For a country about the size of Colorado in the US it is a vast and biodiverse paradise of sight & senses. From the sierras you can easily get on a bus in the morning and be on the pacific coast that afternoon or in the Amazon basin...provided of course the bus doesn't break down or the road is not blocked by a landslide or something.


  • Ecuador uses the US dollar as currency
  • The "national" beer is Pilsner, now I didn't say that was a pilsner beer, I just said the name of the beer is Pilsner. Anyway it is good and it is cold, usually, and prices for the large bottle ranges from $1-$2, a bargain.
  • Laundry can easily be washed & dried for around $1 a kilo (2.2lbs)...when I say dried I mean the range may be from a tad damp to fully dry, it just depends.
  • The definition of "hot" water is subjective and changes from person to person and place to place. The range of hot, as in hot showers, runs the gamut from cold/non existent/freezing (my wife uses that word sometimes) to tepid to actually hot. So keep that in mind and you'll be just surprises.
  • If you like dogs/animals as we do, then bite your lip and understand that in Ecuador and much of Latin America animals are not thought of the same as we do in the states. It is sometimes very heartbreaking to see dogs/animals treated badly, but you can't change the world and you must accept the fact that you are no longer in Kansas. Hug your dogs/pets before you leave and hug them even more when you get back.
  • Busses are the lifeline and go just about everywhere. Figure about $1 an hour for the bus, so if you go from Quito to Banos the cost for the five hour trip will be about $5.
  • Taxis are more expensive yet way, way, way less expensive than any taxi you will ever find in the states. They are handy in the cities and can cut your time down compared to the busses. For example three of us in one cab from the airport in Quito to our hostal thirty minutes away cost $5.
  • Camionetas (pickup trucks) are a great fun & cheap way to ride out in the campo. Nothing like riding in the back of a pickup with the air blowing all over you...and your doing it in Ecuador!
  • Ok, so your on the equator and that means HOT all the time right? Nope, it's all to do with elevation, so do your homework and pack clothing for all types of climates based on the areas and altitudes you will be at.
  • Vaccinations...just get them now and be done with it. Tetanus (DPT), Hep. A, Hep. B, Typhoid & Yellow Fever (especially if you will be in Amazonia). We got them all and will consider a rabies vaccination for the near future. One other thing, get a yearly flu shot and be protected from the flu also. Makes sense and why chance screwing up your trip for a bout of the flu.
  • Food...use common sense...we have yet to have any food or water borne illnesses from anything we have eaten/drank in Ecuador. We drink bottled water alough Roger stopped doing that years ago, but he is used to it by now. We also have a steri-pen that can be used to purify the water if needed. We don't eat much leafy stuff like lettuce however sometimes things just slip by. We eat any fruit we can peel, and the fruits are phenomenal in Ecuador. Meat is typically cooked through, unlike in the US where is is still bleeding on the plate when it is served. This is a good practice as some meats sit out all day long. So cooking it is fine and we have no problem eating it. Milk in the campo may be as fresh as that cow is close, so be warned. Again we have drank the fresh milk in both coffee and cereals with no problems. Common sense, just remember that...
  • As in most of Latin America used toilet paper goes in that little trash can that seems to always be next to the commode. So don't flush it as you can easily wreak havoc with the toilet, wad it up and drop it in the trash can. Remember...not in Kansas anymore.
  • Driving...hahaha...just hold on tight & enjoy the ride because there are no rules...I'll just leave it at that.

A few tips to keep in mind:

TIP #1: On cell phones. This trip I did one of the smartest things I have done on one of our many trips to Ecuador...I bought a cell phone. Didn't rent one, nor pay a us company outrageous prices to have mine (maybe) work down here. I walked into a cell phone store in Quito and plopped down $50 for a brand new pay as you go cell phone, which included $20 worth of minutes. The government has enacted a policy that everyone with this type phone service must give their "cedulla" number (individual ID number)  or it wont work. Well each person can apparently use it on 15 phones, so the cell stores are only too happy to program in someone else's cedulla (then write down the pertinent info for you, in case you need it again) and you and your phone are on your way. I can make calls/txt all over Ecuador as well as to the states. It is peace of mind and we will have it with us on future trips here. Just load saldos as needed, takes about a minute...or less.


