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Ecuador

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Hotel Boutique Santa Lucia
Hotel Boutique Santa Lucia - dream vacation

Antonio Borrero 8 44 Y Sucre, Cuenca

Vieja Cuba
Vieja Cuba - dream vacation

La Niña N26-202 & Av. Diego de Almagro, Quito

Hotel Dann Carlton Quito
Hotel Dann Carlton Quito - dream vacation

Av Republica Del Salvador N34-377 E Irlanda, Quito

Hotel Ramada
Hotel Ramada - dream vacation

Malecon Y Orellana, Guayaquil

Hotel Los Balcones
Hotel Los Balcones - dream vacation

Borrero 12-08 y Sangurima, Cuenca

Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America, with a Pacific Ocean coastline, lying on the Equator between Colombia, to the north and east, and Peru, to the south and east.

Several places in Ecuador have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Galapagos Islands or the cities of Quito and Cuenca, which both lie in the Andes that run from north to south through the country. The Ecuadorian Andes are also home to some of the highest active volcanoes such as the Cotopaxi.

Regions

Cities

  • Quito - Second highest capital in the world, with a well preserved colonial center. Its weather is generally spring-like all year long and relatively unpredictable, changing rapidly.
  • Ambato - The central city of Ecuador. Special celebrations during Carnival time.
  • Baños - An adventure capital of Ecuador at the foot of Volcano Tungurahua, an active volcano having small eruptions of ash and lava. There are also many hot spring mineral baths as its name would imply.
  • Cuenca - The third largest city in Ecuador and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.
  • Guayaquil - Largest city in the country and largest port city.
  • Ibarra - Town of 100,000 inhabitants halfway between Quito and the northern border.
  • Loja - The oldest colonial city.
  • Otavalo - Small town one-and-a-half hours north of the capital; famous for its Saturday market of indigenous crafts and livestock.
  • Riobamba - Starting point of the famous train ride down the Nariz del Diablo and gateway to Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak

Other destinations

  • Baeza - Gateway to the northern Oriente and up-and-coming mountain town -- still has sleepy small-town feel.
  • Canoa - Small beach town.
  • Esmeraldas - A lesser visited city to the north of some of the most popular beaches in Ecuador.
  • Guamote - A cosy and authentic Andean village though easy accessible.
  • Guaranda - A small Andean city famous for its Carnaval celebrations.
  • Mindo - Excellent bird watching in a cloud forest setting.
  • Montañita - World famous surfing beach and beach hangout.
  • Puerto López - Beautiful small ocean side city, access point for Machalilla National Park, and Isla de la Plata "Poor Man's Galapagos".
  • Puyo - Amazon rain forest town frequently destination of downhill bicycle rides from Baños.
  • Quilotoa Loop - An Andean travel route that encompasses Quilotoa volcanic crater lake, Zumbahua and Chugchilán. Quintessential Andean landscapes and cultural experiences.
  • Salinas - Beautiful beach and boardwalk, swamped with Guayaquileños during holidays.
  • Tena - Amazon rain forest town famous for some of the best white water rafting and kayaking in Latin America.
  • Vilcabamba - Popular for expats living and retiring, and famous for its legendary older inhabitants whom claim to have some of the longest lifespans in the world.

National parks

  • Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve
  • Parque Nacional Cotopaxi
  • Parque Nacional Cajas
  • Podocarpus National Park
  • Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve
  • Sangay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Yasuni National Park

Understand

The "Republic of the Ecuador" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999.

Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its Hispanic Mestizo majority and like their ancestry, it is traditionally Spanish heritage, influenced by different degrees of Amerindian traditions with African elements.

Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Ecuador has a total area of 283,520 km2 and is bisected by the Equator, for which it is named.

Ecuador is a major exporter of bananas and petroleum and is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Get in

In 2008, the President of the Republic changed the regulations so that citizens of any nationality were allowed to enter Ecuador without a visa and stay for a period of ninety days in a chronological year so as to strengthen relations between Ecuador and all countries of the world and promote tourism. However, since then, visa requirements have been instated for citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Somalia. Chinese citizens can get a no-visa-required stamp if they are Canadian or American permanent residents (there could be more exceptions). Members of the Andean Community may enter with only a national ID card and do not require a passport.

Ecuador requires that Cuban citizens receive an invitation letter prior to entering Ecuador through international airports or frontier admission points. This letter must be legalized by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and comply with certain requirements. These requirements are designed to provide an organized migratory flow between both countries. Cuban citizens who are US green card holders should visit an Ecuadorian Consulate to obtain an exemption to this requirement.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates. A round/onward trip ticket is needed to prove the length of your stay.

By plane

Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) is in the Tababela parish, approximately 30km (20 mi) to the east of Quito. For travellers with very early departures or very late arrivals from the Quito airport, as well as those who are not staying in Quito but carrying elsewhere should consider looking at accommodations in Tababela or Puembo for the convenience of not needing to make the journey to the city for accommodations.

Another port of entry is Guayaquil, (GYE) which has a modern airport that includes the typical amenities such as restaurants and duty-free shopping. The airport is located north of downtown.

The Galapagos Islands are one of the Ecuadorian provinces and have two airports, one of which is on Baltra and the other is on San Cristobal. Aerogal, Tame and LAN all offer flights to the Galapagos; all the flights are through the Ecuadorian mainland with no international flights.

The Quito airport charges an international departure tax of $40.80. The tax is $26 from Guayaquil. This tax is already included in the cost of the flight since February 2011.

By car

Driving into Ecuador is discouraged. It is preferable to enter by airplane or boat because of the frontier issues with neighboring countries.

By bus

To/from Colombia

The primary crossing between Ecuador and Colombia is at Rumichaca near Tulcan and Ipiales. The border crossing at San Miguel (near Lago Agrio) in the Amazon region is discouraged due to security issues and entrance/exit complexities.

To/from Peru

There are two places to cross the border with Peru, though Huaquillas (near Machala gets the vast majority of the tourist crossings, has been shady and relatively dangerous, but a recent clean up may have improved security issues. Macara has a border crossing but is not recommended due to security issues.

By boat

Since Ecuador is situated on the coast and has some very large rivers, a boat ride can be a nice way to get around. Especially in the rainforest a boat ride can get you to places you usually wouldn't be able to go.

Get around

By bus

Intercity buses travel to almost everywhere in Ecuador. Many cities have a central bus terminal, known as the terminal terrestre, where it is possible to buy tickets from the various bus lines that serve the city. Long-distance buses typically cost from $1 to $2 per hour, depending on the distance and the type of service; groups may be able to negotiate discounts. Buses are frequent along major routes.

Reservations or advance purchases usually aren't needed except during peak periods such as holidays. The bathroom on the bus, if any, is usually reserved for women. However, it is permissible for men to request that the bus make a stop so that they might relieve themselves. The bus rides themselves are often quite beautiful, through mountain views in the clouds. These altitude changes cause many of the same ear pressure problems which are associated with an airplane ride.

The bus driver will stop along the way to board additional passengers. Many buses arrive at their destination with passengers standing in the aisle. There are a few first class buses, called "Ejecutivo", which cost a little more than the regular busses. They are generally more comfortable and safer.

By car

It is possible to rent a car in the major cities such as QuitoGuayaquil and Cuenca, where car rentals are generally located outside the airports. Ecuadorian roads are well maintained throughout in cities but poorly maintained in the countryside.

However, Ecuador’s driving laws are few and rarely (if ever) enforced. Deciding to drive will be taking your life into your own hands. Perhaps if you will just be driving around cities like Guayaquil or Quito it is slightly safer, but to drive around the countryside would be insanity.

On top of the poor driving skills, Ecuadorian roads are rarely maintained (especially along the coast). Potholes are numerous and it is highly likely it will take out a tire or two if you do end up hitting one.

By taxi

Taxis are widely available. Taxis are generally yellow and have the taxi license number prominently displayed. Taxis in Quito have meters (fares under $1 are rounded up to the minimum fare of $1). Agree upon a price before getting in or ask the driver to use the meter (often cheaper than a negotiated rate); short trips generally don't cost more than $1 or $2, and you generally shouldn't end up paying more than $10 per hour, if that, for longer trips. Evening rates are often double. As with any country in Latin America, (or the world for that matter), don't ride an unlicensed taxi. It's a great way to get kidnapped.

By plane

Domestic flights to major cities on the mainland costs from $50-$100 one-way, and there are sometimes roundtrip promotions for about the same price. Flights between the biggest cities are in jets, and some of the smaller cities are served by prop aircraft. The domestic airlines in Ecuador are Lan Ecuador, Tame, Avianca Ecuador(formerly Aerogal & VIP); and Saereo. Most of the airlines in Ecuador offer excellent service and relatively new planes. You can buy domestic air tickets from agents or directly from the airlines - some sell tickets online and you can buy them at the airport or ticket offices for those who don't.

By hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is possible in Ecuador. A lot of people drive pick-ups which you can easily throw your backpack into if they give you a lift.

