Ecuador travel advice
Ecuador is small yet mighty… an amazing South American destination full of treasures that lie off the tourist trail. If you are planning a trip to Ecuador, our South American travel specialists have shared their top Ecuador travel advice for safe and happy travels!
General travel advice
Get off on the right foot in Ecuador with these basic travel tips:
- The official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar. You might find both American coins and Ecuadorian coins – both are accepted. It isn’t always easy to exchange foreign currency in Ecuador, so don’t rely on that for all of your travel funds.
- The main language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish, but there are other indigenous languages spoken throughout the country. Some tourist guides will also speak English.
- Being on the Equator, be sure to apply sunscreen… and apply it regularly! Also pack a sun hat and appropriate clothing for the additional UV exposure.
- Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes can be common in Ecuador. If they do occur while you are travelling, always follow the advice of local authorities.
Don’t underestimate how the high altitude in Ecuador will affect you. Here are a few tips to manage the high altitudes and avoid any issues:
- Take it slowly. Don’t expect that you can rush too quickly through areas where the altitudes change dramatically – go easy to avoid any delays from altitude sickness.
- Stay hydrated. This includes ensuring you are well hydrated in the days before you travel to Ecuador.
- Listen to your guides while you are hiking. They are familiar with the area and can help you descend safely.
- Eat smaller, lighter meals. Your stomach can struggle with larger, heavier meals while at altitude so be conscious of that when choosing what to eat.
- The high altitudes do result in cooler weather, but don’t be fooled – you are on the equator and so closer to the sun, so don’t forget the sunscreen!
Getting around in Ecuador
Ecuador has two international airports. No matter where you are travelling in Ecuador, you will be able to get there from the Quito airport. If you are travelling just to the Galapagos Islands, then Guayaquil is the better airport to arrive at.
Throughout mainland Ecuador, the best way to experience and discover the country is by car.
There is a network of modern highways that connect each region and the drives between each destination are generally not very long.
Most commonly, travellers will use a private guide and travel by car to go from Quito along the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Guayaquil, and then take a flight to the Galapagos Islands. You can drive from Quito to parts of the Amazon, but the most popular way to explore the rainforest is flying to Coca and then travelling along the river to a lodge, or on a cruise.
The four-day Tren Crucero takes you from Quito to Guayaqil, with meals and accommodation included.
In addition to this train, there are shorter day trips you can do throughout Ecuador.
Devil’s Nose Train – Rio Bamba – half day
This section of railway is by far Ecuador’s most impressive.
The train descends from an altitude of 2346m to 1860m along a zig-zag track in just 30 minutes… it’s no wonder this is commonly named the most difficult railway in the world!
The trip over rocky ravines, along raging rivers, through dense forests of clouds and around stunning mountains is well worth it!
Liberty Train – 1 day
This train runs 30km from Ibarra to Salinas and back. As the train passes out of Ibarra, it makes its way through beautiful scenic countryside, passing over rivers and through the majestic Andean midlands.
This route is particularly famous for passing through several tunnels, carved out of the mountain rocks over 100 years ago by workmen using little more than picks and shovels.
Ecuador visa for Australian travellers
Australian passport holders do not require any visa or entry permit to enter Ecuador for tourist stays of up to 90 days. Just be sure to check that you have at least six months remaining on your passport before it expires!
If you are visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon it is recommended that you have the yellow fever vaccination. If you have visited Brazil or countries with active yellow fever outbreaks, you must show your yellow fever vaccination certificate upon arrival.
For further information on vaccinations, check with your doctor.
We send all of our travellers – no matter the destination – on their journeys with a book tailored to their itinerary with tips and information on each destination they are visiting. Contact us to learn more about how we can bring your Ecuador adventures to life!