Ecuador Travel Facts

The Basics

Country: Ecuador

Where is it?: Ecuador in bordered by Colombia to the North, Peru to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the West.

Why do people go here?: There are no other tropical destinations that can stand up to the variety offered by Ecuador. With four different regions which go from the Amazon rainforest high up to the majestic Ecuadorian Andes, down to its golden Pacific beaches to reach the amazing Galapagos Islands, Ecuador has it all.

What are the main entry points?: Air: Guayaquil, Quito. Land: South: Macara, Huaquillas via Machala. North (Not Recommended Due to Guerilla Activity): Tulcan. East: None. West: None. Sea: Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar, San Lorenzo

Currency used: US Dollar

Country Code for Phones: 593

Area codes for Major Cities: Quito: 02; Guayaquil: 04; Galapagos Islands: 05; Cuenca: 07

Other Phone Tips: International calling cards can be purchased at many stores and often offer good rates. The most convenient phones are located in calling centers. Rates at calling centers are sometimes cheaper on Sundays; ask if there are special discounts. National Operator: Dial 105; Information: Dial 104. Most internet cafes also double as calling centers.

Religion: Roman Catholic: 95%

Population: 13.7 million

Ethnic Breakdown: 57% Mestizo, 24% Amerindian, 16% White, 3% Black

Government: Republic

Languages: Spanish. Also spoken: Quechua and Aymara (both Indigenous)

Travel Information

Major Cities: Quit (Capitol), Guayaquil, Cuenca

Attractions: Galapagos Islands (A nature lovers Eden). Isla de la Plata (Often referred to as the Poor man’s Galapagos). Ingapirca (Largest Incan Ruins in Ecuador). Baios de Ambato (Thermal baths said to have healing powers). Mountain Climbing: Chimborazo: 6310 meters; Cotopaxi: 5897 meters; Cayambe: 5790 meters; Pichincha: 4794 meters; Imbabura: 4609 meters. Amazon Trekking via Macas, Puyo, Tena. Otovalo (Purported as the largest indigenous market in Ecuador). Vilcabamba (Renown for its tranquility, Vilcabamba residents are said to live to mythic ages). Quito (At 2850 meters it is the second highest capitol in the world. La Paz, Bolivia is the first). Cuenca (Third largest city in Ecuador with a very distinctive colonial flair).

Accommodation: Ecuador Hostels

Tourism Office locations and links: Ecuador Tourist Office

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Parque Nacional Sangay

Health Issues: Lower elevations of Ecuador are considered Malaria zones. High altitude areas my cause altitude sickness. The only known cure for altitude sickness is to go down in elevation. Food poising is common, make sure cooked food is served hot and thoroughly cooked. Drink tap water at your own hazard. Amoebas and other micro-organism are abundant in much of the countries drinking water. Beware the dreaded yet inevitable bout of diarrhea; it can easily cause dehydration. Health care is available in most major cities. Health care in the larger cities is said to be good, but standards may be different from those of your home country. There are always unforeseen dangers in travel, be aware in all situations. Always, the best medicine is not to get sick.

Tips for Visiting

When to go: You can never count on Ecudor’s weather. You can visit the country for much of the year, without major problems with intense rain or heat.

Common Phrases: Chao = Goodbye. How much?. Donde esta? = Where is?. Como se llama? = What is your name?. Me llamo = My name is Chuta! = Shoot!

Specific Events/Holidays: Independence Day: 10 August

Getting Around: Buses travel to almost every town in Ecuador. Taxis are recommended for city travel. It is not advisable to walk streets at night in some cities.

Good to know: Ecuador holds the record the most governmental turnovers in the shortest amount of time.

Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airports to fly into Ecuador are Mariscal Sucre Airport and Guayaquil Airport.

Need more information?: Check out the Ecuador travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.

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