Ecuador might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but this country makes plenty of room for nature’s most epic picks.

Blessed with a bonanza of perfect beaches and the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s wealth of natural riches creates a one-stop shop for incredible experiences. Whether it’s spotting hummingbirds in the Amazon rainforest, seeing a condor swoop through the Andes or getting an up-close view of marine life along the coast – Ecuador is unrivalled in serving up South America’s best. 

Top Ecuador travel deals

Departing Days From AUD
16 Aug 2022
Galapagos Voyager: Central Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)
14 13816
9722
16 Aug 2022
Galapagos Explorer: Southern Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)
7 6046
4283
16 Aug 2022
Classic Galapagos: South Eastern Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)
10 9511
6709
20 Aug 2022
Best of Galapagos
10 5055
4325
20 Aug 2022
Galapagos Encounter: Central Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)
6 4891
3003
20 Aug 2022
Classic Galapagos: Central Eastern Islands (Grand Queen Beatriz)
10 9681
5945
21 Aug 2022
Galapagos In Focus (Grand Queen Bea)
8 8036
4958
21 Aug 2022
Galapagos Island Hopping
8 3390
2909
23 Aug 2022
Galapagos at a Glance: Southern Islands (Grand Daphne)
6 5001
3552
23 Aug 2022
Complete Galapagos (Grand Daphne)
10 9046
6383

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Ecuador tour reviews

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Ecuador travel highlights

Ecuador holiday information

At a glance
Best time to visit Ecuador
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Geography and environment
Top 5 Natural Marvels of Ecuador
Shopping
Festivals and events
Health and safety
Further reading

Ecuador travel FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.

While tipping isn’t mandatory, tips are very much appreciated by service workers and guides. Leaving a 10% tip is customary in restaurants. Some automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill, in which case an extra tip isn’t required.

Internet can be accessed at internet cafes and hotels in large cities and towns but is limited in rural and remote areas.

Mobile phone coverage is good in Ecuador’s cities, but may not be available in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.

Ecuador has a mix of Western-style flushable toilets and squat toilets. Either way, always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as these are not always provided. You’ll notice that most flushable toilets have a wastebasket next to them. This is because toilets in Ecuador can’t handle toilet paper and will overflow if you try to flush it. Instead, always put used toilet paper in these baskets. 

Short bus ride = USD 0.20
Juice = USD 1
Street food snack = USD 1.50
Simple lunch = USD 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.

Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors and family-run restaurants and market stalls. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.

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

  • 1 Jan: New Year’s Day
  • 19 Apr: Good Friday
  • 1 May: Labour Day
  • 24 May: Battle of Pichincha
  • 10 Aug: Independence Day
  • 9 Oct: Guayaquil Independence Day
  • 2 Nov: All Soul’s Day
  • 3 Nov: Cuenca Independence Day
  • 25 Dec: Christmas

For a current list of public holidays in Ecuador go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/ecuador/public-holidays/

 

Most people can start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 m (6561 ft) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. Quito, as well as other tourist spots, sit above this elevation and some travellers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness, including shortness of breath, headache, nausea and loss of appetite. It’s important to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your group leader at once if you feel unwell.

We recommend seeing your doctor if you have any health concerns before undertaking the trip. Particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or take any medication.

Ecuador requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever. Many South and Central American countries pose a risk (including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia), so if you are planning on visiting other nearby nations before Ecuador you may be required to get this vaccine. 

Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule your vaccination 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective. No other vaccines are required in order to enter Ecuador but some are recommended for protection against disease.

Ecuador is a relatively hassle-free destination for LGBTQI-travellers. Same-sex marriage was legalised here in 2008 and the country hosts several fiestas where it’s acceptable for men to cross-dress as women. In saying that, conservative attitudes still largely exist throughout the country and LGBTQI travellers are generally advised to use discretion.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or ILGA before you travel.

Responsible Travel

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.

Colourful crab in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

How we're giving back

In Ecuador, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Ecuador, The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Similar Destinations

We have a variety of similar destinations, trips and routes that you could consider! Tie another trip into your holiday, or, see how we can help you get from A to B. We have tours departing from a range of locations across South America. The options below may be of interest:

Quito to La Paz
Quito to Lima
Tours from Quito
Tours to Quito
Galapagos Tours from Quito