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Books:
Ecuador books
Galapagos books

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At the bottom of each page is a search box that you can use to find specific items.

Sightseeing:
In Quito
Local Trips
Northern Andes
Papallacta
Baños
Southern Andes
Cuenca
Oriente
Pacific Coast
Manabí
Galapagos

Other headings:
Travel -getting to Ecuador and around in the country.
Sightseeing -places to visit in Ecxuador.
Activities -things to do from mountain biking to Spanish classes
Accommodation -places to stay in Ecuador from simple hostels to beautiful haciendas.
Restaurants -also sports, theatre and shopping
 
My-Quito.com : useful information

Ecuador Websites

We have reviewed and categorised many hundreds of Quito and Ecuador weblinks in this site -everything from trekking to hostels -you can navigate around by following the coloured subject headings at the top of each page and the sub-headings on the left. Go to our home page for a full list of pages in this site.


Geography

Some Ecuador facts:
 
Ecuador straddles the equator on the west coast of South America. There are three distinct geographic regions on the mainland, the dense jungle of the Oriente, the high Andes and the coastal lowlands, plus the Galapagos Islands out in the Pacific.
 
Population: around 13 million inhabitants, mestizo 40%, Indian 40%, white 15%, black 5%.
Area: 270.000 square km.
 
Map of Ecuador -basic map of the mainland with major cities -opens in a new window.
 
List of Provinces in Ecuador:
Azuay Bolivar Canar Carchi
Chimborazo Cotopaxi El Oro Esmeraldas
Galapagos Guayas Imbabura Loja
Los Rios Manabi Morona-Santiago Napo
Orellana Pastaza Pichincha Sucumbios
Tungurahua Zamora-Chinchipe



Money:

IMG_0224.JPGThe currency is the dollar, but you will get local coins in your change. Take small denomination notes -there is a shortage of small change and you will not be popular if you try to present $50 dollar bills everywhere. You can easily use credit cards in the towns and cities, but do not rely on this in rural areas. Travellers cheques can be difficult and time consuming to cash so make arrangements in the big cities. In fact allow good time when changing money and take particular care when leaving banks with large amounts of cash. The easiest way is to use ATM machines at Quito banks, but there is generally a daily limt of $100 or $200.
Prices are on the whole lower than the United States and Europe, but it is aso possible to find luxury goods at international prices. Bargaining is expected in markets but not at shops. Hotel and restaurant bills are subject to a 22% tax/service surcharge -ask when booking your room whether these are included in the price given.

Tipping -for restaurants a tip of 5-10% is appropriate for waiters (although I must admit to resenting giving this if 10% has been added to the bill for 'service'). Hotel porters might get up to 50c per bag and you should give 25c to parking attendants and guards who look after your car (most streets in the centre of town have such guards -they will make themselves known by blowing their whistle and help you by motioning or waving a flag while you park your car). Taxi drivers don't expect tips, although somehow rarely seem to have the right change.


Security:

Take particular care of your money and vauables -Ecuador is largely a safe environment but there are varying degrees of wealth, and what you regard as small change might be a small fortune to someone else. In particular look after your belongings in popular public spaces where pickpockets may operate, and do not leave valuables around in your hotel -use the safe provided. Take taxis after dark, even if you are going only a few blocks. If you decide to travel in a remote area, I suggest you let someone know where you intend to go and when you plan to return.

Emergency phone numbers:

General emergencies: 111
Ambulance: 131
Fire: 102
Police: 101
 
Hospitals
Hospital Metropolitano (Av. Mariana de Jesús at Av. Occidental, Quito, Ecuador. PHONE: 02/243-1457), west of the city.
Hospital Voz Andes (Calle Juan Villalengue 267, at Av. 10 de Agosto, Quito, Ecuador. Phone: 02/224-1540) .
Pharmacies: try Farmacia Americana or Fybeca.

Electricity

The electric current used is 110 volts. Plugs are two pronged but the type is changing to a type where the prongs are different. The supply is much more reliable than it used to be but there can be occasional outages.

Telephones:

There are cabins offering telephone services in the towns and cities and it is normally fairly straightforward to make international calls -ask at the desk and they will direct you to a cabin. You pay on exit for the time you have used. Calls from hotels can be expensive.
 
To call Quito from abroad use the international dialling code followed by 5932 and the number of the person you are calling.

