Despite being a small country, Ecuador is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. You may have heard of the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin discovered and studied the famous Galapagos tortoise and iguana. Well, those islands are located right off of Ecuador!
If you’re a huge nature buff and would love to experience what Darwin saw, think about putting this country on your list of “to go” places. Here are 8 Ecuador travel tips you should keep in mind to have a good time.
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1. Get Your Immunizations Ahead of Time
They may be unpleasant, but immunizations can save your life. There are many mosquitos there, and a bite can give you something like malaria, Ziki, or yellow fever.
While no immunizations and vaccines are mandatory, it’s still highly recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to get shots for hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, typhoid, polio, measles, shingles, chickenpox, mumps and rubella, and Tdap. You should even get the flu shot just to be safe.
2. Bring Seasickness Medication with You
If you’re planning on going to the Galapagos Islands, you’ll need to take boats out there. It may seem like common sense for the boats to have seasickness medication on them, but they don’t always. It’s better to be prepared than to get on the boat and have a subpar time because you’re so seasick.
Should you forget to pack seasickness medication with you, don’t worry about it. You can go to any pharmacy while in Ecuador and purchase a medication called “Mareol.”
3. Beware of Scams and Pickpocketing
While it’s relatively safe to travel throughout Ecuador, there are instances of armed robbery. Pickpocketing and mugging are extremely common, so be sure to keep your wits about you when you’re out and about.
Don’t wear anything that’s flashy, as you’re signaling to criminals that you have items worth taking. If you drink alcohol, try not to get too drunk, as it’ll be easier for people to pickpocket and mug you.
One common scam is the “mustard scam.” You might step on a packet of mustard, which then gets your clothes. Some locals will help you clean it off while others steal your belongings.
If the mustard scam happens to you, don’t accept any help cleaning yourself off. In fact, it’s a good rule of thumb to never accept anything offered to you, as there’s potential to get drugged.
4. Dress Modestly
Since Ecuador is tropical, it’s hot and humid, so as a woman, you may be tempted to wear tank tops and mini skirts to wear. But the fact is, there’s a strong machismo culture in the country, so you may go through some uncomfortable situations where you’re catcalled and whistled at.
If you have thick skin and think you can handle it, then, by all means, dress however you want. However, if you think it’d put a damper on your trip, pack some modest clothes, like t-shirts and long skirts instead.
Longer skirts don’t have to mean more suffering from the heat. Materials like linen can provide great coverage without stifling you in your garments.
5. Don’t Drink the Tap Water
Tap water isn’t safe to drink in Ecuador, so take great care to avoid it. Otherwise, you can suffer from some severe gastrointestinal issues. Not only will this put a stop to your activities, but you won’t feel so great either.
Luckily, tap water is very cheap to buy, so stock up at your hotel. If you buy any fresh-squeezed juices, make sure they don’t put any ice in it. Also, request that they make it with bottled water instead of tap.
When you’re in the shower, avoid getting any of the water in your mouth. Even just a little can make you feel ill.
6. Don’t Go Alone to El Panecillo
El Panecillo is a huge landmark every tourist wants to go see. It’s a 45-meter tall monument of Madonna that was commissioned in 1976 by the Oblates.
You might be tempted to save some money by walking alone there, but it’s a dangerous move. There’s a significant amount of robberies on that track.
Either catch a cab from Old Town in Quito or go in a tour group. Remember, there’s always safety in numbers.
7. Get Yourself out of the City
Sure, it may be nice to go with the crowd and visit popular destinations like Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It’s also the largest city, so as you can imagine, there’s bound to be tons of people, both tourists and residents.
While it’s fine to visit big cities where everyone else is, it can be quite relaxing to get out of the city. For instance, consider traveling to Mindo, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It is a cloud forest where you can literally spend days exploring everything it has to offer.
If you want more information about Mindo, this guide offers some great information.
8. Drink Lots of Water
Being on a plane already dehydrates you, so you’re at a disadvantage the moment you step off the plane. In addition, Quito is over 9,000 feet above sea level, which means there’s the real possibility of altitude sickness.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and listen to your body if you don’t feel too great. It’s tempting to cram all the activities you can while on vacation, but if you overdo it, you won’t be able to do anything at all.
Utilize These Ecuador Travel Tips
Now you have some Ecuador travel tips under your belt so you can have the best trip possible. Whether you’ve already booked your tickets or you’re still considering other destinations, at least you have some knowledge of what to do to have a fun and safe time.
If you need more inspiration for vacation destinations, take a look at the travel section of our website.