On roads not frequently serviced by buses, cargo trucks may take on riders or hitchhikers, either to ride in back or in the cabin. In some cases the driver charges the going bus fare, in others he may simply be taking on a rider for the company and refuse a fare.

By train

After much neglect over decades, the government has decided to rebuild and restore the railway infrastructure and the snazzy website of Tren Ecuador is clearly aimed at the international tourist above and beyond all else. There are relatively affordable short trips (often including food and a guide or other extras) as well as the lavishly expensive "tren crucero" (roughly: cruise train) that does most of the four day four night Quito - Guayaquil trip in a restored steam train, though some stretches still have to be done by bus. At $1650 per person (based on double occupancy) this is certainly not a cheap option, but it can be a worthwhile way of seeing the country.

Talk

Spanish is the official language. Amerindian languages (especially Quechua) are generally spoken in the more rural, mountainous villages. English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants and other businesses that cater to high-end travelers. Ecuadorians are friendly and generally tolerant of foreigners who attempt to speak Spanish but make mistakes.

See

  • Loma Alta, a 2428-hectare cloud forest.
  • Tigua, for its bright paintings.
  • The village of Calderon is known for its folk art.
  • Agua Blanca, an indigenous territory of the Manta.
  • Chimborazo, highest peak in Ecuador.
  • La Mitad del Mundo on the Equator

Do

The capital Quito, is a city with a lot of history where you can walk in downtown, enjoying the beautiful colonial buildings. There is also the "Teleférico" (cable-car) which takes passengers from the highest mountain in Quito to see the whole city from the sky. Admission is $8.50 per person (November 2010). There are many welcoming cafes as well as many dancing clubs open every weekend, often until 5AM.

In Guayaquil, an excellent place to visit is the Malecón 2000, which is very similar to Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, offering food, shopping, boat rides and a beautiful view of the river. Except for electronics, prices are quite low; however, almost everything sold with any sort of brand name is a knockoff. This area is very well patrolled and quite safe. For a real adventure, it is possible to visit the more authentic, less expensive, and far more dangerous Bahía or "Informal Market". It is not advisable to visit it without a native. It is possible to purchase a knockoff of almost anything here. Pirated video games and movies also abound; it is possible to purchase game systems modified to play such games as well. Make the proprietors prove to you that any movies or games you might purchase actually work before buying though. In the Bahía, it is necessary to haggle for all items.

Baños is the perfect city for the outdoors or extreme sports enthusiast, offering rafting, mountain climbing and backpacking excursions of all sorts. It is possible to get an English speaking guide. Be sure to get all the necessary vaccinations, as it is possible to get some nasty infections from prolonged exposure to the water. Baños also offers a public hot spring mineral bath, which only charges $1 admission. Other, more expensive baths also exist, but are fed from exactly the same water. It is best to arrive at these baths as they open, as the water is freshest and cleanest then.

Ibarra -and the whole Imbabura province- is about a 90mins ride from Quito and offers many touristic activities such as community tourism, adventure tours (rafting, swing jumping, kayaking, trekking, etc.) and indigenous visits. The most recommended places in Imbabura to visit are: IbarraOtavalo, Intag and Cotacachi

The north of Ecuador offers the best beaches, including Bahia de CaraquezManta, Crucita, San Jacinto, and San Clemente. They offer very inexpensive hotel accommodations, great food and friendly people.

Ecuador is perhaps the most bio-diverse country in the world. The Galapagos Islands are justly famed for their wildlife, but there is also lots to see on the mainland. Ecuador has over one hundred different types of hummingbirds. Good places to see them include Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve, Mindo and San Luis de Pambil.

Montañita Town On the coast, 3 hours from Guayaquil, this is a growing town with many particularities which makes it great to visit: Goog Beach and incredible surroundings, the people, incredible nightlife, and surf. There are many people who live in the town permanently from all over the world.

Volunteer

Many people who visit Ecuador choose to give back to the community by volunteering. The Peace Corps alone has more than 200 volunteers in Ecuador at a time. From conservation projects to building houses to teaching English, there are many ways to help development in Ecuador. You can choose to volunteer through a third-party organization that arranges accommodations and connects you to a local organization to volunteer with. The other option is to volunteer directly through a local NGO. This will take more time and research but can also be significantly cheaper.

  • Fundacion Bolivar Education[1] is a volunteer foundation based in Quito, the cities capital, and has many volunteer projects through all Ecuador's regions including the Pacific Coast, Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. Volunteers must be 18 years or older, and can volunteer in any of the following categories: Children and Youth, Health, Environment, Teaching, Gender, Elderly, Development and Animal Welfare. No previous education or organization experience is needed. Students, families, senior citizens and groups from various schools, universities or programs are all able to volunteer with Fundacion Bolivar Education. Host families or hostels are available accommodations to choose from. Packages are also available for those who to volunteer but also travel throughout Ecuador.

Cinema

One way to work on your Spanish skills is to go to a movie. Films in modern theaters cost about $3 to $4 in the larger cities, less in smaller towns. Foreign films are typically shown in the original language with subtitles - but not always, so ask first.

Learn

Spanish classes

Quito is a great place to learn Spanish, the accent in Quito is soft and clear and easy to understand. Quite a few private Spanish academies exist, they offer one on one and group courses with personalized programs that focus on grammar but also in helping to improve speaking and comunicational skills in a short period of time. Quality varies greatly, so check reviews online and speak to current students before enrolling.

Students who want to learn Spanish for longer periods and in big groups might consider the programs of two Ecuadorian universities which offer semester length Spanish as a Second Language classes for foreigners. University study is ideal if you are serious about learning Spanish and have the time to complete the full program. Successful completion of a university Spanish program may also allow to continue studying at that university or even to earn a degree. On the other hand, if you wish to learn Spanish while enjoying being on the beach, then Montañita is the best place to learn.

Formal university study

While all universities in Ecuador can theoretically admit foreign students, most have onerous entry requirements and will not admit students for just a semester or two. Two universities -- Universidad San Francisco and Catholic University -- stand out for extending a welcome to foreign students, who can choose to study for a semester or even complete a full Bachelor's or Master's degree. Be sure to inquire about enrollment (matricula) costs which are usually above and beyond normal tuition. Obtain a student visa, if needed, before you enter Ecuador to study.

  • Catholic University of Ecuador [2]
  • Universidad San Francisco de Quito [3]

Buy

Money

Ecuador adopted the United States dollar ("$", ISO currency code: USD) as its currency in 1999. Other types of currency are not readily accepted.

Ecuador has its own coins. These are exactly the same size and weight as American coins, and both are accepted. U.S. dollar coins are widely used, and preferred to $1 bills. American bills are used for higher values, Ecuador does not print any itself.

Many merchants examine large bills ($10 and above) carefully to make sure they aren't counterfeit. Frequently, businesses will not accept $50 bills or $100 bills at all. One must usually go to a bank in order to break hundred dollar bills. Outside of tourist areas and Quito, many merchants do not keep large amounts of money on hand, so getting change for bills large and small may be difficult. This is especially true on cheaper buses. Take lots of one and five dollar bills with you; you will also want to bring the newest possible bills. Worn bills are often regarded with suspicion, and it is not uncommon for a merchant to ask you to pay with another bill if the one you handed them appears old or worn.

Banking

Travelers' checks can be exchanged at some (but not all) banks for a reasonable fee (usually not more than 3 percent). They are also accepted at some hotels that cater to tourists, although it is difficult to use them elsewhere. There is often a surcharge added to use traveler's checks.

Credit and debit cards are accepted at many places that cater to tourists as well as at some upscale shops. However, many places charge a commission for their use as reimbursement for what the banks charge them. You may be asked to show your passport when using a credit or debit card.

Automated teller machines are widely available in major cities and tourist areas. Most claim to be tied in with major international networks, in theory making it possible to withdraw money from foreign accounts. Depending on the transaction fees charged by your bank at home, ATMs offer very good exchange rates. Be aware that you may have to try quite a few different machines before receiving money. TIP: Banco Austro is the only national bank chain that doesn't charge a withdrawal fee. The others have learned a cue from the States, and typically charge $1 or more per transaction. Avoid using ATMs on the street as their users are frequently targeted by street thieves. Hotels or other places with a guard nearby are your best choices.

Tipping

Bars, restaurants and hotels include a 10% service charge in the bill, so tipping is not required. In the case of restaurants, it is customary to leave some spare change in reward for good service. Some restaurants will include a small piece of paper along with the bill, in which the client can specify a tip if they are paying with credit card.

Shopping

Prices vary widely in Ecuador. Costs at upscale hotels and restaurants seem to be close, maybe 10 percent less, to what they would be in the United States. Outside of tourist areas, costs are much less. It is possible to get a meal at a clean restaurant for under $2 or to pay less than $10 for a clean but basic hotel room.

