
EUR €3,972
GBP £3,127
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ZAR R70,184
CHF FR4,394
Travel from Ecuador’s striking capital to the Galapagos Islands. Explore the archipelago’s rich history, dazzling...
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USD $1,848
CAD $2,256
AUD $2,627
EUR €1,707
GBP £1,341
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ZAR R30,153
CHF FR1,889
Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito, Ecuador. Tour the Galapagos' highlights from Isla San Cristobal to Isla...
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USD $5,683
CAD $6,282
AUD $7,470
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CHF FR5,295
Discover the lush beauty of the Amazon, the elegance of Buenos Aires and the awe-inspiring history of the Incas in...
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USD $1,008
CAD $1,238
AUD $1,431
EUR €931
GBP £728
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ZAR R16,427
CHF FR1,029
Experience the Galapagos without breaking the bank. Visit the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal and...
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USD $2,856
CAD $3,482
AUD $4,060
EUR €2,637
GBP £2,037
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ZAR R46,594
CHF FR2,914
Discover the natural treasures of the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions in the waters of Santa Fe, visit the...
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USD $5,800
CAD $6,672
AUD $7,004
EUR €4,809
GBP £3,633
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ZAR R65,855
CHF FR4,921
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...
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USD $5,960
CAD $6,987
AUD $7,334
EUR €5,184
GBP £3,803
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ZAR R68,980
CHF FR5,306
Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...
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USD $8,131
CAD $8,901
AUD $10,585
EUR €7,335
GBP £5,435
NZD $11,385
ZAR R97,595
CHF FR7,505
Prepare yourself for the ultimate South American adventure starting in Ecuador. From the dizzying heights of the...
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USD $2,437
CAD $2,965
AUD $3,460
EUR €2,247
GBP £1,767
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ZAR R39,714
CHF FR2,489
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, myriad birdlife of Isla Española and...
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CAD $6,672
AUD $7,004
EUR €4,809
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ZAR R65,855
CHF FR4,921
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...
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USD $3,006
CAD $3,640
AUD $3,847
EUR €2,775
GBP £2,185
NZD $4,135
ZAR R49,060
CHF FR3,070
Experience the best of Ecuador and Peru: the Amazon Jungle, street food in Cusco, Andean family homestays at Lake...
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USD $3,995
CAD $4,597
AUD $4,824
EUR €3,314
GBP £2,498
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ZAR R45,390
CHF FR3,391
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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USD $1,720
CAD $2,015
AUD $2,115
EUR €1,495
GBP £1,095
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ZAR R33,290
CHF FR1,530
Journey deep into the Amazon and spend three days in the jungle searching for wildlife, walking around Pilchicocha...
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CAD $3,957
AUD $4,104
EUR €2,854
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ZAR R39,060
CHF FR2,921
Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of the San...
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USD $621
CAD $756
AUD $885
EUR €575
GBP £450
NZD $950
ZAR R10,155
CHF FR635
Set off on an adventure through stunning Ecuador. Travel through the Amazon Jungle, visit laidback Banos and discover...
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USD $4,170
CAD $5,068
AUD $5,352
EUR €3,852
GBP £3,031
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ZAR R68,023
CHF FR4,259
Travel to Ecuador and the wildlife-rich shores of the Galapagos Islands. Then visit Peru and embark on an Inca Trail...
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USD $1,578
CAD $2,106
AUD $2,084
EUR €1,416
GBP £1,065
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ZAR R21,228
CHF FR1,502
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Quito to Cartagena, visiting Los Nevados NP, Cali,...
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USD $9,878
CAD $12,924
AUD $13,644
EUR €8,864
GBP £6,814
NZD $14,667
ZAR R156,614
CHF FR9,845
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...
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USD $1,614
CAD $2,154
AUD $2,124
EUR €1,448
GBP £1,089
NZD $2,287
ZAR R21,580
CHF FR1,610
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador and Peru on a tour from Quito to Lima. Explore the Amazon Jungle, Rio...
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Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...
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USD $1,652
CAD $2,205
AUD $2,174
EUR €1,479
GBP £1,114
NZD $2,336
ZAR R34,097
CHF FR2,652
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Cartagena to Quito visiting Mompos, Medellin, Manizales,...
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USD $1,032
CAD $1,210
AUD $1,270
EUR €897
GBP £657
NZD $1,392
ZAR R11,940
CHF FR917
