Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, but it is by no means exhaustive and if you question isn’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we would be delighted to help.
Where is Ecuador?
Ecuador is on the western coast of South America and shares a border with Peru to the south and east, and Colombia to the North.
When to visit Ecuador?
As Ecuador is on the equator, it is very much a year round destination and temperatures don’t really change much throughout the year, it also enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year, so you really are fine to visit any of the regions at any time.
Some websites may say that Ecuador has a dry season and a rainy season, but this is no longer the case, weather, like in many parts of the world is very unpredictable. Changes in temperatures in Ecuador are more determined by the altitude you are at, rather than the time of year. There is something of a ‘drier than normal’ season in the Andes between June and August and during this time it is a bit fresher and less humid on the coast. The rainier time of year is between December and May, when typically it is sunny mornings but the chance of rain in the afternoon and cooler temperatures in the highlands, but equally during this time you can have weeks of blue skies with no rain at all. So key thing about the weather is that it is unpredictable.
What are the temperatures in Ecuador?
We have to divide this into 3 sections:
Andes: In Quito, Ecuador’s Capital city nestled at 2800 meters in the Andes early morning and evening, temperatures can dip as low as 9 °C (48°F) and the middle of the day rise as high as 21 °C (70 °F). At higher altitudes the temperature can dip further.
Amazon: In the Amazon daily lows of 16 °C (61 °F) and highs of 27°C (81 °F) but the relative humidity is constantly high here and makes the heat feel more intense than in the Andes.
Pacific Coast: Finally on the coast, typically daily lows of 21 °C (70 °F) and highs of 30 °C (86 °F).
For Galapagos we have a detailed description of month by month weather on the Galapagos page.
How do I get to Ecuador?
There are various airlines from the UK and Europe, but no direct flights to Ecuador from the UK. The most popular routes we use currently are KLM via Amsterdam which allows you to fly from local regional airports, or Avianca, the Colombian airline which has daily flights from Heathrow via Bogota. The other option is Iberia via Madrid and BA via the USA. There are other options via the USA, but we usually recommend guests avoid them if possible due to the need to pass through migration control and check luggage in and out again in the USA even when in transit which carries a slight risk of delays and missed connections. From the USA, there are three main routes to Ecuador either via Miami, New York or Houston.
What Currency do I need to take?
The US Dollar. Ecuador became the first country in the world to get rid of its own currency and adopt the US Dollar as its national currency back in 2000, so the US$ is the only currency you need for both Ecuador and Galapagos.
Do the guides and hoteliers speak English?
All of the Think Galapagos guides are bilingual and speak very good English. All of our handpicked hotels will also have English speaking staff. In some cases where we indicate in your itinerary we will allocate a Spanish speaking driver, which is in many cases much more cost efficient than hiring a bilingual guide for transfers. If you want to learn a few basic Spanish words this always goes down well with the locals. Here are a couple of useful words to start you off!
- Thank-you – Gracias
- Please – Por favour
- Good morning – Buenas Dias
- Good Afternoon – Buenas Tardes
- Good Evening – Buenas Noches
Will I need vaccinations pre-departure?
The Think Galapagos team has lived for many years and travelled extensively across Ecuador and we have been fortunate enough to have never suffered from anything major. However please be aware that you may need to receive a couple of vaccinations before you visit Ecuador.
We are happy to chat through any concerns and answer any questions based on our local knowledge but we would suggest in the first instance that you consult your GP at least 8 weeks prior to your holiday. It is likely your GP will discuss the following with you: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitus A, and Hepatitus B, Maleria and Yellow Fever have all been discovered in Ecuador. But a simple vaccination normally mitigates the risk of catching anything and your GP may recommend anti-malarial medication if you are visiting the Amazon.
Is Ecuador a good destination for families?
Ecuador is a fantastic place to visit with the family. A trip to Ecuador can be fun and very educational for children and their families looking for a holiday with a difference. Kids are very welcome in Ecuador in restaurants, hotels and lodges and the guides both in Ecuador and Galapagos, most of whom are parents themselves always enjoy the chance to guide children.
Ecuador is an adventurous country and if your kids are interested in animals, the outdoors and learning about different cultures, Ecuador is a great place and the great thing about it also is that the distances relative to other places in South America for travel are small, which is an important consideration when travelling with kids. We have travelled extensively in Ecuador with our two boys since they were small babies and would be happy to help give our thoughts on some of the best things that Ecuador has to offer for children.
What is the altitude of the place I am visiting?
Most of our guests start their trip in Quito, which at 2800 meters is quite high, and so we do need to factor in time for you to acclimatise to the altitude. Most people are absolutely fine at altitude, but most also do experience breathlessness during the first few days. You definitely do need to take it easy the first day or so to let your body gradually get used to being at high altitudes. Below is a table of the altitudes of some of the most popular places that we visit:
Place Altitude in metres (m) Altitude in feet (ft) Quito 2850 m 9350 ft Cuenca 2,548m 8358 ft Mindo 1,300m 4265 ft Guayaquil 4 m 13 ft Zuleta 3000m 9844 ft