Even though Ecuador is a very beautiful country, it does not know how to sell itself very well. In Quito, a very famous touristic site is El Mercado Artesenal where many souvenirs can be found but after a thorough look around you will realize that there is a bit of redundancy in the items in the sense that everyone is basically selling the same thing. Therefore, after buying a few main items it becomes difficult to find much more variety. Almost everything that can be bought has a price that can be bargained. If you are not a native, they will try and get higher prices out of you, which is why it is recommended to go with someone who is either fluent in Spanish or native to bargain more effectively.

Eat

Throughout the country there is a lot of variety as to what is typically eaten, depending on the location. In the Sierra, potatoes almost always accompany lunch and dinner, and in the coast rice is popular. Soup is also a big part of lunch and dinner. Breakfasts often consist of toast, eggs, and juice or fruit. Batidos, or fruit shakes, are popular breakfast items or snacks. Especially in the Coastline, Ecuadorians make a variety of breakfast meals based on green or sweet plantain and yuca, such as bolonoes, empanadas, patacones, corviches, muchines, pan de yuca, humitas and others. They are cooked with either cheese, pork or fish. They are very filling and inexpensive meals.

Restaurants run the gamut in terms of menu, quality, hygiene, hours and price. Basic meals can be had for less than $2, or it is possible to pay close to U.S. prices in the tourist areas, especially for food from the American chains.

If you're on a budget, your best bet for a good and local meal is to order an almuerzo (lunch) or a merienda (dinner). These normally consist of a soup, a meat main course and a dessert for $1-$2.

More expensive restaurants (say, ones that charge $4 per meal or more) often add a 12% sales tax and a 10% service fee.

Coffee or tea (including many herbal varieties) is typically served after the meal unless you ask for it sooner.

Except at places that cater to foreigners, it is the custom not to present the diner with the bill until it is requested. While many servers are used to rude tourists, rubbing your fingers together isn't as accepted as in Europe although it's not considered downright rude as in the United States. The best way to get the check is to tell your server "La Cuenta, Por Favor."

Smoking is allowed in most restaurants, but the law explicitly prohibits smoking in closed areas, so it's a good idea to ask for a smoking section, or ask if the restaurant allows smoking.

Locro de papa is a famous Ecuadorian soup with avocados, potatoes and cheese.

Ceviche is a common dish found on the coast. It is a cold seafood cocktail that is usually served with "chifles," thin fried plantains, and popcorn.

Encebollado is a hearty fish soup with yuca, also found on the coast: A tomato-fish soup filled with chunks of yucca, marinated vegetables with "chifles" thrown in for added crunch.

In the Highlands, Ecuadorians eat cuy, or guinea pig. The entire animal is roasted or fried and often served skewered on a stick.

Empanadas are also a common local food that are usually consumed as snacks in the afternoon. The most common varieties of this filled pastry are cheese and/or chicken.

Bollo Made of milled sweet plantain with peanuts and albacore. This is a very typical dish in the Ecuadorian Coast.

Bolón Made of minced plantain with cheese or pork. It is eaten at breakfast with coffee. It is consumed mostly in the coast in the Manabí province.

Drink

Bottled water is very common and is safe to drink; it comes con gas (carbonated) and sin gas (non-carbonated). Water from the tap is unsafe to drink. Even Ecuadorians generally only drink bottled (or boiled) water.

Coffee is widely available in cafes and restaurants, and also sold in bean form. Tea is also common, usually with a good selection including herbal.

Fruit juice is plentiful and good, and you will often have many options: piña (pineapple), mora (blackberry), maracuyá (passion fruit), naranja (orange), sandía (watermelon), naranjilla (a jungle fruit), melon, taxo, guanabana, guava, etc. If you'd like it made with milk, sort of like a less-frozen milkshake, ask for a batida. Note that often juices are served lukewarm.

Aguardiente, often made from fermented sugar cane, is the local firewater. If possible, have some ground freshly into your cup from the sugarcane.

Sleep

There are many low-cost hostels that can be found throughout Ecuador. Often, the hostels in smaller towns are actually privately owned homes that welcome travellers. As with most things, natives can help you find an excellent hotel at a very low price ($6-14). Again, large groups will be able to bargain for lower prices. Air conditioning is an amenity which often comes at an extra cost of a dollar or two a night.

Ecuador is also home to an increasing number of Eco Lodges, including many renovated, traditional Haciendas.

Haciendas of Ecuador

Stay safe

Tourists should use common sense to ensure their safety. Avoid problems by not flashing large amounts of money, not visiting areas near the Colombian border, staying away from civil disturbances and not using side streets in big cities at night. Probably the biggest threat in most places is simple thievery: Belongings should not be left unguarded on the beach, for example, and pickpockets can be found in some of the more crowded areas, especially the Trolébus (Metro) in Quito, in bus terminals and on the buses themselves. Buses allow peddlers to board briefly and attempt to sell their wares; however, they are often thieves themselves, so keep a close eye out for them. Hotel personnel are generally good sources of information about places that should be avoided.

You can always ask tourist police officers, police officers or in Tourist information center for the dangerous regions.

Ecuador offers great opportunities for hiking and climbing, unfortunately, some travelers have been attacked and robbed in remote sections of well known climbs - several rapes have also been reported so female hikers/climbers need to be extremely careful. Travelers are urged to avoid solo hikes and to go in a large group for safety reasons.

Stay healthy

Ecuador is widely considered to be a developing country and health hazards are a significant issue. Of the most significant are foodborne illnesses, though they can easily be treated with digestive drugs such as antacids or antidiarrheals.

Bottled water is key in Ecuador if you don't want to get sick. This doesn't only apply to foreigners who don't have the stomach for Ecuadorian food but also Ecuadorians who know that if they don't boil their water or drink it from the bottle that they can get very sick. As a result, it can be purchased almost everywhere (even in the most remote places) for well under $.25-.50. Water bottles are sometimes provided by hostels and hotels, which can be used for brushing teeth.

It is advisable to receive a typhoid vaccination, and possibly a yellow fever vaccination, depending on your specific area of travel.

Outside the major cities and tourist areas, malaria can be a problem along the coast during the rainy season.

Respect

The common greetings are "Buenos días", "Buenas tardes" or "Buenas noches", (Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good evening, respectively). It is usually complemented by a handshake, between men, and by a kiss on the cheek between women or between a man and a woman. "Hola" is the most common greeting between friends and acquaintances. Note that, as in most Latin American countries, it's considered normal and polite to stand quite close to the other person while talking.

If you speak Spanish with Ecuadorians, take note of the difference between the two forms for the pronoun "you": the informal "tú" and the formal "usted". It's customary to address older people and people with whom you're not familiar with "usted". Ecuadorans are generally forgiving of non-native speakers, but use "usted" when in doubt.

Among many other cultural idiosyncrasies, in the Sierra regions it is considered impolite to use a downward-facing palm as a reference for the height of a person. Instead, the hand is held on its side, and the measurement taken from the lower edge to the floor. Gesturing with the palm down is appropriate for animals only.

When motioning for someone to "come here," it is impolite to motion your hand with the palm facing up. Instead, use a downward swipe of the hand with the palm facing down.

Acceptable clothing varies by region of the country. In the mountainous Sierra region, including Quito, clothes are usually more warm because of the weather. On the coast, meanwhile, more casual clothes predominate.

Connect

Internet

Internet cafes can be found nearly everywhere in the major cities and in many of the smaller ones. Cost is from $1 to $2 per hour in the large cities, and the better places have high-speed access. In some cafes, restaurants, and hotels you can find free wifi access, most of them protected by passwords; in most cases, you just have to ask for the password.

Telephone

For most visitors, the easiest place to make phone calls is an Internet cafe, most of which provide VOIP service at reasonable rates. You can call the United States for about $0.10 per minute and Europe for a bit more. Avoid making a phone call through an operator; the cost for an international call can be $3 or more per minute. For calls within Ecuador, it is possible to use a telephone cabin. This is an entire storefront filled with telephones. Generally, you are assigned a booth by the proprietor, you make your call, then you pay as you leave. Calls within Ecuador are more expensive than domestic calls in most countries, but not unreasonable, except for calls to cell phones, which generate most of their revenue by charging the caller. Also, call prices increase depending on the distance of your call within Ecuador, based on city, province, etc. Visitors making an extended stay should consider purchasing a cell phone. Most are sold on a prepaid-call basis, and phone refill cards can be purchased in all but the smallest towns. It is also possible to get a modern GSM cellular phone "unlocked" so that it will function in Ecuador (you can take your own phone, if it compatible with GSM 850MHz), however, this should be reserved for emergencies as the cost of actually making such a call is usually exorbitant (about $0,45 per minute).

Radio and television

Radio and/or television is available in Spanish except in some of the particularly remote areas. English-language movies usually are shown in the original language with Spanish subtitles. Many hotels have cable television that may include English-language stations and/or premium movie channels that feature subtitled movies in their original languages.

