USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE TRIP :

We can organize these advices into five categories :

>> EQUIPMENT
>> FINANCES

>> TRIP
>> HEALTH
>> SOUVENIRS

 


EQUIPMENT :

 
 

Luggage :
A rucksack is the best for trek. We can also take a bag for the excursions and leave the other luggage at the hotel.
Clothes :

For excursions in the mountain : even if the country is on the Equator line, Quito is located 2800m above sea level, the Cotopaxi reaches its peak at 5897m and the Chimborazo at 6310m, consequently, warmer clothes are necessary such as bivouac clothes. On the contrary, you need light clothes for the Galapagos Islands.
Shoes :
Take mountain boots with woollen socks are necessaries for excursions. We also advise you to take crampons when there is snow or ice. You can rent these shoes at a low price or buy them in Quito. Gumboots are necessary for the forest, you also need tennis shoes and flip-flops for the rest of the country and for the Galapagos Islands.
Accessories :
You need a cap or a hat and sunglasses.
Photo and video :
For Ecuador, the photography gear depends on your passion for photos or video but for the Galapagos Islands, you can take a good telephoto lens or a camera. The flora and fauna are very diversified.


FINANCES :


Cost of Living :
Except for the Galapagos islands, the cost of living in Ecuador is cheaper than in the other countries of Latin America. However prices for Ecuadorians and for travellers are different. For example, for the entrance into national parks or for some domestic flights.
Currency :
The currency of Ecuador is the US dollar.
Traveller cheques :
It is a good idea to carry traveller cheques in US dollars. The most favourable change is usually found at the exchange offices or at the banks. Exchange Rates are not very different than the current change for the currency. Traveller cheques may be cashed in Quito, Riobamba and Latacunga.
Credit cards :
The major credit cards are Visa and MasterCard. They are accepted in banks, in cash machines, in department stores of the Avenida Amazonas for instance.
Black market :
Some people may recommend you to change your money but there is a risk of instability of the change rate whenever banks or exchange offices are closed.
Tips :
You have the right to decide the tips you want to give but in order to avoid a perversion of the system, it is necessary to respect the standard of living of the country. Otherwise, the tips can become the main income of the people. It is required to respect this !


TRIP :


Visas, passports information :
All travellers must have a passport, valid for at least six months. Since October 1999, French tourists don't need any visa.
Transportation :
Very few railway lines are operational since The Niño of 1982-83. The two main transportations in Ecuador are the road and the plane. Roads are not in damaged. Don't expect a Panamerican road with 2X3 ways. However, the main road, which leads to the Volcanoes avenue, is very mythical.
Time difference :
The time difference between France and Ecuador is :

 
France/Ecuador
France/Galápagos
In winter - 6 horas - 7 horas
In summer - 7 horas - 8 horas

Buses in Quito :
Even if bus stops are not to be easily seen in Ecuador, especially in big towns, it is not difficult to travel if you know where you want to go and if you have a good sight : you can read directions which are written in front of each bus.
Trams in Quito :
They are the best transportation if you want to go to the historical centre of Quito.


HEALTH :

At the arrival in Ecuador, the main health problems from which travellers may suffer are headaches and diarrhoea. These are mainly due to the change of diet and the effects of altitude. The altitude tends to affect travellers in the first few days in the Andes. Tourists should take precautions and have medicine on hand when they travel. Vaccinations against yellow fever,polio, tetanus and hepatitis A and B are recommended as well as rabies and meningitis vaccinations in times of epidemic.


SOUVENIRS :


What to buy

You will find all kinds of things at low prices you may enjoy to buy as a souvenir of your trip: pull-overs, trousers, shirts, panama hats, wool grower carpet, wool bags, copies of the pre-Columbian art.
Where to buy
You can buy these souvenirs at the Otavalo Saquisili market, this is not a tourist market but you can buy souvenirs at low prices in comparison with the living cost of the country. You can also buy souvenirs at the Amazon avenue in Quito.


Tel Quito : +59 32 2 287 637
Fax Quito : +59 32 2 287 637

Tel Paris : +33 1 42 25 61 61
Fax Paris : +33 1 40 01 02 04