|Ecuador & Galapagos Travel Tips|
|Please, read the following useful tips before traveling to Ecuador.|
| South American Explorers|
|The S.A.E is staffed by volunteers and is nonprofit run, giving excellent information and services on the country as well as offering various work programs for the various volunteers who come from all walks of life. S. A. E., also has an extensive library, equipment, maps and a system for holding mails, emails and fax facilities for members. Address: Jorge Washington 311 and Leonidas Plaza. Tel & Fax: 2225228,
| Tourist information |
|Tourist promotions and information is controlled through national level by the Ministerio de Turismo (Ministry of Tourism) at Eloy Alfaro 1214 and Carlos Tobar, Quito. Tel. 2500719, 2507555 and 2507560. Fax: 2507564 / 2507565.|
The Instituto Geográfico Militar in Quito has several topographic maps of the country with the following scale formats : 1:250,000, 1:100,000, 1:50,000 and 1:25,000. The latter two scales are used for trekking whilst Maps of the
border areas and coastline and surrounding areas are highly classified, and aren't purchasable without a military permit.
Cámara Provincial de Turismo de Pichincha (CAPTUR), is located at information booths in the main Quito airport as well as the old city and new city. The administrative offices are sighted at 6 de Diciembre 1424 and Carrión. Tel. 2224074, Fax: 2507682. In addition if you wish to investigate out of the country of Ecuador, tourist information can often be realized from the Ecuadorian embassies and consulates.
Business Travelers information.- This can be procured from Trade Partners UK, a government network. Contact Pippa Lodge. Tel. 020-72154715. Fax: 78288141. In addition the Ecuadorian News Digest is published by the Ecuadorian American
Association, 150 Nassau St, New York, NY 10038.
| Entry Requirements|
|Ecuador as with all countries, needs valid passports from all people entering the country and proof of return tickets to the traveler's home country or another country after Ecuador, you may get away with a single ticket, the risk is yours. In addition the travelers from the following countries will need a consular visa to enter Ecuador as Tourists stated in alphabetical order: Algeria, Bangladesh, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan,
North and South Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Vietnam and Yemen.|
Upon entering it is mandatory for visitors to complete an international embarkation/disembarkation card, it is then stamped with your passport. Do keep this card in your passport, losing it can make problems when exiting the country along with spot checks on buses, clubs, restaurants or in the streets.
|Once you've cleared immigration at the main airports or entered via
road and past checkpoints you will be inspected by the customs officials although unless you're bringing in several items of the same thing to sell out here few tourists are ever troubled or have any problems in this area although weaponry is not permitted.|
Importing goods to Ecuador is expensive with high taxation levels so, you are recommended to bring all you need for the trip in your luggage. When leaving the country you may be searched and inspected by security including drug checks carried out often by well trained dogs. There are no taxes for souvenirs and gifts but do not attempt without permits to exit with plants, animals or archaeological
| Spot checks |
|Spot checks with travelers passports are verified near the main frontier areas of Peru and Colombia as well as at police checkpoints on main routes of the country. The other main checks can be made in discos, bars and coastal holiday resorts that have high frequencies of foreigners. Street checks are rare and could be fakes just wanting money if you don't have your passport or a photocopy, they will nearly always be in uniform with police numbered codes or badges so, if you are asked by non-uniformed officials ask
for their ID and ask them to escort you to a nearby police building, if they refuse you'll know immediately they are criminals and bandids and so don't give them any documents.|
|Normally you will be stamped upon entry to the country with 60 or 90 day visa passes, but do tell the official the number of days or write it down if you don't speak Spanish before they stamp your passport, for extension up to 180 days see below. To learn more about visas, see our Immigration
& Visas section.|
| Tourist Visa Extensions|
|If you stay over for example 60 days a small fee is charged for extensions up to 90 days. You can visit or inquire for your extensions depending where you are staying at the following offices: |
In Quito go to Jefatura Provincial de Migración de Pichincha. Address: Isla Seymour 44-174 and Rio Coca. Tel. 2247510. In Guayaquil, visit the Jefatura Provincial de Migración del Guayas. Address: Av. Río Daule
(by the Terminal Terrestre). Tel. 2297004. In Cuenca go to the Jefatura Provincial de Migración del Azuay, Address: Luis Cordero 662 between Presidente Córdova and Juan Jaramillo. Tel. 2831020.
If you are in the Galápagos islands visit Puerto Baquerizo Moreno at the Jefatura Provincial de Migración de Galápagos. Tel. 2520129.
To receive extensions over 90 days, you must initially be approved for a 90 day stay (either on first arrival or as above with an initial extension), then you need to go to the immigration police headquarters in Quito: Dirección Nacional de Migración, Address: Amazonas 171 and República (Opposite Mall "El Jardin"). Telephone numbers: 2454122 - 2451222 - 2449346 - 2437800.
