Ecuador travel tips

Ecuador travel tips

Advice from our friends in Ecuador

Cloud forest tips

Morag Prosser, from our supplier ROW Adventures, shares her Ecuador travel tips for nature lovers:
"The cloud forest is starting to become very popular because itís so close to the city and the airports, but itís another world. For birders, itís heaven on earth. Itís just a couple of hours drive into the most spectacular place Ė birds, butterflies, orchids Ė people do it just because itís easy and cheap, but they come away saying itís one of the best experiences theyíve had."

Cloud forest tips

Roy's Ecuador local tip
David Orrock, from our supplier Pura Aventura, shares his tip on how to make the most of the cloud forest: "One of the great mistakes might make is to go to the cloud forest on a daytrip from Quito. It's only a couple of hours away - however, the whole point is to be there at dusk and dawn because that's when everything's happening. If you get there for lunchtime you'll get birds, of course, but you are missing the best displays. You get the whole atmosphere of night falling in the forest, and at sunrise you can see the bright orange or red cock-of-the rock. At dawn, all the males shout and scream to attract the females with a massive cacophony of noise all round you. You can't do that if you are just on a daytrip."

Hiking tips

James's Ecuador hiking tip
James Garratt, from our supplier Wild Frontiers, shares his Ecuador travel tips for those tackling Cotopaxi: "The Avenue of the Volcanoes, south of Quito, is the perfect place for walkers and hikers. Cotopaxi is the most famous volcano. You have to be physically prepared if youíre doing the ascent and youíll need professional gear to get to the peak, but there are plenty of other, less strenuous options. You can do a daytrip there which just goes to the base camp and doesnít require any hardcore climbing. Or you can just stay in Cotopaxi National Park and take a guided trek or just follow a trail and return to your lodge at the end of the day Ė youíll still make the most of your surroundings."

Accommodation tips

Morag Prosser, from our supplier ROW Adventures:
"One of our favourite haciendas is El Porvenir. They probably have the best mountain bikes in South America. The owner is completely crazy about bikes, and their trails go from complete beginner downhill, to adrenaline addicts. The hacienda has been family-owned for hundreds of years, and itís absolutely beautiful. You can experience the local food there and go out on a horse with the chagras (peasant farmers) and chaps Ė itís just really traditional. Hacienda Zuleta is a favourite too Ė just because itís really how Ecuador used to be. Itís just a piece of perfect history. For families, we love Hacienda Cusin. Itís right by Otavalo market and itís really well set up for families in terms of accommodation."

Health & safety in Ecuador

Travel safely with your kids in Ecuador


  • The vast majority of visits to Ecuador are trouble free, and pickpocketing is the greatest threat. However, there are a number of ways you can avoid problems in Ecuador.

  • Ecuador has several active volcanoes Ė with Tungurahua near BaŮos being one of the most active. Get up to date travel advice before traveling there.

  • Theft is not uncommon in Quito, and unfortunately resistance can lead to violence. Use a money belt, donít leave any valuables or cameras on show and keep rucksacks on your front. Be extremely vigilant on public transport and in bus stations where theft is particularly rife.
  • Stay in the main downtown and Malecůn areas of Guayaquil. The city has been revamped in recent years but many areas remain dangerous thanks to high poverty levels.

  • Don't leave belongings unattended on beaches.

  • Tourism police are employed in the cities Ė do report any crimes as soon as possible.

  • Kidnappings have been reported in areas close to the Colombian border, including Cuyabeno National Park in the Amazon. Currently, travel to the border region is not advised by the FCO.

  • Credit card fraud is increasing in Ecuador. To avoid scams, never let your card out of sight when paying in shops or restaurants, and check your bank statement regularly.
  • It is not safe to walk up the Panecillo hill in Quito; take a tour if you want to visit. Be careful in the cityís parks, and avoid them at night; tourists are targeted by robbers.
  • In Quito and Ibarra, the emergency number is 911. In Guayaquil, Cuenca and Loja, it is 112.


