Are you planning to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands? We have come up with the most useful Ecuador travel tips. If this is your first time traveling to South America or Ecuador then you will surely benefit from all the expert advice and tips.
Our Ecuador Travel Tips include everything from:
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Packing for your trip
- Flying to Ecuador
- Arrival in Ecuador
- Women/Solo travel in Ecuador
- Gluten-free and vegan when in Ecuador
- Food recommendations
- Travel tips while traveling in Ecuador
- How to act like a local
This is a no brainer.
Although, back in college I traveled to Mexico from the USA and upon arrival to Ensenada I realized I didn’t have my passport with me. Fortunately, I was able to cross the border on my way back.
You might not forget your passport when traveling like I did, but please check and recheck the expiry date. Ecuador requires your passport to be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival.
Believe me when I tell you that they take this seriously in Ecuador. I once had a client who booked a Galapagos cruise for his family and even though they allowed him to enter the country, when he was going to travel to the Galapagos Islands, he was not allowed on the flight.
Don’t let an impasse like forgetting your passport or checking its validity spoil your Galapagos and Ecuador vacation.
Book in advance
It’s a good idea to book your holiday to Ecuador or the Galapagos in advance. You won’t benefit from last minute deals, but you will have the peace of mind of having your cruise, lodge or tailor-made tour set. Availability for quality cruises, lodges, and guides is hard to come by, especially for high season travel.
You can contact us and we will help you with all your booking requirements and answer any question you might have.
Health and Travel Insurance
Last year (2018), the Ecuadorian government was set to require foreign visitors to carry health insurance when they visited the country. They later changed their mind and now only require foreign visitors to have health insurance if they are visiting the Galapagos Islands. If you are only visiting continental Ecuador then you will not need insurance. But, it’s always a good idea to carry Travel/Health Insurance when going on holiday.
Doctor check-up and Immunizations
We suggest you go for a check-up with your doctor and dentist before you travel. This will prevent any issues during your trip. Try going about a month prior to your trip, so if you need any long-term treatment you are covered.
Unless you planning to go way deep into the Amazon Rainforest, you will not need to get yellow fever or malaria shots.
Packing tips for your Ecuador trip
Crafting a packing list
In order to truly pack light, you should sit down and write a packing list. Think about what you will definitely need on your trip and forget about non-essentials. If you craft a proper packing list, you will not have to carry more than a standard size carry-on and a bag pack or day pack along.
Choosing the best carry-on bag for your Ecuador Travel
I have traveled back and forth from the USA to Ecuador and all throughout Ecuador and have always been on the lookout for a great carry-on bag. There are many different prices, shapes and sizes to choose from. On one of my recent trips, I bought a nice looking and lightweight carry-on. It was quite roomy and easy to move around with. Then on my second trip with the bag, I checked it (big mistake) and the outer shell got cracked and now I have a duck taped bag and am looking for a replacement.
A great find
I actually found what appears to be an amazing choice. The American Tourister Cargo Luggage. This bag is only sold in Walmart, its quite inexpensive and you can find it here.
Try to find a bag that fits the universal size for carry-ons, is rugged, roomy and has pockets and organizers inside. Having a hard shell cover will prevent your stuff from damage and having a good wheel system will help you when you have to run to catch a plane or move around with your bags.
What to avoid when packing for your trip
Always avoid packing liquids, they are very heavy and bulky. Moreover, if you check them it might raise suspicions and your bag might be opened for further inspection. Furthermore, I would recommend not packing too many books, books are heavy. If you have a Kindle or a tablet you can take digital copies of books for reading. You can enjoy reading while waiting around in airports, terminals or relaxing in your hotel.
Doing laundry on the go
Most Galapagos yachts and Amazon lodges will not provide laundry service. This means you should plan to do a bit of laundry while traveling. This doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, you can wash and hang dry what you wore the day before while getting ready in the morning. All you need to take along is some dry powder detergent, a universal sink/bath plug, and a travel clothesline. Amazon sells a travel laundry pack here.
Ecuador Packing List
- Boarding Passes
- Cash in US Dollars
- Credit/Debit Cards
- First aid Kit
- Travel Insurance Docs
- Travel and Regular Medication
- Large Backpack
- Small Combination lock