Newspapers and magazines

Spanish-language newspapers and magazines can be purchased on the streets of cities but can be hard to find elsewhere. Some hotels catering to foreigners may have a small selection of English-language reading material.

Hear about trekking in Ecuador’s Quilotoa Loop as the Amateur Traveler talks to Kim Mance about her recent trip to that country. Kim spent 3 weeks in Ecuador including one week on the Quilotoa Loop.

Stretching 96,922 square kilometers across the country, the Amazon comprises more than 60 percent of Peru. The area is home to stunning landscapes, unrivaled biodiversity, and fascinating cultures. A trip to the Peruvian Amazon is well worth the effort, but what are the most impressive attractions? Check out the top four things to do in the Peruvian Amazon.

Peru Amazon Trip

1. Explore ancient ruins in Kuelap. The Chachapoyas people, meaning the Warriors of the Cloud, were a pre-Colombian civilization living in the dense forests of Amazonian region. Though eventually incorporated into the vast Incan Empire just prior to the Spanish’s arrival, the Chachapoyas were known as fiercely independent warriors that vehemently resisted outside rule. Today, the fortress of Kuelap stands as a testament to the greatness of the civilization. Situated on the summit of a hill on the left bank of the Utcubamba, the walled city contains over 400 circular buildings. Kuelap’s sheer size and breathtaking location makes it one of the most impressive ruins in Latin America. Constructed between 900 and 1100 AD, visitors can reach these 1,000-year-old ruins via Chiclayo, which is about 9 hours away by car. Keep in mind that it is best to make the trek during the dry season, between June and October, as during the rainy season many roads and trails become inaccessible.

2. Hike to a waterfall in Tarapoto. If you’re searching for jaw-dropping landscapes, you will find them in Tarapoto. Situated where the Andes meet the Amazon, Tarapoto is marked by verdant, dramatic hills and beautiful rivers — the perfect recipe for waterfalls. The Cataratas del Ahuashiyacu is arguably Tarapoto’s most famous waterfall. However, there are a number of arguably more spectacular waterfalls situated off the beaten path. The Cataratas de Huacamaillo, though a 3-hour hike away, are well worth the trek.

3. Search for pink dolphins. The Amazon River dolphin, colloquially known as the pink dolphin, is a freshwater dolphin found in the Amazonian rivers of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. These fascinating creatures thrive in the lowland rivers of Peru. During the annual rainy reason when the Amazon floods across vast swaths of forests and marshes, these dolphins are able to use their unusually long necks and flexible spinal cords to maneuver under tree trunks and submerged vegetation to hunt and extract their prey, feeding on crustaceans, small turtles, catfish, crabs, and shrimp. In local Amazonian lore, the pink dolphins are powerful symbols of good luck.

4. Participate in an Ayahuasca ceremony. Made by combining the caapi vine with DMT-containing plants, this powerful hallucinogenic is an important part of a rich tradition of ethoegenic practices within many indigenous communities throughout the Amazon basin, used for both medical purposes and spiritual guidance. The visions induced by Ayahuasca can help users to conquer their fears and gain new insights. Outsiders have long made the journey into the Amazon in search of an illuminating Ayahuasca experience. Allen Ginsberg, a famous beat poet, went to Peru in 1960 in search of the plant on the advice of his writer friend William Burroughs. Paul Simon’s 1990 song “Spirit Journey” recounts his trip into the Amazon and experience with Ayahuasca, while a number of musicians have also tried Ayahuasca, including Tori Amos, Ben Lee, and Sting.

However, visitors are advised to exercise caution if taking Ayahuasca and to find a reputable center or shaman. The experience itself is physically demanding and is often accompanied by fever and intense vomiting. Visitors also need to follow a dietary regimen in preparation for the ceremony, which entails abstaining from salt, sugar, and meat. The Takiwasi center, located just outside of Tarapoto, is highly recommended. The center is run by French physician Jaques Mabiti and combines traditional medicine, including Ayahuasca, with modern psychotherapy. The center runs nine-month rehabilitation programs for those with severe problems, although shorter options are also available.

There you have it, our list of Amazon activities. Check out other things to do in Peru here

Amazon Rainforest Peru

The post The Top 4 Things to Do in the Peruvian Amazon appeared first on IncaTrail.info.

You have friends, right? And they have friends? And relatives, too? Well, what are you waiting for? TAP THEM. You don't have to know them well, or even at all. They just have to live someplace you want to go. That's how I decided I could go to Ecuador without a travel companion. The thought of landing alone after dark in Quito, the capital city, was nerve wracking otherwise. But my childhood friend's husband's uncle's...
In this story on why it's better to travel alone, the fourth reason is my favorite: deep immersion. You simply are not going to see or notice as much if you're walking with a friend or partner, while in Paris or Tokyo or anywhere else, gabbing with each other about what you just saw or where your next meal will be or something you remembered about your lives at home. You've stopped absorbing what's around...

Laptop in Malta

There’s a question that I’ve been asked more and more often lately:

“There are so many travel blogs out there today. If I start, I’m going to be so far behind. Do I have any chance of making it a career? Is it even possible?”

A lot of people would say no — but I disagree.

I think now is actually a good time to start a travel blog. There’s more money to be had in the industry. Blogs and personalities become popular much faster. New social networks becoming progressively more prominent. In short, you’re open to a lot of opportunities that I didn’t have.

 

RELATED: How to Start a Travel Blog The Right Way

 

Here are a few tips from 2016 that did not apply to the space until fairly recently.

Chiang Mai Travel Bloggers

Know you don’t have to be the biggest travel blogger of all.

Just a few years ago, only the top tier of bloggers were making a full-time living from their blog, and only a few were making enough money to live anywhere more expensive than Southeast Asia.

That has changed. More people are making decent livings. You still see plenty of bloggers living in Southeast Asia, but an increasing number are living in pricey cities in North America and Europe.

A lot of new bloggers start with the goal of being one of the biggest travel bloggers of all. (Quite frankly, that was my motivation in the early days.) If you do that, you’re going to be chasing it forever. But if you don’t let fame motivate you — if you instead want to have a quality working career — you can absolutely make it happen.

Think of it this way: every TV actor dreams of having Viola Davis or Kerry Washington’s career, headlining a popular Thursday night drama. But you could also be a working actor appearing in small guest roles on everything from Law & Order to Brooklyn Nine-Nine to random commercials and the latest Judd Apatow flick, the kind of person where people say, “I know that face! What’s she been in?”

Those actors still make money from their craft. Many of them have a pretty good work/life balance as well. That’s something to keep in mind.

Kate Quaker Oats Murder

That said — most of the big names have slowed down their travels.

There was a time when the people behind the biggest travel blogs were on the road at least 80% of the time. That’s not the case anymore. We’re very tired.

I’m not going to name names because some people are keeping it quieter than others, but a great many popular travel bloggers have chosen to get year-round apartments with leases and travel far less often. (Most of you know that I am one of these bloggers, having moved to New York seven weeks ago.)

That means that if you have the opportunity to travel long-term, you’re going to be doing so in a way that not a lot of others are doing at the moment. That’s especially good for real-time platforms like Snapchat. More on Snapchat below.

Kate in Albania

Niche is good; personality plus specialty is better.

Niche is always a big discussion — people always talk about how important it is to HAVE A NICHE. You need to open that proverbial fly-fishing blog!

But in this day and age, I see it differently. I think the most important thing is to have a well-developed voice and personality along with a few specialties on which you can become an expert.

Alex in Wanderland, for example, has a specialty in diving.

Young Adventuress has a specialty in New Zealand travel.

Flora the Explorer has a specialty in sustainable volunteering.

These specialties are not the only subjects that these bloggers write about, so I wouldn’t go so far as to call them their niches. But they are areas that differentiate them and give them expertise and credibility. If I needed help with any of those subjects, I would go to their sites in a heartbeat. (Also, it’s worth adding that Liz didn’t even visit New Zealand until she had already been blogging, so yes, it is possible to develop a specialty on the road!)

This is especially important for all the women trying to differentiate themselves as a solo female travel blogger. There are a million of you now, ladies. Work on diversifying.

The most difficult part is developing your voice and personality, and that can only be done by writing, writing, writing.

Smartphone Challenge

Social media is more important than ever.

We’ve entered a time where social media can often eclipse the value of your blog. That was never the case early in my blogging years, but I’m seeing it more and more today, especially with Instagram.

At this point in time, Instagram is by far the most important social network. It’s widely consumed by “real people,” it’s prioritized by brands (translation: this is where the money is), and it allows you to show your strengths. A company may be more interested in advertising on Instagram than anywhere on your blog.

But this means you’re going to throw a lot of time and effort into creating a beautiful, engaging Instagram profile.

Snapchat is another big network on which I recommend getting started. It’s huge among “real people” and it’s still early enough that you can be an early adopter, like me.

Another place that can become a game-changer is Pinterest. Pinterest now regularly drives traffic to lots of my pages that don’t necessarily do well in search.