Much of Ecuador is at high altitude Ė including Quito, which is at around 2,800m. As most tourists fly into Quito, this could leave you feeling rough for the first two or three days of your vacation Ė although some consider this a bonus as it prepares your body well for further ascents into the highlands.
Don't attempt high altitude hikes or climbing any of the volcanoes until youíve had several days to acclimatise in Quito. Fitness has little impact on altitude sickness so acclimatisation is the only way to prepare. You should also keep well hydrated and avoid alcohol, which makes the symptoms much worse.
Seasickness is a real possibility during GalŠpagos cruises. December to May tend to bring calmer seas, but youíre still out in the open water Ė so bring medication. Ginger is also widely believed to ease nausea.
Tap water is not safe to drink, but bottled water is readily available and cheap. Ask for juices made with mineral water, and served without ice.
Food is generally of high quality and food poisoning is uncommon. However, if traveling to remote areas itís advisable to bring medication for mild stomach upsets, just in case, as medical facilities will be limited.
Visit your GP at least 6-8 weeks before travel to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations. You may also need antimalarial medication if traveling to the Amazon or coastal rainforests, although the highlands are malaria-free.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the jungle, and use insect repellent. The coastal rainforests and mangroves are far worse than the Amazon for mosquito bites. Mosquito nets should be provided when necessary.
Good healthcare is available in major cities. Ensure your travel insurance covers any adventure activities you may be undertaking (including boat travel and high-altitude hiking) as well as emergency repatriation.

Ecuador tips from our travelers

Recommendations from those who have been there

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Ecuador travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Beware itís a pretty active vacation. But thatís why I went. Lots to do each day, not much lounging around. But to be fair it wasnít over the top - and there was even a 76-year-old grandma on the trip who managed to do everything. So donít be put off. - John Farmer

Take lots of small bills in cash - even $20 bills are hard to change. - Cara Roberts

Worth doing a bit of background reading into Galapagos before traveling (or on the flight!). The guides are brilliant, but there is so much information, it helps to have a bit of prior knowledge! - Richard Mayon-White

Take a little notebook to write down your spottings - I am not a twitcher but you cannot help becoming interested and noting the birds and animals down is infectious as it allows you to learn even more back at the lodge. -Linda Johnstone

It gets cold up in Andes at night. Ensure you have long trousers and a couple of fleeces plus a warm jacket Ė you will need them. Otherwise go with an open mind and just enjoy everything on offer. - Jane Rawson

Even when things went ostensibly "wrong" we ended up by having an even better or more interesting time than expected!!! Traveling in Latin America is always best with an open mind and flexible attitude anyway! - Alison Pelikan

Although the children loved every minute, the equatorial sun was difficult to escape and we had to really keep on top of their hydration. There was a lot of traveling, on road, by boat and plane so it's a good idea for the kids to have books and things to play and make. - Vimty Muir
Written by Vicki Brown
Galapagos land based adventure vacation

Galapagos land based adventure vacation

Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater

From US $3165 10 Days ex flights
Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

Tailor-made land-based activity vacation in Galapagos

From £4240 10 Days ex flights
Galapagos adventure vacation

Galapagos adventure vacation

An active island adventure

From US $3834 10 Days ex flights
Galapagos cruises

Galapagos cruises

Sail in a charming red schooner

From US $2614 8 Days ex flights
Galapagos and Machu Picchu vacation in Ecuador and Peru

Galapagos and Machu Picchu vacation in Ecuador and Peru

Discover Peru's Machu Picchu and the Wildlife-rich Galapagos

From US $4500 16 Days ex flights
Peru and Galapagos vacation

Peru and Galapagos vacation

An inspirational tour combining Peru, Ecuador & the Galapagos

From £4388 15 days ex flights
Ecuador activity vacation

Ecuador activity vacation

Join an active tour of Ecuador

From US $1490 7 Days ex flights
Ecuador ecolodge, Napo Wildlife Center

Ecuador ecolodge, Napo Wildlife Center

A luxurious eco-lodge in wildlife rich Ecuadorean Amazon

From US $1536 4 Days ex flights
Climb Mount Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Climb Mount Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Climb three stunning peaks, included Cayambe Volcano (5790m)

From US $1245 6 Days ex flights
Teach disadvantaged children in Quito, Ecuador

Teach disadvantaged children in Quito, Ecuador

Fantastic teaching project with underprivileged children

From £650 7 Days ex flights
Ecuador & Galapagos Islands vacation

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands vacation

An 11-day journey through the centre of the world

From £1600 11 Days ex flights
Convert currencies