If you want to travel Ecuador on your own, you definitely should have a basic understanding about the most essential stuff, such as travel & transport, money, weather, best travel time, and safety in Ecuador. This Ecuador travel tips and insider information article will provide you with all the information you need, so that nothing stands in the way of your unforgettable Ecuador trip!
A lot of information in this article was provided by the nice people of travelers.live, a real-time travel chat platform with chat rooms for 200+ countries.
Vaccinations for your Ecuador trip
There are no mandatory vaccinations if you travel to Ecuador from North America or Europe. However, if you travel to Ecuador from some other countries, such as Brazil or some countries in Africa, it looks different.
A valid yellow fever vaccination is required from all travelers (over 12 months of age) arriving from Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Uganda – even if they were not directly in the country but stayed in the transit area of one of these countries for more than 12 hours . This may not always be checked, but this is what the regulation or the law looks like!
Language in Ecuador
The national language of Ecuador is Spanish. Speaking Spanish is a great asset, but not a must.
Phone calls, mobile internet and sim cards in Ecuador
Ecuador offers you good phone networks if you want to make calls or if you want to be on the Internet using mobile data. Whether navigating, staying in contact with family and friends via WhatsApp or Instagram and filling other social media channels with pictures: everything is possible!
In Ecuador it is quite easy to buy a SIM card with mobile data. In the cities you will find shops of the major telecommunications providers and mobile network operators. There are also numerous small kiosks and shops that sell SIM cards. The providers Claro and Movistar are both very good and offer different packages. Overall, Claro is the best when it comes to network coverage and speed.
Food, restaurants and supermarkets in Ecuador
Simply said, there is no way you will starve to death in Ecuador. The subject of food is a very big issue in Ecuador. There are many good restaurants, often street stalls that sell everything from (roasted) corn to ice cream, drinks and the like. Take note that in Ecuador guinea pigs are often part of the menu.
In many places, pizza, ice cream, and more are sold directly on the street. Especially in Quito, at countless traffic lights, there are people selling drinks and snacks (but also USB charging cables, selfie sticks and Co.).
Depending on the region, there are special dishes and also local markets where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, but also have breakfast, lunch and delicious juices! Lunch menus are particularly interesting, with a starter usually a soup, then a main course and a drink at a very reasonable price. The prices for this are very low in the local restaurants, which are aimed at the locals and are not just made for tourists!
Ecuador travel tips about means of transport: tourist bus, local bus, rental car and Co.
There are some good modes of transport in Ecuador that you can use to get around the country. As always, there are advantages and disadvantages, e.g. in terms of costs or flexibility. Preferences are also different as there are people who prefer to travel by bus, others by train and others by rental car.
The cheapest way to travel to Ecuador is by local bus. There are many buses that run regularly between large and small towns. Large coaches are used on long journeys. So-called collectivos, i.e. shared taxis in the form of mini-buses, are usually used on short to medium-sized routes.
The most flexible way to travel is with your own rental car. Traveling around Ecuador by rental car brings the most freedom and flexibility. In Ecuador you can travel by rental car for as little as € 20 per day. This is of course much more expensive than the local bus. Of course, you should always have the appropriate international driver’s license with you, as well as your national driver’s license and you should inquire about the traffic rules in Ecuador in advance!
Train journeys through ecuador are the most inflexible due to the fixed routes and timetables, but they are also the most relaxed. Some of the train routes also lead through breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
Best travel time for Ecuador & 4 different geographical zones
It is difficult and almost impossible to determine the best time to travel to Ecuador. If you include a visit to the Galapagos Islands in your Ecuador trip, you will experience 4 different climate zones. In these 4 zones the weather can be very different.
It is also possible that in Ecuador you experience all 4 seasons, as you know them from North America or Europe, in just one day (although there are only 2 “seasons” in Ecuador, namely the rainy season and the dry season)! Therefore, one of the most important Ecuador travel tips we can give you is that you pack for all temperatures and seasons! So from warm to cold. We had days when we hiked in T-shirts and lay under thick blankets in sub-zero temperatures during the night as there were no heaters!
Ecuador packing list • Pack for all seasons and weather conditions!
As I said, the weather in Ecuador is sometimes unpredictable and therefore your Ecuador packing list should include clothes for warm and cold weather. We would also recommend trekking or hiking shoes, as well as light and comfortable sneakers for exploring the cities.
Mosquito repellent and sting healers shouldn’t be missing either, especially on the coast or in Ecuador’s Amazon region. And always remember: don’t pack too much, because often you only use half of it anyway!
Ecuador travel tips: Bring a first-aid kit
Your Ecuador first-aid kit should consist of the most important medicines and remedies to treat the most common “ailments”.
These include remedies for:
• Sun protection
• Insect repellent