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 CHF
23 Dec 2018
Essential Quito to Lima
Ages 18 to 29
10 CHF 955
CHF 860
View Trip
3 Jan 2019
Galapagos Venture
9 CHF 2,160
CHF 1,957
View Trip
4 Jan 2019
Galapagos on a shoestring
7 CHF 1,135
CHF 1,035
View Trip
5 Jan 2019
Galapagos Family Holiday
8 CHF 2,555
CHF 2,192
View Trip
8 Jan 2019
Ultimate Galapagos: Central Islands (Daphne)
10 CHF 5,235
CHF 3,701
View Trip
9 Jan 2019
Pure Galapagos (Daphne)
8 CHF 4,350
CHF 3,081
View Trip
10 Jan 2019
Best of Galapagos
10 CHF 3,080
CHF 2,638
View Trip
10 Jan 2019
Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure
17 CHF 4,515
CHF 3,858
View Trip
11 Jan 2019
Galapagos Island Hopping
8 CHF 2,125
CHF 1,826
View Trip
27 Jan 2019
Essential Galapagos
Ages 18 to 29
9 CHF 2,060
CHF 1,579
View Trip

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Travel lightly with Intrepid. We’ve offset the main sources of carbon emissions from this trip on your behalf, including transport, accommodation & waste. Read more

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


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Health and safety

Further reading

Ecuador travel FAQs

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 = 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.

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:


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 Smartraveller 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.

Responsible travel in Ecuador

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!

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.

To learn more or donate, go to: