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Useful general information for travel to Ecuador

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Quito's main square

$$ CURRENCY    The official transactions currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar.

LANGUAGE    Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country. In some rural Andean villages one can hear people speaking Quechua, the native Indian language.
English is spoken by many people, and in particular in hotels, tourists-catering places and services, and the best restaurants and shops. All tourist tours and programs are offered in English.  There are plenty of tourist services offered in other languages, but those usually have to be specially requested.

WEATHER    Located on the Equator, Ecuador does not have seasons, and the day lasts for 12 hours all year round.  In Quito, and the rest of the Andean highlands, the weather tends to be cool, though it varies significantly in a single 24 hour period. Temperature may rise to 24°C ( 75°F) at noon, and drop to 10°C (50°F) or less at night.
Coast, and the Amazon jungle region have tropical weather with temperatures averaging about 27°C (80°F), with occasional highs around 35°C (95°F) and lows of 20°C (68°F).  The Galapagos Islands experience temperatures ranging from 18°C (65°F) to 32°C (90°F).  The rainy season extends from October through May, and one might expect scattered heavy rains alternating with periods of strong sunshine. June through September are generally dry and with good weather, except in the Galapagos where August and September tend to be cool, windy and cloudy.

DRESS    Quito and a good part of the country have relatively cool weather (see above), and a good rule of thumb is that one needs to dress as one would for a mid-spring afternoon in New York or Paris.  A visitor attending social events or going out to good restaurants and stores feels better in semi-formal street attire.
For the Galapagos Islands, shorts and T-shirts with good comfortable shoes to walk on the paths and over rocks are recommended.
In the Amazon jungle region it's essential to wear comfortable clothes, preferably cotton or silk garments, with long sleeves and regular pants to protect the skin. Clothes and shoes should be expected to get wet.

FOOD AND DRINK    Ecuadorian cuisine has a special and enchanting flavor, though not spicy.  Specialties include shrimp and shellfish dishes, a variety of meats, very fresh and tasty vegetables and tropical fruits.  One should be aware, however, that the best national cuisine is found at Ecuadorian homes and some selected restaurants.
In the larger cities there are many very good French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants.  Less common, but not less inviting, are some good Japanese and Lebanese locals.  At the same time, there are countless McDonald's, KFC's, pizza places, and the like.  Tourists may be tempted to try delicious street corner delicacies though they run the risk of remaining in bed the next few days...
The larger cities have certified potable water.  However, due to environmental and immunological differences, tourists are strongly advised to drink bottled water and to refrain from accepting ice, except at hotels and good restaurants.

VISAS: Citizens of most countries can stay a maximum of 90 days without a visa.

HEALTH RISKS: Dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, and a minor risk of cholera, rabies and diphtheria. Get a yellow fever vaccination if you plan to visit the rainforests of the Amazon Jungle.

RELIGIOUS SERVICES    Ecuador is a largely Catholic country, and in every town and village one can find a Church with regular services.  However, many other denominations are present with worship sites in the major cities.

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Travel in Ecuador

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