Preparing For Your Trip

Hola! As you count down the days until your trip to Ecuador, I’m sure it feels great to have an exotic adventure on the horizon, especially now that the chilly weather has arrived in Europe!


I hope the following information is useful as you prepare for your trip with Take Me to Ecuador. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to our paradise!

If you have any questions about your trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Hasta pronto!

Jorge Moran

Entry Requirements

A passport with validity of at least 6 months is required for travel to Ecuador. Travellers from the vast majority of countries do not require a visa to enter Ecuador and will be given a 90-day permit stamp upon arrival (exceptions are citizens of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, who require a visa).

You may be asked to show your onward travel arrangements upon arrival in Ecuador. If you are travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, you may be asked to show a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.


The currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (USD). ATMs are located in major cities, towns and tourist resorts, though not small towns and villages. The closest ATMs to our Surf Camp in Las Tunas are located in the towns of Puerto Lopez, a 15-minute drive, and Montañita, a 30-minute drive.

Many ATMs have a $100 withdrawal limit per transaction, so for $300 you may have to withdraw three lots of $100.

Remember to tell your bank in advance that you are travelling, otherwise they may block your card if you try to use it abroad.

Outside the major cities and big towns, few shops and restaurants accept credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash with you.

If you are bringing cash from home, try to bring small denomination bills. It can be almost impossible to find a store which will accept a $100 bill. A lot of vendors will have trouble changing even a $20 bill when it comes to purchases that are below $5. Most vendors will go to nearby stores to find change for you, but it’s easier to have small bills at the ready.


On the whole, Ecuador is a peaceful and friendly place to visit and the vast majority of travellers experience no difficulties with security or crime.

Outside of the cities, violent crime is rare and the most common crimes are pickpocketing and opportunistic theft. These are easy to avoid if you take the same common sense precautions that you would anywhere, e.g. knowing where your valuables are and keeping them safe and out of sight, or using a lock for your bike if you leave it unattended.

Ecuador is a safe country for women travellers, but it is common practice for men to whistle and make comments at women who pass by. This can be annoying, but it’s very rare for this behaviour to turn into anything more sinister. It’s best to ignore this kind of unwelcome attention.

As with anywhere, crime is more prevalent in large towns and cities (especially Quito, Guayaquil and Manta), though even these are not nearly as dangerous as many people imagine. But don’t worry! Take Me to Ecuador will meet you at the airport at the start of your trip and take you safely back there at the end. We will keep an eye on you during the short periods that we are in the city. You can help us to keep you safe by:


Not wearing expensive jewellery or flashing your cash or valuables;


Leaving valuables locked safely in the hoste


Not carrying large amounts of cash with you. Only bring out what you need.


If you are planning on travelling independently in Ecuador before or after your time with us, or in the unlikely event that you get separated from the group whilst we are in the city, we recommend the following additional precautions:

  • Seek advice from your hostel about places to go and places to avoid.
  • Don’t walk around after dark.
  • Avoid public transport in cities. Take a registered taxi, preferably from a taxi stand outside a large mall or bus station, rather than flagging one down in the street.
  • In crowded areas, wear your backpack on the front of your body.
  • If you take a bus, especially long distance, keep your bag on your lap, not under the seat or in the overhead storage.
  • If you are stopped by the police, never offer a bribe, but be aware that if one is requested, handing over $20 may be the fastest way to continue with your day.
  • In the unlikely event that you are mugged, hand over your money and valuables immediately.


Health care and pharmacies

Basic health care for minor injuries and common illnesses is inexpensive in Ecuador, but for major injuries and serious illness, health care bills can easily run into the thousands.

This is why we insist that you arrange adequate travel insurance.
There are well stocked pharmacies everywhere in Ecuador. Basic medications such as painkillers, diarrhea tablets etc. are easy to find, but if you are on specific personal medication, it’s worth bringing enough with you for the duration of your stay.


We strongly recommended that our guests consult with their physicians prior to their departure to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Blood group

If you plan to undertake adventure activities in the Galapagos Islands like kayaking, diving, snorkelling etc. you must now provide your blood group when registering for the activity.


Tap water

Tap water in Ecuador is not drinkable. At our Surf Camp in Las Tunas, we supply free drinking water, which you can use to fill up your small bottle.