Embark on an unforgettable journey into Ecuador's Amazon Jungle. Search for local wildlife, float downriver by raft...
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Travel Overland from Lima, Peru, to Quito, Ecuador. Hit the beach in Punta Sal, get daring in Banos and go camping in...
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USD $2,235
CAD $2,623
AUD $2,752
EUR €1,948
GBP £1,426
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ZAR R18,632
CHF FR1,989
Travel from Quito out to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands. Sail pristine waters, be awed by the friendly wildlife and...
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USD $5,990
CAD $7,272
AUD $7,680
EUR €4,987
GBP £3,927
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ZAR R88,144
CHF FR5,519
Sail through the clear waters, meet the unique animals and soak in the beautiful and unusual landscapes of the...
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CAD $3,912
AUD $4,104
EUR €2,819
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ZAR R38,590
CHF FR2,886
Explore the Islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of Isabela, Floreana and...
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USD $16,280
CAD $21,310
AUD $22,500
EUR €14,610
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ZAR R258,200
CHF FR16,270
Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...
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CAD $7,272
AUD $7,680
EUR €4,987
GBP £3,927
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ZAR R88,144
CHF FR5,519
Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...
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CAD $13,127
AUD $13,784
EUR €9,739
GBP £7,148
NZD $15,116
ZAR R129,620
CHF FR9,971
Take an in depth cruise through the beautiful Galapagos Islands, exploring islas Isabella, Floreana and Espanola,...
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USD $527
CAD $640
AUD $675
EUR €437
GBP £345
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ZAR R7,745
CHF FR485
Experience this Ecuadorian adventure from Quito to the volcanoes of Cotopaxi and Quiltoa. Experience warm hospitality...
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USD $2,375
CAD $2,892
AUD $3,374
EUR €2,191
GBP £1,724
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ZAR R38,727
CHF FR2,424
Take your family on a holiday with a difference to the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions at Isla san...
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CAD $7,252
AUD $7,660
EUR €4,977
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ZAR R87,894
CHF FR5,514
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...
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USD $4,688
CAD $5,698
AUD $6,072
EUR €4,332
GBP £3,411
NZD $6,472
ZAR R76,518
CHF FR4,794
Visit South America and travel to Peru. Visit Lima, Cuzco and Lake Titicaca, tour the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo...
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USD $5,975
CAD $7,252
AUD $7,660
EUR €4,977
GBP £3,917
NZD $8,238
ZAR R87,894
CHF FR5,514
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...
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USD $3,125
CAD $3,675
AUD $3,847
EUR €2,316
GBP £1,999
NZD $4,148
ZAR R31,347
CHF FR2,789
Take your family on a holiday with a difference to the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions at Isla san...
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USD $6,375
CAD $7,741
AUD $8,178
EUR €5,892
GBP £4,636
NZD $8,794
ZAR R104,058
CHF FR6,519
Encounter the highlights of Peru, witnessing Lima's attractions, flying over the Nazca Lines, taking a trip to Machu...
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USD $4,075
CAD $4,952
AUD $5,230
EUR €3,402
GBP £2,677
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ZAR R60,024
CHF FR3,759
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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USD $3,435
CAD $4,177
AUD $4,410
EUR €2,867
GBP £2,257
NZD $4,743
ZAR R50,614
CHF FR3,169
Explore the Islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of Isabela, Floreana and...
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10
FROM
USD $5,960
CAD $6,987
AUD $7,334
EUR €5,184
GBP £3,803
NZD $8,046
ZAR R68,980
CHF FR5,306
Sail through the clear waters, meet the unique animals and soak in the beautiful and unusual landscapes of the...
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FROM
USD $3,435
CAD $4,177
AUD $4,410
EUR €2,867
GBP £2,257
NZD $4,743
ZAR R50,614
CHF FR3,169
Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of the San...
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USD $10,505
CAD $12,752
AUD $13,460
EUR €8,747
GBP £6,877
NZD $14,473
ZAR R154,474
CHF FR9,674
Take an in depth cruise through the beautiful Galapagos Islands, exploring islas Isabella, Floreana and Espanola,...
DAYS
7
FROM
USD $3,995
CAD $4,597
AUD $4,824
EUR €3,314
GBP £2,498
NZD $5,291
ZAR R45,390
CHF FR3,391
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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FROM
USD $525
CAD $615
AUD $645
EUR €455
GBP £335
NZD $695
ZAR R8,930
CHF FR465
Get way out of town and head into the Amazon on this unique Ecuador community experience. Learn about local life, see...
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USD $4,075
CAD $4,952
AUD $5,230
EUR €3,402
GBP £2,677
NZD $5,623
ZAR R60,024
CHF FR3,759
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...

