When traveling to Ecuador you do not need to change dollars to a
different currency. U.S. dollars are the official currency in
Ecuador, but there are different coins. You should take
decent-looking bills although they do not have to be pristine.
It is best to travel with 20s and lower denomination bills because
sometimes it is difficult to get change, especially in the rural
The one time 50s or 100s are easily accepted
is if you are going to the Galapagos and use them to pay your
National Park entrance fee. They charge $100 per person whether you
are there for one day or 30. If you return within a two-year
framework and have kept the receipt they initially issue you,
re-entry is free.
TIPPING AT NAPO:
When visiting the Napo Wildlife Center, you will need to pay your
bar bill with cash or travelers checks. They do not accept credit
cards. As far as tipping goes, we had been told that there was only
a common tip box to worry about; however that is not the case. The
tip box is for the behind the scenes workers and kitchen staff. In
addition, you will need to tip your local guide, your lead boatman
and his assistant. The bar man’s tip is separate as well (10% of
your bar bill is recommended).
TIPPING IN THE
We had been told that the Yacht Fragata would accept
credit cards to pay the bar bill; however, that is not the case.
Their policy is to only accept cash or travelers checks. This
particular yacht gives the occupants of each cabin two envelopes for
tips – one is for the naturalist guide, the other is for the crew.
They stress that tipping is totally voluntary, and whether or not
you tip, they wanted the envelopes returned.
weather was cooler than expected in the Galapagos Islands. We
took our rain/wind jackets but left sweaters and fleece vests in
storage at the hotel in Quito. Several times we would have
been better served to have had a sweater under our jackets.
Don’t be fooled by Ecuador being on the Equator. Most of the
mainland destinations are high in the mountains, and you’ll need
layers and fleece as well as a hat and gloves. Take a look at what
we’re wearing in some of the photos. On the other hand, tropical
heat was in full evidence at Napo.
It is necessary to drink bottled water wherever you travel in
Ecuador. Water was provided in our rooms in all the hotels.
Mercedes made sure that Edwin always had a large bottle in the van
so that we could replenish our smaller ones. Bottles were placed in
our cabins on the Galapagos boat and there was a large cooler in the
dining area where we were free to re-fill the bottles at any time.
We always tried to keep a bottle or two in reserve for emergencies.
traveling in many less developed countries be sure to carry a
“medicine chest” with good supplies of common medicines, such as cold pills, cough
drops and various bandages, as well as extras of prescription drugs.
Finding a pharmacy is not easy outside very large cities.
Information from Jimmy, the wearer of the Relief Band. “I would
recommend ordering the Relief Band Explorer and one extra tube of
conductivity gel. Also good to have on hand, one pair of extra
batteries that people can get from their local stores that sell
"button" batteries (or they can be ordered from the
Before you go, read about altitude sickness and be aware of the
danger signals. If you go to Mount Cotopaxi you will be over 14,000
feet and may feel the effects. Be sure your traveling “medicine
chest” contains lots of Pepto Bismol and Immodium, our similar
medicines. If you do get hit, let your system clear before taking
the Immodium. Drink plenty of water and start eating wisely as soon
as you begin recovering.
Make it clear to
your organizers and driver that you would like regular rest stops
with toilets and ask them to plan accordingly. Suitable ones are few and far
between in Ecuador.