Some travellers to Ecuador bring small personal water bottles which filter and purify tap water to make it safe for drinking. These work well and reduce plastic waste, especially whilst travelling. If you search for ‘water purifying bottle’ on Amazon, there are several options available.


In Ecuador, toilet paper goes in to the bin provided, not in the toilet.

Mosquito-borne Illnesses

Malaria is present in the Amazon Jungle more than the coast, and transmitted via mosquito bites but this disease is not common or usually life threatening. Prevention is simple: avoid getting bitten by covering up and using repellent.

There is no need to take anti-malaria medication in Ecuador, unless you are visiting the Amazon. Your doctor can advise you on this.

Accommodation at the Surf Camp includes mosquito nets over the beds and mosquito nets on the windows.


The primary language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish. The country’s indigenous population also speaks other dialects such as Quechua, Awapit, Tsa’fiki, and Paicoca, to name a few. An intermediate level of English is spoken by many young Ecuadorians but do not expect to be able to converse in English with the majority of people you meet. A few words in Spanish will go a long way and it’s a good idea to learn at least some basics before your trip:


Gracias significa ‘gracias’; por favor es ‘por favor’. Salude a la gente con buenos días antes del mediodía, buenas tardes por la tarde y buenas noches después del anochecer. En situaciones más informales y con gente joven, hola (‘hola’) se puede utilizar en cualquier momento del día o de la noche. Si vas a conocer a alguien por primera vez, dale la mano y dile mucho gusto (‘encantado de conocerte’). Un saludo más familiar entre mujeres o entre un hombre y una mujer es un beso en la mejilla. Diga buen provecho a sus acompañantes antes de una comida oa los demás comensales al entrar o salir de un restaurante.

Eat out

Food and drink in Ecuador are generally inexpensive. The cost of a 0.5 liter bottle of water can range
from $ 0.25 to $ 0.50; a beer in a bar between $ 1-2; a lunch from $ 2.50 to $ 7; and dinner from $ 5 onwards.


Tipping is not expected, but is greatly appreciated. In the more expensive restaurants, the service tends to be included in the bill.


There aren’t many Ecuadorian vegetarians, so meatless options are limited at restaurants serving local food. Most places will prepare a dish consisting of some or all of the following: white rice, lentils, salad, eggs, fried banana, cheese. Fruit salad is also a good option. Tourist and international restaurants offer more and more vegetarian options. 

Food is served when it’s ready, so if you’re eating with other people, start eating when served and don’t let the food get cold.


Serving alcohol on Sundays is technically illegal. Some restaurants and stores adhere to this law, others do not.

Customs and culture

You will have fun experiencing a culture quite different from yours. It’s even more fun if you keep an open mind and enjoy differences, rather than judging behavior by the standards of your own. What many Europeans would call ‘bad manners’ is not considered rude in Ecuador. The manners are just different. Many Ecuadorians will announce ‘good afternoon’ to the entire bus when it stops to let them on board, or they will come to kiss everyone on the cheek at a crowded table in a restaurant, stay to chat for five minutes and then kiss again in the cheek to all. when they leave. It is also common practice in Ecuador for people to affectionately call each other for their most obvious features, including fat ‘fat’ or black ‘black’. Again, this is not considered rude. Just enjoy the differences, and more importantly, the similarities!

Ecuadorians are often curious about foreigners and tell them about their country or share information about yours with you (for example, where are you from? Are you married? What do you think of Ecuador? Have you tried local dishes?) . These questions arise from a simple friendly curiosity and a great opportunity to practice your Spanish!

Climate and clothing

The diversity of Ecuador’s natural habitat means that different regions have different microclimates, so the climate largely depends on where you are.

Independientemente de la ubicación, hay un factor constante: debido a la posición de Ecuador en el ecuador, el sol es muy fuerte. El error más común que cometen los turistas en Ecuador es subestimar la capacidad del sol para arder, incluso en un día nublado. Una quemadura grave puede arruinar un par de días, así que asegúrese de llevar crema solar y aplíquela con cuidado en cualquier área de la piel expuesta. Comience con al menos un factor 30.


Although Guayaquil’s climate is hot and humid throughout the year (around 30º C), most local residents dress quite conservatively. Long shorts and a t-shirt are fine, but sparse beachwear is not recommended.