Internet:

Internet cafés are now commonplace in the towns and cities, and fairly cheap too. They are the fastest and most effective way to correspond with your home. If you plan to do bank transactions over the internet, I suggest you make sure you are confident of security at your location.

Post:

Post offices in Ecuador are open normal working hours, ie 9.00-5.00 on weekdays. It will take a couple of weeks for mail to get to North America, Europe or Asia. Security is not that great on sending mail to Ecuador, so if you are sending something valuable, I suggest you use recorded delivery or send by DHL (República Dominicana 433).
 
Quito's main Post Office can be found at Av. Eloy Alfaro 354, and Av. 9 de Octubre. There are a number others and you can usually send mail from your hotel too.

Health:

Food and drink: In the cities food is generally ok in the more upmarket restaurants. Indeed in the big Quito supermarkets you can buy food as good as anywhere. In rural areas I would suggest using bottled water rather than tapwater -ask for it without ice (sin hielo). You should also use bottled water for brushing your teeth in budget hotels. Avoid by food from street vendors, especially meat dishes or prepared fruit and vegetables.
 
Altitude sickness: do get acclimatised before you do any strenuous activity at altitude. This applies just as much to the young and fit, as the old -altitude sickness is very unpleasant and can be dangerous. If you do suffer, stop and rest or better still get someone to drive you to a lower altitude. Rember too that the sun can be unexpectedly fierce on the equator and at altitude.
 
Travelling around the Galapagos by boat can be difficult if you suffer from sea-sickness.
 
Diseases and other illnesses: In the jungle and tropical coasts there is a risk of malaria. Speak to your doctor before travelling and bring any necessary medicines with you.
 
Remember to let someone know if you are going somewhere even halfway remote, -even something as minor as a sprained ankle can result in a long wait until help passes. Do not rely on a mobile phone -the reception cannot be guaranteed in mountainous areas.
 
More information from
Centers for Disease Control, U.S.A.
Fit For Travel -detailed health advice regarding specific countries provided by the Scottish Center for Infection and Environmental Health.
World Health Organization www.who.int/ith/
Royal Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene -
Travel Pharm -malaria risk areas and preventative measures.

Visas and Embassies:

I suggest you check any visa requirements with the Ecuadorian Consulate in you own country. You wil be given an immigration form and customs form to complete on entry -you should retain the .with your passport until you leave. Do not forget that there is an exit tax, to be paid in (at last count was just over $40 per person). If you are travelling to the Galapagos Islands, then there is a $100 Island Tax.

Embassy of Ecuador to the United States -located in Washington -give official information on visiting the country.

British Embassy in Quito -Naciones Unidas Ave. and Republica de El Salvador.
Canadian Embassy in Quito -Av. 6 de Diciembre 2816 y Paul Rivet.
Royal Netherlands Embassy in Quito - Av. 12 de Octubre 1942 y Cordero
French Embassy in Quito -Calle General Leonidas Plaza 107y Patria
German Embassy in Ecuador -Avenida Naciones Unidas y Republica de El Salvador.
Italian Embassy in Ecuador -Calle La Isla 111 y Humberto Albornoz.
US Embassy in Quito -located at Av. Patria y Av. 12 de Octubre (near El Ejido)
Click here for other Embassies and Consulates.

Holidays in Ecuador:

Jan 1st: New Year
Jan 6th: Día de Reyes y Día de los Inocentes
Feb 27th: Día del Civismo
February or March: Carnaval (lunes y martes antes de la Cuaresma)
March: Semana Santa (jueves, viernes, sábado y domingo)
May 1st: Labour Day
May 24th: Battle of Pichincha/Day of Independence
June: Corpus Christi
August 10th: Primer Grito de la Independencia
Octobre 9th: Independence of Guayaquil
October 12th: Discovery of América
November 1st: All Saints Day
November 2nd: Day of the Dead
November 3rd: Independence of Cuenca
December 6th: Foundation of Quito
December 25th: Christmas

Useful information:

Here are a few government and other miscellaneous sites giving good background information on the country:
BBC -Country profile of Ecuador.
CIA World Factbook Ecuador -extensive background information on the country.
City of Quito -the official site of the Municipio.
Ministerio del Ambiente -ministry dealing with environmental issues.
Ministerio de Relaciones Exterior -Foreign Ministry (Spanish).
Vive Ecuador -travel information from the Ministry of Tourism.
Ecuadorial -the travel experts guide to Ecuador -writers Dominic Hamilton, Julian Smith, Ron Mader and Carla D'Nan Bass
Exploring Ecuador.com-Ecuador Galapagos Islands Guide -plan your stay, find ecuador travel information, tours, tour operators, hotels ans lodging all over ecuador and the galapagos, national parks, maps, jobs and volunteer opportunities, spanish school.
GoEcuador.com -travel and general information about Ecuador and Galapagos Islands and operates South America's only EarthCam -find hotels, tours, restaurants, handicraft stores in Ecuador and also read their travel magazine Insid Ecuador.
National Geophysics Institute -loads of information on the geology and volcanos of Ecuador.
Volcano World -images and facts on the volcanos of Ecuador
Travel for Kids -fun to do things for young people in Ecuador.

Maps:

Codeso -this site has a whole variety of maps -Ecuador's Provinces, national parks, touristic maps, city street maps and detailed maps of each province.
Ecuador -good map with major towns, roads and rivers from the University of Texas.
Ecuador -good Cartographic map in pdf format from the UN.

Forums:

South American Explorers -Ecuador bulletin board from the Quito office of SAE. Seems to be stuck so that new posts cannot be made. See also the old SAE Bulletin Board.
Frommers -their travel forum has a specific section on Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Rough Guides -not so much a discussion forum, but rather a collection of travel journals from readers.
Thorn Tree -Ecuador branch of the tree -from Lonely Planet.
Tripadvisor -discussion forum specifically related to topics on Quito.

Images

My-Quito Image Bank -some of our own photos.
Andrew Stevenson -the website of the travel writer, with some good images of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
Bernard Wolf -really beautiful black and white photos of the indians of Otavalo and the Saturday morning market.
Ecuador images -beautiful photos on all aspects of Ecuador by Erich Lehenbauer.
Ecuador 365 -excellent image library, well organised by subject area.
etravelphotos.com -travel photos by Tona Costa -mostly of Galapagos.
Galen Frysinger -photos from a retired scientist who travels the world.
Paisverde -photos by Gabriel Eguiguren Peñarreta, an Ecuadorian from Loja.
Stockpix -stock photographs on Ecuador.

Language

The official languages are Spanish and Quechua, which is spoken by indigenous peoples in the highlands. There are apparently a total of 23 languages altogether spoken in the country -see the Ethnologue website. English is widely spoken in touristic areas but less so in rural parts. Ecuador offers excellent opportunities for the visitor to undertake an intensive Spanish course at the beginning of your South American tour.
Ethnologue -information on the languages of Ecuador.
Learn spanish -learn Spanish or Quechua in Quito -our listing of spanish schools.

Ecuadorean newspapers

El Comercio
Hoy
El Universo
Google News -the latest on Ecuador.

Weather:

El Niño -National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration explanation of the phenomenon.

Travel Advice

UK Foreign and Commonwealth office -up to date travel advice on Ecuador from the British Government.
US Department of State -tips for travellers to Ecuador.
 

Further information

South American Explorers-general information, meeting place and bulletin boards for travel in South America. The Quito clubhouse is a useful place for meeting people and getting information when in Quito.
Latin American Travel Association (LATA) -trade association of tourist boards, tour operators, hotels, wholesalers, media, airlines and overseas members dedicated to promoting tourism in Latin America.
Transport -our own pages of travel information -flights, car hire, buses, trains and Galapagos cruises.
Places in Ecuador:
Quito
Near Quito -Otavalo, Mindo, Cotopaxi
Northern Andes -Tungurahua
Papallacta
Baños
Southern Andes -Cañar and Azuay
Cuenca
Oriente
Pacific Coast -Guayas, Manabi, Esmeraldas and El Oro
Manabí
Galapagos
 

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Featured book/maps:

Colombia and Ecuador Nelles Map
Nelles Maps
Aug 2007
Price in UK pounds
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Ecuador and Galapagos (Travellers)
Nicki Grihault Paperback
Sep 2008
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The Rough Guide to Ecuador - Edition 3
Harry Ades and Melissa Graham
Paperback - 25 Jan 2007
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Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador (Tread Your Own Path)
Ben Box, Robert Kunstaetter, Daisy Kunstaetter, and Geoff Groesbeck
Paperback
Nov 2007
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in association with
 
click here for more books on Ecuador
Bulletin Boards:
If you wish to post a message about Ecuador, or other countries in South America, then you can easily post messages on the board at South American Explorers.