How to plan the perfect vacation in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, its territory includes Galapagos Islands, the Amazon jungle, 25 active volcanoes and many protected National Parks. It is the country where pure chocolate and bananas come from, which has a volcano with the closest point from Earth to Sun and La Mitad del Mundo, the geographical point with a weird gravitational force. The largest Ecuadorian cities are Guayaquil and Quito, each year receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors attracted by South American history, landscapes or gastronomy.
Whether you intend to venture to the Islands, hike in the Andes, go birdwatching in the Amazon, or just wait for the whales to come in the warm waters of the Pacific Coast, consider the following:
Like many tropical areas, the year is divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy season usually begins in October and ends in May, and is followed by a dry season that lasts from June to September. Because the weather is quite unpredictable, the best time to visit Ecuador depends on the altitude and proximity to the Equator line of your chosen destination. For example, coastal areas are avoided between February and March. These tend to be the sunniest and driest months, therefore not great for travel. At the same time, the crystal clear water of the ocean attracts in Galapagos many passionate divers. On the other hand in the Amazon, it rains less between December and March, but in the Andes, where the temperature drops with the altitude, it can rain anytime, regardless of the season.
International flights to Ecuador can vary depending on the number of stops. While some airlines offer discounts on bookings made days before the trip, depending on the period, the tickets can be cheaper if purchased early.
Tips & Tricks
Check international and domestic flights here. Find and book the perfect option for your itinerary.
The best way to arrive in Galapagos is by flying from mainland Ecuador. The only two international airports are located in Quito and Guayaquil, so first you must stop in one of these cities. From here, the flights are within the same price range and are operated by Tame, the national airline of Ecuador. In the Archipelago, there are also two airports: one on San Cristobal Island and the other on Baltra Island. The last one is unpopulated but is connected to Santa Cruz Island through Itabaca Chanel. To visit Santa Cruz Island, a ferry ticket must be purchased at the airport.
If you plan to visit Ecuador only for Galapagos Islands, do not hesitate to also book at least 3 days on the mainland. To discover traditions and the local lifestyle, visit one of the largest cities or its surroundings. You can choose a cocoa plantation to learn how to prepare Ecuadorian chocolate, book gastronomic tours or a day trip to the ocean coast or in a national park.
The national currency is the US dollar. The average budget for a day in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, starts from 80$ to 100$. That includes accommodation and breakfast at a hotel in a tourist area, dinner at a restaurant and tickets for visiting some museums or tourist attractions nearby.
Internet and local mobile data
Because Galapagos is 1000 km from the mainland, Internet access can sometimes be quite difficult. Most restaurants and accommodation facilities in the populated islands of the Archipelago provide free wireless, but the signal is quite weak. Especially for GPS navigation, we recommend that you purchase a local SIM card from Quito or Guayaquil.
Tips & Tricks
We wanted to have good coverage in the islands,so we chose two different operators (Claro and Tuenti). Although both were 10$, the offer from Claro was more advantageous in term of network coverage. From Tuenti though, we benefited more of Internet access.
When leaving the country, you need to consider customs control. You may be required to declare in writing the amount of money you travel with, and there is the possibility of the officers checking all your luggage. If the declared value does not coincide with that is found by the customs officers, the law allows them to confiscate the amount that exceeds three times the minimum wage in Ecuador.
Tips & Tricks
Plan ahead everything you want to visit, so you can book and pay online for your favourite activities and trips.