On the coast, days are hot and sunny from December to June (around 30º C) with overnight rainfall from December to February. From July, there are more cloudy days, with August to November more overcast. That being said, recent low seasons have seen a surprising number of sunny days (the joys of global warming). Even in low season, temperatures are in the low 20s.

Most people on the coast opt for casual beach clothes. For men, flip flops and board shorts are often sufficient. For women, bikinis, crop tops and short shorts are perfectly acceptable (though may attract a whistle or two), but topless sunbathing is definitely not.

A hat and sunglasses can help keep you safe from the sun’s rays. If you go swimming or surfing for any length of time in the middle of the day, a t-shirt or rash vest and total sunblock are a good idea, as the reflections off the waves make the sun even stronger.

Mosquitos often appear at sunset, so it’s a good idea to bring lightweight long trousers (and/or repellent).

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are dry and warm all year round (23-25º C). December to June is slightly warmer and wetter; June to December is cooler and drier.

Beach wear is fine in the Galapagos. Bring a pair of lightweight trousers and a long sleeved top for the mosquitos and in case of a cooler evening. Pack suitable shoes if you’ll be hiking.


The weather in the mountains can vary hugely, and change quickly. It really can feel like ‘four seasons in one day’. It’s hotter and drier from June to December and always cold overnight. In Quito, for example, the temperature ranges from 26º C at noon to 7º C at night.

It may be hot during the day, but Andean people are much more formal in dress than their coastal counterparts. Long shorts and a t-shirt is fine, but skimpy clothes should definitely be avoided. Bring lots of layers for quick changes in response to the weather. Flip flops, jeans, a t-shirt and a light sweater is usually fine for the day time, but you’ll want to add closed shoes, socks and a warm sweater or jacket for the evening.


The weather in the mountains can vary hugely, and change quickly. It really can feel like ‘four seasons in one day’. It’s hotter and drier from June to December and always cold overnight. In Quito, for example, the temperature ranges from 26º C at noon to 7º C at night.

It may be hot during the day, but Andean people are much more formal in dress than their coastal counterparts. Long shorts and a t-shirt is fine, but skimpy clothes should definitely be avoided. Bring lots of layers for quick changes in response to the weather. Flip flops, jeans, a t-shirt and a light sweater is usually fine for the day time, but you’ll want to add closed shoes, socks and a warm sweater or jacket for the evening.

Mobile phones

If you plan to bring your cell phone from home to use during your visit to Ecuador, you will need to contact your service provider to “unlock” your phone for international use. Once you are in Ecuador you can buy a local SIM card with one of the national service providers (Claro, MoviStar, Porta, etc.). SIM cards, or “chips” as they are known in Ecuador, are sold everywhere and you can add money to your “account” immediately so you can start using your phone.

To use your phone in Ecuador you must meet the following criteria:

  • Operate with a GSM 850 (or 3G) frequency to adapt to Ecuador’s cellular infrastructure.
  • The phone must be unlocked for it to connect to the network in Ecuador.
  • Must accept a SIM card (Mini, Micro or Nano)

You also have the option of buying a cheap local cell phone for around $ 40. Making direct calls from Ecuador to Sweden can cost around 50 cents / min. Making / receiving calls from Sweden to your Swedish abbonemang costs, however, about 40 kr / minute!

Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, and other free online services are your best options for communicating abroad while in Ecuador.

For making calls within Ecuador while you are in the country, most Internet cafes have public phone “huts”, which are easy to use and inexpensive.

What to Pack

Aside from the clothing advice on the previous pages, pack what you’d normally take on holiday.
The following items might be worth including:

International plug adapter

So you can charge your devices.



We have some books in Swedish at the Surf Camp, but books in foreign languages ​​are hard to find in Ecuador. Book exchanges tend to have a terrible selection, unless you like Tom Clancy. If you are particular about the books you read, bring a good selection or stock your Kindle.


Ear plugs

It’s quiet at night at the Surf Camp, but Ecuador is a noisy country and earplugs can save your sanity at night and on buses, which tend to play deafening salsa music.


Tampons are available, but often only in the largest pharmacies. It might be worth saving yourself the hassle of a frustrating (and possibly fruitless) search for this medical device, and just bring your own supply.