Ecuador trip reviews

Our Ecuador trips score an average of 4.65 out of 5 based on 602 reviews in the last year.

Ecuador on a shoestring , September 2016

Michelle Brownlie

Ecuador on a shoestring , September 2016

Kay Grey

Articles on Ecuador

What’s hot in South America? We ask the world’s best travel bloggers

Posted on Wed, 17 Aug 2016

We asked our favourite bloggers to give us their must-sees in South America...

Read more

Traveller stories: an Amazon adventure at Shiripuno Lodge

Posted on Tue, 5 Jul 2016

There's only one place you need to stay to experience the real Amazon. This is it.

Read more

Traveller stories: 5 times technology ruined my trip

Posted on Thu, 2 Jun 2016

Technology has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives and (for worse or for better) it’s also changing the way we travel...

Read more

We sent an internet addict on a trip without phones. This is what happened

Posted on Thu, 5 May 2016

No phone. No internet. No cheating.

Read more

About Ecuador

At a glance

Capital city: Quito (population 1.5 million)
Population: 14.7 million
Language: Spanish
Currency: USD
Time zone: (GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code: +593

Best time to visit Ecuador

There are two seasons in Ecuador, wet and dry, and they vary depending on the region you are travelling in. For the most part, Ecuador is a sunny, warm country, and even the wet season will bring its fair share of sunny days. The best time to visit is largely dependent on your itinerary, although it should be noted that the Christmas period (December - January) is often the busiest, so be prepared for large crowds. In the Amazon, August and December through March are the driest seasons and April to June are the wettest. In the highlands, the dry season is from June to September as well as December. The Galapagos and coastal regions are mainly influenced by ocean currents. The hot and rainy season runs from January to April. It doesn't rain much, but you can expect some downpours at times. From May to December it can be a bit cooler, with more overcast days. High seasons in the Galapagos (June through August, December and January) are generally determined by holiday trends and not by weather conditions.

Ecuador weather chart

Geography and environment

Pristine beach in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries, tucked away on the continent’s Pacific coastline. Bordering Colombia in the north and Peru in the south, Ecuador contains its own segments of some of South America’s most famous landmarks, such as the Amazon rainforest and the Andes. Adding to Ecuador’s list of natural wonders are the incredible Galapagos Islands, which lie about 1000 km west of the mainland. These volcanic islands are famed for their association with botanist Charles Darwin, who spent considerable time studying their incredible biodiversity. Like many other South American countries, Ecuador’s coastline boasts a large number of pristine beaches. Mantra, Crucita, Canoa and Montanita are among the famous spots, however there are many other national parks and small coastal towns that offer their own variations of beachside bliss. Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is located in the north of the country, and is renowned for its colonial architecture. To the west of the city is Pichincha, one of Ecuador’s many spectacular volcanoes.

Top Picks

Galagagos Island boats Iguana

Top 5 Natural Marvels of Ecuador

1. Volcanoes

Ecuador is a climbing and mountaineering paradise, with some of the grandest (and most active) volcanoes in the world. Just south of Quito lies the ‘Avenue of Volcanos’, which includes the country's highest peak, and no less than nine awe-inspiring volcanos.

2. Beaches

Ecuador is a beach lover’s haven, with a well-earned reputation for supplying some of the most gorgeous spots on South America’s Pacific coast. While there are no shortage of backpacker havens and crowded Ecuadorian holiday spots, those seeking a little more privacy should check out the beautiful Manta and the gorgeous Machalilla National Park.

3. The Andes

Hard to ignore, the Andes form Ecuador’s rocky spine and are home to breathtaking tropical valleys, snow-capped peaks and fresh mountain lakes. A welcome escape from Ecuador’s hot summers, the Andes offer an unforgettable array of high-altitude adventures.

4. The Amazon

Rich in colour and natural diversity, Ecuador is blessed with a sizeable portion of the famous Amazon rainforest. Lying to the west of the Andes, this incredible jungle is home to some of the world’s most fascinating and unique species, as well as being an ideal place to enjoy activities such as canoeing, trekking and bird watching.

5. Galapagos Islands

Journey to a lost world and discover a wildlife sanctuary that continues to inspire visitors and scientists alike. Relatively untouched by human life, the Galapagos is an ecological Disneyland, the jewel in Ecuador’s already glistening crown.

FAQs on Ecuador

ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required

Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
Tipping isn't mandatory in Ecuador, but feel free to round up the bill or leave spare change at restaurants and cafes. Some restaurants may already include a 10% service charge, in which case, an extra tip isn't required.
Ecuador's cities and tourist centres have internet access available in internet cafes and hotels. Less internet access is available in rural and remote areas, so prepare to disconnect when leaving the city.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Ecuador's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote, mountainous and isolated areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Ecuador.
Ecuador's toilets are a mixture of flushable toilets and squat toilets, so be prepared to encounter both. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these aren't always provided.
Short bus ride = US$0.20
Juice = US$1
Street food snack = US$1.50
Simple lunch = US$3-5
Sit down dinner at a cafe or restaurant = US$10
Travellers should avoid drinking tap water in Ecuador. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops, hotels and restaurants, although smaller vendors and market stalls often only accept cash. Be sure to carry multiple methods of payment as credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Ecuador.
ATMs are easily found in the large cities and airports, although are less common in rural and remote areas. When travelling out of the city, be prepared by having enough cash, as ATMs aren't always available.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 24 Battle of Pichincha
Aug 10 Independence Day
Oct 9 Guayaquil Independence Day
Nov 2 All Souls' Day
Nov 3 Cuenca Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/ecuador/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Ecuador Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Ecuador

1. Be considerate of Ecuador’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

10. If travelling in the Galapagos, respect the biodiversity of this area by not removing anything from the island - except rubbish!

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Ecuador EffectDavid E Stuart
Galapagos at the CrossroadsCarol Ann Bassett
The Queen of WaterLaura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango
Living Poor: A Peace Corps ChronicleMoritz Thomsen
The Panama Hat TrailTom Miller
Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New WorldK Thalia Grant and Gregory C Estes
GalapagosKurt Vonnegut