All above immigration officials operate the same hours Monday to Friday 0:800-12:00 and 15:00-18:00. Processing time of your visas can
be done sometimes inside a day although it is best to allow a week in case of holdups or overcrowding of requests.
|Warning: Technically you should carry your passport with you wherever you go, if you adventure to carry only a copy, you can always carry your hotel address and room number with you and ask to be escorted to the hotel and explain that you're nervous of robbers stealing the original, it may be wiser due to Ecuadorian law to carry it hidden anywhere, as deportation and imprisonment could result
if you get the wrong officer or were heavily intoxicated and appear irresponsible your original passport could be required to get you off the hook.|
If you don't want to carry your passport by any means, then get at least a certified photocopy from your embassy (See our embassies section) that may be acceptable to the local police. If you ever lose your passport, report it immediately to your embassy or consulate and follow the local procedures, which are provided by your embassy.
| Airport Departure Tax|
US$25.00 departure tax is requested upon exiting the country while tickets for external or local national flights are subject to a 12% tax, the exception to the former cash requirement is when a traveler is staying less than a day in the country with onward flights.|
| Permission to Leave|
|If you have your entry or exit card along with your passport you may leave the country anytime without problems as long as it's inside the time frame of your visa however, if you are over your allotted time period you must get a stamp on your passport (Salida)
before departing via either Quito's Jefatura Provincial de Migración de Pichincha, at Isla Seymour 44-174 and Rio Coca. Tel. 2247510, or if in Guayaquil go to the Jefatura Provincial de Migración del Guayas, at Av. Río Daule (by the Terminal Terrestre). Tel. 2297004. These formalities are usually managed by a tour agency without any problem, but you have to pay a small fee.|
|Although legally you are not required to have any specific health vaccinations
before entering the country do study the Health section thoroughly in the website before departing to Ecuador.|
| Traveling responsibly|
|Do respect the local culture and etiquette whilst in Ecuador also shown in this Website, especially taking photographs of indigenous groups as well as video recordings (ask always permission first), also try to stay in local hotels as the costs are often lower although style and non-backpackers along with older generations may enjoy greater facilities with the larger chains, the more
rustic locations may offer more cultural education, all tastes, budgets are of course catered for in Ecuador. While in the streets, never give money to children (give them sweets, or pencils).|
|Whilst North American travelers may enjoy the same voltage and alternating currents as their homelands USA 110 volts 60 cycles (Hertz)
AC. Europeans must bring adapters for their appliances.|
| Dangerous areas|
|Generally the larger cities, Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca as with all big cities and capitals around the globe are likely to be more dangerous in certain areas than the countryside, while certain border areas close to Colombia due to the Guerrilla which is under scrutiny from the United States military based in Manta can cause tensions and some danger from time to time. During carnival and festivities some people do go over the top with over drinking
and so, do be careful near and during these times.|
|At airports a tip of US$ 0.50 is adequate for porters helping you with your luggage while in hotels and restaurants, a 10% service charge usually is sufficient already for tips, if you wish to give another tip in relation to good service a further 5-10% is discretionary. If you have a car and park it for an hour or so there are boys and men who will take up a look out position on most streets and they warrant between US$0.25-$0.30 cents
again at your discretion.|
| Taxi tips|
|Be aware that in the main city's airports such as Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca, taxi drivers usually speculate on prices. Remember that the minimum ride costs US $1. Especially in Quito Taxi drivers "must" use taximeters, if they don't have it on, it is because they are planning to charge you more than the average rate and speculate. If you don't mind paying more
than the established rates, arrange a price previously.|
|Ecuador is a fairly safe country to travel. The normal rules of large city applies everywhere and so Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca the country's most highly populated areas should be respected for tidy safety precautions and some ideas for care and attention have been summarized below.|
1.All important documents should have carbon copies made of them and if possible scanned onto e-mail accounts with non-accessible mailing systems such as top secret hush mail as well as Yahoo,
Crosswinds, Gmx, or Hotmail for access in Ecuador for back up copies that can easily be reprinted while in the country.
2.Do ensure your major documents including airline onward tickets, credit cards and passport are not all kept in one place as well as your cash because the worst thing that could happen is that you lose all resources in one fell swoop. Credit cards, money wires and travelers checks are still the safest way to travel.
3.Don't always go for the cheapest hotels usually in more dangerous areas or around bus stations and wherever possible take a taxi home after darkness unless you're close and in an area well lit. Beware of anyone becoming very friendly rapidly or offers services and guided tours, be direct and firm.
4. For backpackers do ensure your equipment is lockable as well as ladies with shoulder bags should carry them in front and not behind them.
Travelers should not expose cameras or expensive jewelry including watches, as they may become a studied target and prey for an odd robber.
6. Do not ever carry any type of drugs with you including Marihuana because even a small piece will make the police authorities think that you are involved in the trafficking of drugs and you'll be placed under arrest and sent to prison for several years while the trials can often take up to a year to come to fruition.
In addition try to avoid dubious areas such as bars or discos where you either see or acknowledge these types of practices and if checked in these places get a witness to be present while you're searched so that no one can plant anything on you.
7. Many thieves use accomplices who act as decoys distracting your attention while his partner gets your valuables or pickpockets
something from you so do be always conscious of these practices.
8. Check with your hotel, other tourists and information kiosks for the dangerous areas and keep away from them.
9. It is wise to travel by day as more road hold ups by robbers occurs at night including buses with both intercity and longer journeys such as from Quito to Guayaquil so, do try to travel during daytime.
10.Don't go into parks after darkness or areas with no people and if you do suffer or come up against a dangerous situation hand over your valuables in case of being attacked by withholding your items.
11.Be careful in crowded areas, markets, night life areas and buses where pickpockets and bag snatchers can thrive usually in
the main cities.
| Final tip|
|In summary, Ecuador is one of the safest and friendliest countries you could ever wish to visit and often go to great lengths with affection to make you most welcome whilst visiting their beautiful country. If you do get robbed don't try to attack your robber because if he has a gun, knife or any other dangerous weapon the consequences will far outrun the loss of a few items, by taking necessary precautions and observing all around you most robberies
can be cut to a minimum.|
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