Other social networks are important. Some people swear by Facebook (and I do quite a bit with it); others live and die by Twitter. And by all means, yes, work on growing your Facebook audience in particular. But if I were you, I’d throw your time and resources into focusing on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Kate and Brenna in Koh Lanta

The time to get into video is now. Or yesterday.

Video is projected to grow more and more — a year and a half ago, Mark Zuckerberg said that he expected video to be the dominant content on Facebook within five years. I’ve said before that not doing enough on YouTube keeps me up at night. I just feel like I haven’t had to learn all the skills.

There is plenty of room to grow on YouTube — I’d argue that you can grow faster and far more effectively as a travel YouTuber than as a travel blogger. The time is definitely now.

FYI — Travel Blog Success is having a sale on their videography course this week. It’s 35% off. See below for more.

I actually bought the course last year but I need to make creating better videos a priority for this summer.

Angkor Wat at Dawn

I still mean it — get out of Southeast Asia.

This is one of the most controversial pieces of advice I’ve given, and I stand by it. Southeast Asia is tremendously oversaturated in the travel blogosphere at this point in time.

Is it possible to focus on Southeast Asia and still become a prominent travel blogger? Of course it is. You can stand out if you consistently create genuinely original content.

But most people who spend time in Southeast Asia don’t do that. They write “this is what it’s like to cruise Halong Bay” and “here are photos from my day at Angkor Wat” and “the best things to do in Ubud are these” and “this is how awesome Koh Lanta is.”

It’s good stuff, sure, and it will be useful to your readers who aren’t familiar with those destinations, but posts like those will not allow you to gain traction as a travel blogger. Major influencers will not be sharing these posts because they’ve been seen a thousand times before.

If you want to spend extended time in a cheap region, consider parts of Mexico and Central America (inland Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, inland Nicaragua), parts of South America (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), parts of Central and Eastern Europe (Balkans excluding Croatia and Slovenia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, former USSR), and/or parts of South Asia (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka).

Because while plenty of people have written about those destinations, they are nowhere near the saturation level of Southeast Asia.

Bloghouse Mentors: Kate, Lisa, Cailin, Mike, Steph

Travel Blog Success Will Help You Grow Fast, Well, and Efficiently.

I push Travel Blog Success because it’s the best product out there. Why?

  1. The course will teach you so much at a fast rate. If you read the materials and put the work in, you won’t make the mistakes that the majority of bloggers make.
  2. The course comes with discounts and perks. Savings on premium plugins, hosting, design products, conference tickets, and more.
  3. The Facebook community is the best travel blogging group on the web. Forget the giant groups on Facebook — the private Travel Blog Success group is the only place where I give out advice to bloggers publicly, and lots of other experts do, too.

And yes, I earn an affiliate commission if you purchase through that link. 26% on the main course, 15% on the others. But I only link to products that I actually use, like, and recommend. Always have, always will.

What do I always tell people? Wait until the course on sale. Because even though that means I’ll be making a much smaller commission, I’d still rather have you get the maximum discount.

Well, it’s on sale now. 35% off all courses. And since I last wrote about it, more courses have been added in addition to the main Travel Blog Success course:

  • Bloggers, Brands, and Tourism Boards — A course on getting partnerships, both comped and paid
  • Bloggers to Bylines — A course on becoming a freelance travel writer.
  • Videography for Travel Bloggers — A course on becoming a travel videographer or YouTuber.

The sale ends Friday, March 25, 2016, at 11:00 PM ET.

San Juan del Sur Sunset

Because yes: It’s still possible to make it if you start today.

I know some people will disagree with me, but I think that in many ways, it’s a lot easier to get started now than it was when I did in 2010. The market may be crowded, but there is always — always — room for excellent content.

And whether you’re watching a brilliant sunset on a beach in Nicaragua or sitting on your purple couch in your Harlem apartment (which I may be as I write this), the life of a travel blogger is incredibly rewarding. Each day, I feel so grateful that this is what I do for a living.

Note: the links to Travel Blog Success are affiliate links. I only use affiliate links on products that I actually use, like, and recommend. This course is worth every penny and then some!I think now is actually a good time to start a travel blog. There's more money to be had in the industry. Blogs and personalities become popular much faster. New social networks becoming progressively more prominent. In short, you're open to a lot of opportunities that I didn't have.

Volcanoes abound It's not often one gets to experience a volcano. But there I was in Ecuador, a decade or so ago, watching a plume of what looked like smoke--but had to be ash--spewing from Tungurahua, translated as throat of fire. In Riobamba and other towns nearby, people were constantly sweeping a film of gray off steps, sidewalks, the front of churches. More ash kept settling down. Obviously, volcanoes can be dangerous but it was...
Volcanoes abound It's not often one gets to experience a volcano. But there I was in Ecuador, a decade or so ago, watching a plume of what looked like smoke--but had to be ash--spewing from Tungurahua, translated as throat of fire. In Riobamba and other towns nearby, people were constantly sweeping a film of gray off steps, sidewalks, the front of churches. More ash kept settling down. Obviously, volcanoes can be dangerous but it was...

Photo by author.

When my friend Sarah texted me shortly after the election, asking if I’d join her on a bus that was heading from Mount Desert Island, Maine to the Women’s March in Washington, DC, I didn’t want to go. I’m in the middle of building a house, money’s tight, and I’ve never been able to sleep in a small, cramped space. I ignored her text for a few hours.

Then, it hit me. I’m a feminist. I disagree with the racism, misogyny, and bigotry that was displayed throughout the election. And ever since I awoke to the struggles of others while in college, I’ve tried to be active in resistance. I’ve attended small protests for marriage equality, reproductive justice, and climate change awareness — but when have I ever taken my beliefs to our nation’s capital, alongside hundreds of thousands of other people? This was an experience that I couldn’t let go just because I didn’t want to spend two nights sleeping in the fetal position on a 34-hour round trip bus ride.

So I paid the 140 bucks and reserved a seat, hoping to be part of something that future generations might read about in history books.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced in D.C.

I grew up in Waldo County, Maine in the same town that my mother grew up in. My grandmother grew up nearby as well. I’m proud of my roots, but I’d be lying if I claimed they were very diverse. The narratives I’ve been exposed to are, for the most part, those of poor white people. What was it like to grow up in small town Maine in the ‘60s and ‘70s without access to reproductive healthcare, where your only sense of community comes from a church that tells women their bodies aren’t their own? Ask my mother. What was it like to grow up in Maine’s most impoverished area where the only dependable job is raking blueberries, constructing wreaths, or digging for worms? Ask my boyfriend. What is it like to watch elementary schools and small businesses close down in your community? To watch historical buildings rot into the ground? To no longer be able to afford health insurance because Medicare wasn’t expanded in your state? Ask my neighbors. What is it like to drive an hour for an OBGYN checkup, only to pass by protesters holding grotesque signs, shouting at you? Ask me. Ask my sister. Ask any one of my girlfriends.

These are the struggles that the people in my life have had to face, and they’ve certainly been difficult, but they aren’t representative of every hardship that’s out there. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from being a millennial woman, it’s that I’ve got a lot to find out about other people. And the privilege of growing up in the technological age is access — access to different points of view.

At the Women’s March on Washington, I was swept into an ocean of diverse viewpoints. I wasn’t reading an article online anymore, written by a woman of color, I was marching alongside her. I spoke with a senior woman from Baltimore who said that if she could speak to my generation, she would say: “You all have a voice in whatever way you choose to express it. Keep on fighting.”

I spoke to a woman in a head covering from Connecticut, who told me that even though she donates to Planned Parenthood every year, is a member of the ACLU, and has attended D.C. marches of this size before, her biggest form of activism is raising her three children to be good people.

I marched alongside a woman from New York City, a millennial too, who told me terminating a pregnancy at 19 was the best decision she has ever made. She’s now a lead person at the National Network of Abortion Funds and has devoted her work to getting stories like hers out into the public. “Abortion is a human right,” she said. “So we will resist.”

I asked a young Latina woman, much younger than I, if she would pose for a picture. She stood proudly, holding a sign that read: “Latinas. Mis padres no crusaron la frontera, la frontera cruzó a mis padres.” Translation: “My parents didn’t cross the border, the border crossed them.”

Photo by author.

On the way to D.C., Sarah said someone back home had told her not to waste her time or money traveling to the march, he didn’t believe it was going to accomplish anything. If the Women’s March on Washington was successful in just a single goal, it was bringing more than one million people of diverse backgrounds together in one place. And I believe that it set the tone for the multicultural, intersectional feminism that my generation will come to be known for.

When I returned home, I returned empowered, but with a little frustration and a little guilt as well. I disagreed with so much that was said during the election — the hatred toward immigrants, the normalizing of racism, the fact that our sitting president mocked a journalist with a disability, and that he claimed he would consider punishing women who terminated their pregnancies. But what did I do to voice that disagreement within my small, rural community? Not much.

I live in Cherryfield, population 1,232, and my area is quickly transforming. We’re experiencing a newfound diversity as migrant families choose to remain here permanently. When I asked my boyfriend if this place has always been diverse, he said no. When he was growing up, there was just one person of color in his entire school. Today, Cherryfield and its surrounding towns of Milbridge, Harrington, and Deblois are home to many Latino families, primarily from Mexico and Ecuador. What have I done to make them feel welcome in our county that, despite its changing population, voted in favor of a man who believes fearing other cultures will offer us a better quality of life than welcoming and learning from them?

My after-march goal is to continue to speak out in favor of choice, take action against climate change, and promote LGBTQ rights, but to also learn from the women I marched with who have experienced hardships worlds away from my own. To support them and seek out their stories within my community. To be outspokenly pro-Immigrant, pro-diversity and pro-equality. Because the truth is, I don’t want to grow old in the same Maine that I grew up in. I welcome this change in our state’s culture, and I encourage my community to welcome it too. Because whether or not we’re afraid of it, the future of Maine is coming, the future of America is coming, and it will be filled with stories different from our own. Let’s listen to them.

More like this: These 17 signs illustrate the unity of the Women's March on Washington
4 ways traveling helped my kid develop unshakable confiendence

Photo by author

My family lives a different kind of lifestyle, one that has influenced my son, Makai’s, development greatly. We sold our home and most of what we owned to travel the world with Mak during his formative years. We started traveling full time when he was five. Since then, we’ve visited eleven countries on three different continents. Makai has traveled more miles and experienced more cultures than both my husband and I had by the time we were 30. Today, Mak’s like most eight-year-olds in many ways, but travel has helped him learn skills some people struggle to develop into adulthood.

He’s learned ways to adapt in difficult situations.

Travel days — the ones getting to and from a destination — can be particularly demanding, especially for kids. The most challenging one for us included multiple connections. We were sure we’d set aside enough time for all the connections, but a series of delays on route to the bus, the last mode of transportation to our next destination, cost us two hours. This resulted in lots of racing around with heavy bags in crowded tube stations, and flat out sprints on busy city streets. Our frantic race to catch our bus was loaded with time crunches and multiple calls to action. We all felt tired, frustrated, and at times a bit panicked. But, even with all that pressure Makai had no meltdowns. There was no whining. There were only quick conversations about strategy. When he saw me or my husband struggling, he’d ask, “Do you need help?” or offer advice “Try doing it this way.”

Even when we felt certain we’d miss our ride Mak did his absolute best to keep pushing on. He was a team player throughout every challenge that morning and we ended up catching our bus because of that. He remained focused on achieving the goal and wasn’t bogged down by all of the obstacles that stood in our way. Learning how to focus and tackle one challenge at a time has taught Mak perseverance can pay off in difficult situations.

He’s learned the importance of getting out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes we visit incredible places for a very short time. One of those quick trips was to Toulouse, France — a beautiful city with a huge Ferris wheel in the center. The ride is a popular tourist attraction. In town for only 48 hours, we knew the quickest way to get the best views was from the top of the giant ride. Both Mak and I felt some apprehension as we looked up at the massive wheel; I even volunteered to skip the ride to save money because of my fear of heights. As we stood, deciding if we should climb aboard, Mak started to reason and finally said, “This is the only chance we’ll have to ride this thing,” and led the way onto the ferris wheel to take in the view.

When it was over, he was so glad he went for the ride, and I was too.

He’s comfortable trusting and relying on others.

We realize we can’t always be in control while traveling. We need to engage with people we don’t know all the time and know we need to trust our instincts. That said, we have often benefited from the kindness of strangers. As a result, Makai is not afraid to approach people he doesn’t know to ask questions and strike up conversations. Locals we meet are sometimes curious about how we live and people of all ages want to converse with Mak as a result. He tells them about his experiences and he learns about life where they live as well. Meeting and learning about so many people has helped him to recognize different characteristics. This has helped him relate and become comfortable talking with all kinds of people. Mak is comfortable relying on different people because he’s learned he can trust his own judgement.

He recognizes the similarities instead of differences about people.

When Mak was five we visited Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. Seeing different kinds of people and looking different ourselves helped make similarities stand out. During that time, we watched a YouTube video where a young boy of Makai’s age was meeting Barack Obama. Shortly into the video, Mak turned to me and said, “Mom, I think he’s related to the President.” “Oh? What makes you think that” I said.

The child and the then President were both African American, the obvious similarity. He didn’t mention that. He said, “They’re both wearing ties.” He went on to say they both seemed to like being leaders and pointed out different mannerisms they shared. Later, when we visited Istanbul in Turkey, Makai saw many women wearing niqabs. Six years old at the time, he asked, “Mom, are they ninjas?” I said, “No, I think some women wear niqabs because they want to be modest, not ‘show offy’.” He thought about it for a minute then asked, “Why don’t you wear one?” I told him I liked being modest too, but I have a different belief system and liked wearing the kind of stuff I did. “Okay,” he said.  

Travel has helped Mak recognize differences in people are normal. Ultimately, travel helped my son develop confidence by teaching him to expect that his opinions and perspectives will change. Seeing, tasting, and experiencing so many different things has helped him fear less and relate all to kinds of people. More like this: I’m a travel addict with a kid who doesn’t like to travel. Here’s how I deal with it

DESPITE being terrifying natural phenomena, volcanoes are also fascinating — we never know when the fiery power contained deep within the Earth will manifest itself, but we know the spectacle will be formidable. We selected some beautiful photographs of volcanoes from around the world that we hope will inspire you to go see them in person.

Ethiopia

Erta Ale Volcano

Erta Ale is a continuously active shield volcano. It last erupted in January 2017.

Volcanoes

Photo: Indrik myneur

Guatemala

Volcán de Fuego

Volcán de Fuego is a highly active volcano. If you’re lucky, you can see its full fury.

Photo: Arthur Wei

Indonesia

Mount Sinabung

Mount Sinabung’s last eruption was in May 2016.

Volcanoes

Photo: Yosh Ginsu

volcanoes

Photo: Yosh Ginsu

Democratic Republic of Congo

Nyiragongo Volcano

Nyiragongo Volcano contains the world’s most active and largest lava lake.

Volcanoes

Photo: Cai Tjeenk Willink

Hawai’i

Kīlauea, The Big Island of Hawai’i

You can take boat tours to check out Kīlauea’s lava pouring into the Pacific Ocean up close.

volcanoes

Photo by Buzz Andersen

Volcanoes

Photo by Mandy Beerley

Haleakalā, Māui

Haleakalā volcano is currently dormant, but the Haleakalā National Park on the Hawaiian island of Māui is still a great place to check out craters. Note: Once a volcano has been dormant for more than 10 000 years, it is termed extinct.

volcanoes

Photo by Jeff King

Ecuador

Tungurahua Volcano

Photo: Diariocritico de Venezuela

Iceland

Holuhraun Lava Field

volcanoes

Photo: Sparkle Motion

Eyjafjallajökull

Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption in the spring of 2010 threw volcanic ash several kilometers up in the atmosphere, which led to air travel disruption in Europe for several days.

Volcanoes

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bolivia

Volcán Licancabur

Volcán Licancabur stands 19,400ft in southwestern Bolivia, fronted by the minerally colored Laguna Verde. It can be reached and climbed in conjunction with tours to the nearby Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Volcán Licancabur is dormant.

Volcan Licancabur, Bolivia

Photo: szeke

Italy

Mount Etna

Mount Etna is Europe’s largest active volcano.

Mount Etna erupting

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russia

Volcano Gorely

Volcano Gorely consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes and is one of the most active in southern Kamchatka. It last erupted in June 2010.

Volcanoes

Photo: Kuhnmi

Volcano Vilyuchinsky

Volcano Vilychinsky seen from volcano Gorely on a misty morning.

Volcanoes

Photo: Kuhnmi

Papua New Guinea

Tavurvur Volcano

Tavurvur Volcano last erupted in 2010.

volcanoes

Photo: Taro Taylor

Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands*

Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Join the festivities on La Ronda Street, spot an iguana in the Galapagos Islands, or hunt for a bargain at the Otavalo market; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Ecuador & the Galapagos Island and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands Travel Guide:

Full-color maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, music, politics, landscapes, and wildlife Over 61 local maps Covers QuitoGuayaquilCuencaOtavaloBanosMontanita,  VilcabambaMindo, Canoa, Isla de la Plata, the Quilatoa Loop, Papallacta, Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Salvador, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, our most comprehensive guide to Colombia, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South America on a Shoestring guide for a comprehensive look at all Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

*Bestselling guide to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands Source: Nielsen Bookscan. Australia, UK and USA, May 2011 to April 2012.

Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador

K. Kris Loomis

Ever wonder what it would be like to pick up one day and move abroad? In the summer of 2013, Kris Loomis and her husband sold all their worldly possessions and, along with their three-legged cat, Triplet, did just that. They left their comfy life behind and moved to Ecuador! Follow along as they battle ‘mañana’ time, stinky buses, and the dreaded ‘Frankenstein’ shower. Will they adjust to South American culture? Will Triplet learn to meow in Spanish? Will the stupid black beans ever cook at that altitude? Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador is a humorous first-hand account of a couple stepping out of their comfort zone, holding on tight, and learning to breathe at 9,000 feet. Also by K. Kris Loomis How to Sneak More Yoga Into Your Life: A Doable Yoga Plan for Busy People How to Sneak More Meditation Into Your Life: A Doable Meditation Plan for Busy People The Monster In the Closet and Other Stories Visit www.kkrisloomis.com and get a FREE short story! You can connect with Kris on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest @kkrisloomis. Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador is a fun must read for anyone interested in travel or curious about other cultures, and future expats will get a glimpse of what moving abroad is really like!

Ecuador Road Trip: An Insider's Guide to Planning an Amazing Adventure

Jessamyn Salinas

A colorful mix of useful tips and the author’s experiences come together to help you plan your trip to Ecuador. The book discusses why you should travel to Ecuador and tells about some of the many amazing places worth exploring in this gem of a country. Once you’re convinced that you need to take an Ecuador vacation, everything you need to plan your trip is tackled, from visa information and packing ideas to suggested routes and foods to try. Plus, read about the two road trip options in Ecuador: renting a car and taking the bus.Why take a road trip? It’s the best way to see Ecuador!This book is the perfect companion to the everyday guidebook. Use the guidebook for hotel and restaurant ideas and Ecuador Road Trip for everything you need to know in between.Includes over 15 full-color photos, maps of popular routes and additional tips from other travelers.Scroll up to buy now!

Ecuador and Galapagos Islands (National Geographic Adventure Map)

National Geographic Maps - Adventure

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map

National Geographic's Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Adventure Map, with its comprehensive information, is uniquely designed for adventure travelers. The map delivers unparalleled detail of the entire country and its recreational, historical, cultural and natural destinations. Pinpointed spots include beaches, wildlife areas, archeological sites, churches and areas for camping, surfing, fishing and diving. A list of cities and towns with a user-friendly index is provided along with a road network of highways, major and secondary roads, shown with distances. Unsurfaced and 4-wheel-drive roads are mapped for those wishing to get off the beaten track. Other displayed travel aids include airports, airfields, harbors, anchorage sites, railroads, ferry routes and border crossings with neighboring Colombia and Peru.

The northern part of the map covers the capital city of QuitoCotopaxi Volcano and National Park, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, the town of Tena in the Amazon rainforest and the country's largest city of Guayaquil. The southern part of the map covers from Guayaquil to the southern and southeastern border with Peru, showing the diverse Podocarpus National Park in the southern Andes and Amazonian ecological systems. An inset map covers the world renowned Galapagos Islands, showing Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve, Tortoise Reserve and diving areas around the islands. This expertly researched map is the perfect complement to any guidebook.

Every Adventure Map is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough — capable of withstanding the rigors of international travel.

Map Scale = 1:750,000Sheet Size = 37.75" x 25.5"Folded Size = 4.25" x 9.25"

The Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands (Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands)

Rough Guides

The Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands is the definitive travel guide to this captivating country.

In-depth coverage of Ecuador's incomparable wildlife, vibrant indigenous cultures, and awe-inspiring scenery takes you to the most rewarding spots—from the Amazon rain forest to the heights of the Andes to glorious, laid-back beach resorts—and stunning color photography brings the land to life on the pages.

Discover Ecuador's highlights, with expert advice on exploring the best colonial cities, participating in ancient festivals, scaling volcanoes and learning Spanish, straddling the Equator, and swimming with turtles, penguins, sea lions, and even sharks. This guidebook includes extensive coverage of the capital, Quito, and the Galápagos Islands, the world's premier wildlife destination.

Easy-to-use maps, reliable advice on how to get around, and insider reviews of the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops for all budgets ensure that you won't miss a thing.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands.

Series Overview: For more than thirty years, adventurous travelers have turned to Rough Guides for up-to-date and intuitive information from expert authors. With opinionated and lively writing, honest reviews, and a strong cultural background, Rough Guides travel books bring more than 200 destinations to life. Visit RoughGuides.com to learn more.

Ecuador 55 Secrets - The Locals Travel Guide For Your Trip to Ecuador 2016: Skip the tourist traps and explore like a local : Where to Go, Eat & Party in Ecuador

55 Secrets

55 Secrets you’d never find out about ECUADOR!Welcome to the most Complete Ecuador Travel Guide for Tourists made by locals! Here Is a Preview of What You'll Learn Inside...♥55 Unique activities to do in the entire country♥Best places to eat ♥Best local Markets♥Best Parks and Good Views♥Best Museums♥Best Bars ♥Best things to do in Ecuador (Quito, Galapagos, MontanitaCuenca, etc)♥ Much, much more!* * *FREE GIFT INSIDE * * * If you are heading to the wonderful country of Ecuador anytime soon this book will give you an insight of the best places and most unique places to see where you will mingle with the locals and get to see and do the activities as one of them.We have prepared a unique BUCKET LIST with the 55 most unique experiences you can have in Ecuador Most people don't even take the time to prepare themselves in advance, and just wish for the best once they have arrived! Most people aren't aware of some of the most amazing places Ecuador can offer... And it'd be such a pity to miss them! That's precisely why we desperately need the RIGHT travel guide first. Don’t arrive to Ecuador and follow the crowds of Tourists. With this exclusive travel guide made by locals you will be finding about the places that don’t come on Lonely Planet’s or are listed on Trip Advisor where thousands of tourists head daily. It took lots of time to incorporate the tips and hacks that ended up shaping this travel guide! And now, we are willing to share those secrets with you! We will tell you where you should go, eat, sleep, and of course, party! We know you won't just settle for average boring travel guides! We know you are looking for something better; something unique that will truly help you down the road: a book with real life tips, recommendations, useful travel hacks and data... everything you may need in your trip. You've just found what you were looking for! Our goal is simple. we will give you a complete and detailed Bucket list with MAPS to all the locations and most relevant cities to make sure you won’t get lost in Ecuador transforming your trip into absolutely amazing experience. We will help you simplify your path, showing you exactly where the best places are. ♥ Download Your Copy Right Now! ♥Just Scroll to the top of the page and select the Buy Button. TAGS: travel to Ecuador, travel guide Ecuador, adventure in Ecuador , trip to Ecuador , Equador , Ecuador hotels, Phoenix market,  Quito guide, holidays in Ecuador, day trip to Ecuador, Ecuador America, things to do in Ecuador, Ecuador map, Ecuador lonely planet, Ecuador ferias, its always sunny in Ecuador, Ecuador trip,Ecuador guide,craigslist Ecuador, galapagos islands

Ecuador - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Russell Maddicks

Squeezed between Colombia in the north and Peru in the south, Ecuador is named for its location on the Equator and has a landscape so varied that it has been described as a microcosm of every microclimate found in South America. This diversity makes it a magnet for tourists, mountain trekkers, volunteers, and increasing numbers of US retirees looking for a warm, culturally interesting, economical, and safe place to spend much of their time. The country is booming, thanks to high oil prices and investment in tourism, and a massive infrastructure program and the poverty-reduction measures launched by President Rafael Correa have endeared him to the poorest in society. Ecuador’s multiethnic population reflects a unique blend of cultures, from traditionally dressed mountain peoples, whose ancestors inhabited their highland villages before the arrival of the Incas, to the Afro-Ecuadorians of Esmeraldas and the Chota Valley and the tribal peoples of the Amazonian rainforest. The Ecuadorians are proud, friendly, hospitable, and hardworking, but to know them well the foreign visitor needs to understand the complex historical divisions between the highlands and the coast, and the rigid class and racial hierarchy that has shaped the country’s history. Culture Smart! Ecuador takes you beyond the usual descriptions of where to go and what to see, and gives you an insider’s view of the people, their history, their food, and their culture. Special sections are designed to help food lovers get the most out of the menu, assist business travelers to gain an edge on the competition, and show expats, volunteers, and visitors how to meet and get on well with the Ecuadorians, who are as diverse and varied as the country’s amazing geography.

Ecuador 1:660,000 Travel Reference Map (International Travel Maps)

ITM Canada

Very detailed, double sided travel map of Ecuador shows road network and physical features. Distances between communities are shown, as well as gas stations outside of major towns. National parks and points of interest are also shown. Includes an inset map of Quito and Environs of Guayaquil as well as a comprehensive place name index. Printed on waterproof synthetic paper suitable for tropical conditions.

Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Areas immediately bordering Colombia (see Advisory)

Travel to and within these areas is dangerous due to the presence of drug traffickers and criminal organizations and to the risk of violence (including during demonstrations), kidnappings, armed assaults and extortion. There have been reports of Canadian tourists and foreign oil workers being held against their will in these areas. Armed robberies have also been reported at jungle lodges in the areas of Lower Rio Napo and Cuyabeno National Reserve.

