General Information & F.A.Q.

ECUADOR AND GALAPAGOS ISLANDS


Capital City: Quito
Time difference: -5 hours GMT (Main Land Ecuador)

Surface Area
With its territory of 256.370 Km2 or 98.985 square miles, Ecuador has the biggest biodiversity per area in the world. Ecuador is among the 17 “mega diverse” countries. With 9.2 species per km2, it occupies the first place in the world with regards to species per area.

The richness of this country lies in its DIVERSITY, both natural and cultural.

Ecuador is bordered by Colombia on the north, Ecuador on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. Crossed by the Equatorial Line, which means that it lies in the middle of the world

Population
15.750.000 is the population, approximately 2,700,000 live in the greater Quito area

Language
As part of its rich cultural tradition, Ecuador features many different languages. Although Spanish is commonly spoken across the country, Quechua is still spoken with regional dialects in many parts of Ecuador.

Currency
Ecuador's currency is the US DOLLAR.

Visa, Master Card, American Express and Diners Club, are welcome in Ecuador. However not every establishment accepts all of them. In case of needing cash you may use one of the numerous ATMs located all over the country.

Government
Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected President, for a four year term. The current president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa (2009-2013), exercises his power from the presidential Palacio de Carondelet in Quito. The current constitution was written by the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly elected in 2007, and was approved by referendum in 2008.


Climate
Ecuador is located in the Tropical Zone. The climate throughout the country ranges from tropical equatorial rainy weather to perpetual snow on the top of the mountains due to the influence of the Andean Mountain range in the highlands. Cities in the highlands have temperatures that vary from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while coastal cities’ temperatures vary from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The jungle has constant weather conditions: rainy, humid and warm. The Galapagos Islands are always sunny and warm. Temperature drops a bit during the months of June to November.
    
Religión
Ecuador is predominantly (92.5%) Roman Catholic

Electricity
Current is 110volts

F.A.Q.

Entry requirements

A valid passport is required for the duration of your stay in Ecuador. Your passport will be stamped upon entry and exit. In all cases, the passport must be valid for six months past the end of the date of the visit.

It is only required your valid passport and do not require visa the citizens of the following countries Canada, U.S., E.U., the U.K., Australia, Israel and Japan if traveling to Ecuador for tourism for under 90 days.

Best time to travel

Travelers can visit Ecuador any time of the year. Ecuadorians will often tell you that you can expect four seasons in one day. Although there is a slightly wetter and slightly drier season, these variations are unpredictable and the months vary depending upon where you are in Ecuador.

Quito and the highlands are comfortable year-round, with temperatures usually in the 60s during the day and occasional light showers.
The Amazon regions are hot, humid, and wet year-round with a slightly wetter season from April to June. Even the rains can be a refreshing break from the heat and humidity so any time of year can be a fine choice.
For the Galapagos the warmest months are from December to June. January to March can be hot and humid, but also mostly green at this time. July to November are cooler. The average year-round temperature is 24°C. (76F)

What to pack

Because Ecuador is a country of such diversity, what you bring depends on your travel plans, however here is a suggested list of what you can bring:
Durable and comfortable shoes
Camera: All types of film can be purchased in most major cities.
Fleece sweater and light rain jacket .
Hat to block the sun: The Ecuadorian sun is strong.
Extra pair of eye glasses, contact lenses and medications: Ecuadorian pharmacies sell many of the most common medications without a prescription (including malaria pills).
Miscellaneous: small pocket dictionary, journal, guide book, and a small backpack

Business hours

Most banks are open from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Most commercial business opens from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Stores and other businesses at commercial centers from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Most restaurants open from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  Hotels and some restaurants are open 24 hours.

Communication system

Direct-dial telephone service, facsimile, telex, radio and cable television are all available. Internet cafes are available in most towns and hotels. 

Telephone country code 593
Telephone city code
Quito 2
Guayaquil 4
Cuenca 7
Galapagos 5

Internet country code .ec

Taxes in Ecuador

International airport tax is now included in your air ticket.
Local airport tax is also included in your air ticket.  
In Ecuador, all goods and services are taxed a 12% (IVA)
Restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee
For Galapagos:
Besides the country taxes above mentioned, for Galapagos you have to consider:    

Galapagos entrance fee is US$ 100 per person
INGALA tax is US$ 10 per person


Health, vaccines and Suggestions

While no vaccinations are required for travel in Ecuador, it's a good idea to make sure you are up-to-date on some basic inoculations such as yellow fever, malaria, tettanus.
Some of the most popular tourist areas in Ecuador are at elevations of 10,000 feet or more. It is necessary that you ask your doctor for any treatment related to altitude sickness.
It is not recommended to drink water directly from the tap. It is advisable to drink only bottled or boiled water.
Travellers are strongly advised to take out full health insurance and be prepared to pay up front for medical service.

Tipping

A 10% tip in a restaurant is appropriate which is mainly added to your bill, however if the services was exceptionally satisfactory you can add a 10% more.
Taxi drivers generally do not receive a tip.
If you are satisfied with the service you receive, private drivers, tourist guides, maids and bell boys would be glad to receive a tip.  The amount would be totally up to you. Here are some suggetions:
        Bell boys US$1 per bag
        Guide service US$ 8 per day/per person (mainland)
        Drivers US$ 5 per day/per person
        Galapagos

Typical Food

Ecuadorian Food is incredibly diverse with each region and even some cities with their own specialties.

The primary ingredients found in nearly every Ecuadorian dish are rice, potatoes, chichen, pork, lamb, and fish. Most of these meals include one of the different kinds of "aji",

Among the most popular dishes we can find: ceviche, hornado or fritada, fish in some ways of preparation

Security

In Quito, as in every major city, and other cities within Ecuador, there are some areas more dangerous than others. By taking precautionary measures, it is improbable that visitors should run into any trouble.

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