TIP #2: In the us you find paper money in pristine to utterly shit conditions. Taped together or 3/4 torn's all good greenbacks. Well here they tend to freak out when a bill has the smallest tear, even if you need a magnifying glass to see it. So was the case when I bought 3 bottles of beer and handed the woman a five spot. The bill had a virtually unnoticeable tear at the middle bottom from many folds (big whoop). Well she went on about it and said it was no good and it was a problem. I told her the bank in the us gave it to me and it was good, she said not here, then I said I can rip one in half and tape it together and it would be hunky dory with the bank. She looked at me astonished and gave me my two bucks in change. We chatted some more and I said that what she was telling me was just loco.


The government and the banks all know the money is good crumpled, torn or ripped. Why they try and bullshit the public otherwise is beyond me.


So try and be cognizant of this, save yourself some unneeded hassle and don't hand out a torn bill. However if that is all you have, hand it to them and stand your ground.


NOTE: Two weeks into this particular trip I lost my cell phone while in a taxi. We were on the way to Quito to catch a flight to Manta on the coast. My wife and I both heard something go "clunk" but thought nothing if it. Turns out it was our cell phone sliding out of my pocket into the taxi driver's cab floor. We bought another for $45 in puerto lopez, using the same cedula info as before, and were back in communication that afternoon. We had both our buddy roger as well as the hostal mgr call the old/ lost number to see if we could get it back (dropped off at the hostal in Quito, where we would be back at in several days), but to no avail. Seems that lost cell phones have value on the black market. The old sim card is removed and the phone resold. Oh well, a learning lesson...keep phone in a zippered pocket or well secured place.


A word about stomach bugs:

About a week into this, our fifth trip to Ecuador, and close to a dozen, or maybe more, trips to South America and Mexico, Lori got a stomach bug. Call it what you will it brought on stomach cramps and many trips to the bathroom. Who knows how she got it as we both ate and drank the same, from street food to hostel food. I was fine but she got a bug in her gut. We started to treat it with Imodium and that initially helped stop or greatly slow down the bathroom visits. However after two days it was evident it was more than what Imodium alone could do. Luckily there was little nausea and no vomiting  just a general "feeling like crap" feeling. In Ecuador you can get meds, that in the US you typically need a doctor's prescription for, over the counter...this was very handy. I went to a farmacia and got a week's worth of cipro (500mg) and she took this twice a day along with a probiotic (taken a few hrs later). In a couple of days she was basically back to her old (er...young) self. How did I determine what to give her? Our friend Mike who up until about a week prior had been traveling with us had this same med with him, prescribed by his doctor in case he got the same thing as Lori now had. So I asked the guy at the farmacia for it as well. The probiotics were also recommended by the man and I thought it was a good idea to include them. From now on we will include a course of Cipro in our first aid kit. Take this narrative only as how we dealt with this issue. How you decide to tackle any stomach bugs or illnesses while you travel is up to you. You should consider discussing any potential medical issues and their remedies with your family doctor prior to your trip.


Our backpacks do contain our basic first aid kits, however in addition to that we also carry these items:
epi-pen for any allergic reactions, aspirin, anti diarrhea med (Imodium), antibiotics for skin infections, Pepcid for acid reflux/acid indigestion, anti nausea/anti vomiting med, triple antibiotic for cuts/scrapes and plenty of hand sanitizer gel. Plus as mentioned above...a round of cipro for stomach type bacterial issues will now be included.


From time to time when you travel, inevitable you will pick up something that does not agree with you. Hopefully it is something slight and passes quickly. Common sense about the sanitary conditions of the local food/water and FREQUENTLY using hand sanitizer can cut down the probability of this happening to you. But you should still try and be prepared just in case.