Curfews and states of emergency may be declared in regions affected by civil unrest, natural disasters or other disruptions. During states of emergency, authorities have expanded powers to restore order, including suspension of some constitutional rights and expanded detention powers.

Petty crime

Street crimes, including purse snatching, car break-ins, thefts, pickpocketing and violent carjackings, are daily occurrences in major cities. Thieves often work in teams, in which one thief diverts the victims’ attention while the other snatches their possessions. Groups of street children who sell candy are often engaged in these types of team operations. Luggage theft is common at airports, bus terminals, buses (city and regional) and other transit points.

In urban centres, thieves target cars stopped in traffic for break-ins. Hide your valuables and be aware of your surroundings when driving. The hotel zones in Quito, which are frequented by a high number of foreign tourists who are believed to carry valuables, are often targeted by thieves and muggers. Remain aware of your surroundings at all times and maintain a low profile when walking in these areas. Avoid walking alone—women especially—and avoid travelling after dark.

Carry only small amounts of money. Do not show signs of affluence and keep any valuable items or electronic equipment out of sight. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times, while carrying photocopies of your identification documents.

In case of robbery, remain calm and do not offer resistance. Most of the criminals in and around Quito use weapons.

Assault

Assaults have been reported against female travellers in the area of El Lechero near Otavalo, Imbabura Province, and sexual assaults against tourists are reported regularly in different locations throughout the country. Always exercise caution, avoid isolated areas and travel in groups.

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery. Incidents can occur in various locations, including buses, nightclubs and bars.

Sexual assaults and armed robberies have been reported in the area of the Pichincha volcano. Do not walk outside the limits of the Teleferico or its pathways, and avoid hiking to the antennas of the volcano via Cruz Loma, west of Quito.

Robberies at gunpoint have also been reported along the hiking trail up Cerro Mandango near Vilcabamba Loja. Those robbed, who are often foreigners, report being accosted by a group of masked, armed men while hiking along the trail. Thieves have resorted to undoing or opening articles of clothing to locate valuables and personal items to steal.

Armed assaults can occur in public parks in and around transportation terminals, especially in GuayaquilQuitoManta, and Cuenca. In Quito, exercise caution in the areas of El Panecillo, Carolina Park, Guapulo, Old Quito, South Quito, and particularly the popular tourist sector of Mariscal Sucre, where sexual assaults have occurred.

In Guayaquil, remain vigilant when visiting the downtown area, the waterfront (El Malecón), the market area, and the Christ Statue (Sagrado Corazón de Jesús) on Cerro del Carmen. Avoid wandering on deserted beaches, especially at night. Random attacks at gunpoint, robberies, and sexual assaults involving Canadians have occurred in the Riobamba area.

Kidnapping

Kidnapping for ransom, and express kidnappings, often in connection with carjackings, are of particular concern in Guayaquil.

Express kidnappings involve the brief detention of an individual, who is released only after being forced to withdraw funds from an automated banking machine or after arranging for family or friends to pay a ransom. Exercise caution when using taxis, as taxi drivers have been reportedly conducting express kidnappings. You should always use reputable radio taxi companies.

Civil Unrest

Public transportation is often disrupted during demonstrations. Protesters may burn tires, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, engage in the destruction of private and public property and detonate small improvised explosive devices during demonstrations. Police response may include water cannons and tear gas. Avoid areas where demonstrations are in progress and be prepared with alternate travel arrangements. Although political demonstrations have not been directed at foreigners in the past, peaceful demonstrations can become violent with little or no warning. Foreigners are prohibited from protesting in Ecuador and may be subject to arrest for participating in any demonstrations.

Strikes and disturbances by local fishermen in the Galápagos Islands sometimes affect the movement of tourists and prevent access to some sites. If you are planning to travel to the Galápagos Islands, obtain written confirmation from your travel agent or tour operator that your tour vessel is certified by the Ecuadorian Navy (Armada del Ecuador) to meet the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention standards.

Road travel

Though road conditions have improved, road travel is slow due to unmarked speed bumps, large pot holes, and randomly placed police and military road blocks. Heavy rain and mudslides often close or wash out roads. Heavy fog occasionally poses hazards in mountainous areas.

Driving in Ecuador is hazardous and unpredictable. There are all types of vehicles on the road that do not meet acceptable safety standards. Drivers involved in accidents causing physical injury are immediately detained. In many cases, detention lasts until responsibility has been assigned and all parties are satisfied.

Robberies and assaults continue to be reported regularly on intercity and urban Guayaquil buses, especially after dark. Bus drivers often make illegal stops to pick up new passengers on express routes, especially on the routes between Guayaquil and Cuenca and between Guayaquil and Riobamba. Avoid travelling after dark, either on long-distance or international coaches.

Only use registered taxis, identified by a blue or red and white numerical sign on the side and orange plates.

Marine travel

There is a risk of attacks and armed robbery against ships in Ecuadorian waters.

Air travel

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

If you intend to trek:

a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Embassy of Canada in Ecuador; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.

Your insurance should include provision for helicopter rescue, medical evacuation and treatment for accidental injury and medical emergencies.

Seek advice from local authorities before swimming, as strong currents, undertow and underwater hazards may exist and are not always posted. Most beaches lack consistently staffed lifeguard stations.

Fraud

Credit card fraud is increasing in Ecuador. Credit card magnetic strips have been duplicated, particularly at restaurants and bars where swiping your own card may not always be possible. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during the payment processing. Scams involving debit cards also occur. Carefully inspect ABMs before using to ensure that they have not been tampered with.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is available, but it varies in quality. In QuitoGuayaquil and Cuenca, private hospitals offer medical services similar to those found in Canada; however, in smaller towns and in rural areas, health services are below Canadian standards. Ambulances, with or without trained emergency staff, are in critically short supply. Visitors to the Galapagos Islands are advised that acute surgical and cardiac services are not available. Serious cases must be evacuated to the Ecuadorian mainland or to Canada for treatment.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal drugs

Sentences for involvement in illegal drug trafficking are severe. Individuals may be found guilty by association if they have criminal associates. Drivers should not accept hitchhikers, as they could be held responsible for them as well as for the content of their luggage. Monitor your luggage at all times when travelling, especially at airports, and never agree to carry items for another person.

Laws

It is a legal requirement in Ecuador to carry identification at all times.

Pedestrians should cross streets only at designated crosswalks. Jaywalking and walking off the sidewalk are punishable by a fine.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Money

The currency is the U.S. dollar (USD). Credit cards are accepted by many businesses, and U.S. traveller’s cheques are easily changed in tourist areas and in major hotels. Canadian currency and traveller’s cheques are not accepted.

Climate

Hurricanes and heavy rains

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.

Heavy rains at various times of the year trigger landslides in many areas, particularly in the Sierra (mountainous area), where road damage contributes to traffic accidents. Severe flooding occurs in many areas of the western provinces of Manabí, Los Rios and Guayas, particularly in Chone, Portoviejo, and parts of Guayaquil. Monitor local news reports and plan accordingly. During flooding, transportation, utilities, emergency and medical care, as well as food, fuel and water supplies, may be disrupted. Water-borne and insect-borne diseases may also become a threat.

Seismic activity

Ecuador is located in an active seismic area. There are several active volcanoes on its mainland and on the Galapagos Islands. Four of these volcanoes have shown increased signs of activity. Consult the website of the Instituto Geofisico (in Spanish) for more information.

Tungurahua, located approximately 120 kilometres south of Quito, intermittently emits ash, mud flows and gas. On February 2, 2014, an ash plume up to 10 kilometers high was expulsed from Tungurahua. Ash fall has been reported in Riobamba, Ambato, southern Quito and Mejía district (Valle de los Chillos). The Secretaria Nacional de Riesgo has declared an orange alert in the provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo. Volcanic activity at Tungurahua remains high, and ash eruptions could occur at any time and without warning. You should follow the advice of local authorities, monitor local news reports and be familiar with local evacuation plans (available at most hotels).

Cerro Azul, located near Villamil Port, Galapagos Islands, erupted on May 29, 2008, with lava flows that descended down the southeastern flank of the volcano.

Reventador, located 95 kilometres east of Quito, has started a new eruptive period and is showing increasing signs of volatility. Authorities have suspended all mountaineering and climbing activities in the vicinity of the volcano for safety reasons. Quito could also be affected because of ash fall, and you should expect flight delays at the Mariscal Sucre airport, which could close.

Sangay, located southeast of Riobamba, erupts frequently.

If you are planning to travel near these volcanoes, monitor local news reports, pay careful attention to all warnings issued, avoid restricted areas, follow the advice of local authorities, and be prepared to leave the area or modify your travel arrangements if necessary.

If you suffer from respiratory ailments, consult a physician or travel medicine specialist well in advance to determine associated health risks.