• Ecuador
  • Quito
  • Ecuador

    photo of hiking in San Cristobal

    Ecuador is a country of diversity and contrasts. It is the only place that you can go from tropical coast, to mountains, to cloud forests in only a few hours.

    photo of smiling girls from Ecuador

    With it's rich culture and friendly people, Ecuador is the perfect place to study Spanish, experience the old-world and absorb rich indigenous heritage, contemplate stunning vistas, marvel at the myriad of exotic wildlife and tropical plants, savor unique cuisine, relax into leisure day-time activities or feel the rush of extreme sports, embrace a festive nightlife, make new friends, and just have a great time.

    There are four main regions that can be explored:

    Andean Highlands (La Sierra)

    photo of The Cascade de Rio Malo in the Sierras

    The "backbone" of Ecuador, within the Highlands you'll explore waterfalls, natural hot springs, exquisite flora and fauna, and treat your camera to countless breathtaking views.

    photo of The Cascade de Rio Malo in the Sierras

    The Andes, making their home in the Sierra, offers many opportunities to climb, hike, ride horses and engage in all sorts of outdoor activities (ask the school for advice on things to do and for more information).

    Coastal Lowlands (La Costa)

    photo of Mompiche

    Breathtaking from the northern Esmereldas to the southern Guayaquil beaches. Shells, driftwood, sunsets, sunrises, water athletes, piña coladas and warm sand beckon the soul.

    photo of girl surfing at Montanita

    Ocean sports that you will find include fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, KITESURFING, surfing, wind sailing, wake boarding, boogey boarding and plain swimming. Many people enjoy jogging and walking on the beaches to exercise in the mornings. If you are not bringing your own surf board, boards are easily rented at very fair prices. Sharks are not a major danger in most areas, but if you are curious, consult a professional or even a local.

    Amazon (El Oriente)

    photo of tree in the Ecuadorian Amazon

    Leave the Old World of Quito behind and explore the treasures of the Ancient World in Ecuador's Amazon where the planets's most unique and diverse plant and animal life wait to be discovered.

    photo of ecotourist with indigenous Amazonian

    Many indiginous communities are still found amongst the flora and fauna of the Amazon who lead rich spiritual lives and live in peace surrounded by their families, taking from nature only what they need for survival and taking time to meditate and enlighten their spiritual selves. To share a few days of their normal lives is an incredibly enriching experience.

    Galapagos Islands (Galápagos)

    photo of Galapagos Arch

    Named after Galapagos tortoise and home to the influential specimens of Darwins "Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection", the Galapagos Islands are among Ecuador's most cherised treasures.

    photo of seal in the Galapagos Islands

    Nicknamed "Last Wildlife Sanctuary" by Jacques Cousteau, these volcanic islands are inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife including, giant tortoises, iguanas, blue footed boobies and sea lions. The population is around 40,000 and it is located in the east of the Pacific Ocean... 73 km off the western coast of Ecuador. A must-see!

    Traveling Ecuador

    talk about

    Entering Ecuador

    1. To be certain of the requirements remember to check with your local Ecuadorian Embassy.
    2. Passports are needed to enter and normally you are allowed to stay for a maximum of 6 months without a VISA (3 months at first, then you must extend it one month at a time for the next three. This can be done in Manta, Quito and Guayaquil).
    3. A card of International Embarkation will be given to you on the plane. With this you will indicate how long you are staying and what your purposes are. It is important to keep at least a copy of this IE card as it may be neccesary for your departure.
    4. Insurance is advised.
    5. Vaccinations: None are required however, check with your physician or a Tropical Medicine Institute for the most current information.
      • Tetanus - recommended to update
      • Polio - recommended
      • Typhoid - recommended
      • Hepatitus A - recommended
      • Yellow Fever - recommended for travel to the jungle or Esmeraldas
      • Malaria - recommended for travel to the jungle or Esmeraldas
      • Lahriam - a prophylaxis that is recommended and can be bought cheaply and safely in Ecuador

    Ecuadorian Embassies

    GermanyKaiser-Friedrich - Straße 90
    0585 Berlin  
    Phone: 030/2386217
    USA2535 15th St NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    Phone: 0202-2347200
    UKFlat 3B, 3Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London
    Phone: 020/75841367
    SwitzerlandKramgasse 54 3011 Bern
    Phone: 031/3511755
    Canada50 O’Connor St. Suite 113
    Ottawa, ON K1P6L2
    Phone: 0613-563-8206
    NetherlandsKoninginnengracht 84
    2514 AJ, Den Haag
    Phone: 070-3463753
    AustriaGoldschmiedgasse 10/2/24
    1010 Wien
    Phone: 01-535-3208
    Australia6 Pindari Crescent
    O’Malley, ACT 2606
    Phone: 02-6286-4021
    SwedenEngelbrektsgatan 13
    11432 Stockholm 
    Phone: 0468-6796043

    Email Manuel Bucheli manuel.bucheli@gmail.com) about finding the embassy nearest to you. 

    What to Bring

    You can find almost anything in Quito, but for those desiring to be prepared when stepping off the plane, here a few things to consider packing along with you:

    • You must possess a Passport, valid for at least six months
    • Travel insurance, including health insurance, is highly recommended
    • Adapters for non-US appliances (for US-plugs, 110 V AC)
    • Swimsuit
    • Warm (woolen) pullover
    • Camera
    • Money belt
    • Short trousers
    • Long, thin trousers
    • First Aid kit with necessary medications
    • Summer shoes
    • Sun glasses
    • Hat or cap
    • Sun protection (at least SPF 20)
    • Sneakers, trekking shoes
    • Student card (national+ISIC)
    • Day pack
    • T-shirts
    • Waterproof jacket/trousers

    Note: Photos of family, your town, your country and maybe a little present may be a good idea. Your new friends will be interested to see how you live, as you learn about the way they live.

    Food and Water

    photo of encebollado

    First tip: try the foods! Ecuador has a vast array of unique and savoury cuisine often specific to regions. The fare is often inexpensive, healthy, and simply-prepared. If you find yourself on the coast, make sure you try the encebollado and ceviches!

    photo of Banos spring water

    Next tip, don't drink the water! Even the locals do not generally drink the city water, as they can buy safe, bottled water for a mere 40 cents. Watch out for street-vended juices unless you are absolutely certain that it has been made with bottled water.

    For the first week, try avoid raw foods, especially veggies like lettuce, street food, red meat, juices to help your stomach adapt. It is common that most travelers to Ecuador will experience a few unsettling moments tethering you to a bathroom for a few hours. Check with a medical professional, however, if it persists beyond a day.

    Greetings "Welcome to Ecuador"

    As with most Latin cultures, Ecuadorian women generally greet others (even strangers) with a small, friendly kiss on the cheek and maybe even a small hug. Don't be alarmed - return the favor!.

    Handling Money

    Ecuador is no more dangerous than many western countries but since you are traveling and away from the helping hand of immediate friends and family should a problem occur, you should take extra precautions:

    • Be discreet handling money - there is no need to flash it around those who have little or none
    • Opt for banks with guards posted or bring a trusted friend
    • Choose the indoor cash machine over the outdoor machine


    American dollars have been used as the official currency of Ecuador since March of 2000. You may be able to secure better exchange rates in your home country.

    • Traveler's Checks may seem ideal to travel with but it can be difficult to find banks willing to honor them
    • Large bills (100's and 50's) are rarely honored in most stores. Indeed, stores in smaller towns often prefer exact or near change and rarely carry large floats to break change for large bills. Consider small bills if bringing cash.
    • Cash machines are just as plentiful and secure as they are in western societies but do check to make sure the machine you wish to visit supports the same networks your card supports.
    • Major credit cards are honored in larger establishments within larger cities but this support dwindles beyond in smaller towns
    • Inform your bank and credit card instutions of your travel plans because most institutions implement fraud protection services that will freeze your cards should attempts be made to use them beyond your country of residence.

    Common Prices:

    Taxis around Quito$1.40 - $5.00 USD depending on distance
    Public Transit$0.25 cents
    Hostel Dorm$7.00 USD
    Budget Single Room$10.00 - $20.00 USD
    Lunch$1.50 - $8.00
    Bar: beer$1.00 - $2.00 USD
    Bar: cocktails$2.00 - $4.00 USD


    Surpacifico is happy to help you find the best way to reach your desired destination so don't hesitate to ask.

    Always pay attention to your belongings when traveling by bus in Ecuador, as you would in any country.

    By Bus (from Quito)

    • Guayaquil :: Panamericana, Transportes Ecuador
    • Cuenca :: Flota Imbabura, Ecuador, Pullman Viajeros
    • Manta :: Flota Imbabura, Reina del Camino, Panamericana, Carlos Alberto Aray
    • Otavalo :: Flota Imbabura, Otavalo
    • Baños :: Transportes Baños, Expreso Baños
    • Esmeraldas :: TransEsmeraldas,
    • Ambato :: Ambato, Transportes Ecuador
    • Tena :: Amazonas, Expreso Baños, Transporte Baños, Flota Pelileo
    • Loja :: Loja internacional, Pullman viajeros 

    By Air

    Flights leave daily from Quito and Guayaquil airports. Nearly any major city in any country is accessible by air travel in South America.

    Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre QUITO (UIO)

    Located just 10 km north of city center, Mariscal Sucre is Ecuador's principal airport for passenger travel and freight. The main terminal (located on Avenue Amazonas) offers domestic flights to: Guayaquil, Cuenca, Lago Agrio, Coca, Tarapoa, Esmereldas, Manta, Portoviejo, Macas, Tulcan, and more (check online or with Surpacifico for more cities)

    Local airlines include:

    1. Tame www.tame.com.ec
    2. Icaro www.icaro.aero
    3. Aerogal www.aerogal.com.ec
    4. LAN Ecuador www.lan.com 

    In Quito, international airline offices are located on Avenue Amazonas as well (on the way to the MSI main terminal) with such destinations as: Madrid, Amsterdam, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Lima, Santiago, Panama City, San José, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and many others.

    Note: a new airport is being constructed in the rural area of Tababela, an adjacent valley outside the citylimits. It is expected to be opened in 2010, making the MSI airport a big park!

    The Galapagos Islands are reached via flights in Guayaquil.

    By Rail

    Rail transport in Ecuador is largely used for tourist purposes and not generally for commuters. Exciting train rides can be found ...

    Times and Distances

    From Quito to:Distanceby Airby Private Carby Bus
    Guayaquil420 kms south35 min7  hrs9  hrs
    Cuenca445 kms south45 min9 hrs11 hrs
    Manta390 kms south40 min8  hrs9 hrs
    Montañita82 kms south9 hrs10 hrs
    Baños176 kms south2.5 hrs3 hrs
    Ambato136 kms south3 hrs3.5 hrs
    Otavalo95 kms north2 hrs2 hrs
    Salinas570 kms south9 hrs10 hrs
    Esmeraldas318 kms north30 min5 hrs6 hrs
    Galapagos1238 kms west2 hrs
    Tena397 kms south30 min8 hrs9 hrs

    Departing Ecuador

    When leaving by Air, a $25 USD depature tax is required, in cash. Make sure that they fix a receipt to the boarding pass because it will be checked as you board the flight.

    More About Ecuador

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