If you’re looking for places to add to your bucket list, Ecuador is well worth exploring. Not only is it one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries, it’s also one of the most geographically stunning locales with snowcapped mountains, the Amazon Basin, and an active volcano. As a bonus, Ecuador is just a quick jump to the world-famous Galapagos Islands and Yasuni National Park.
Whether it’s multi-cultural cities you’re after or locales off the beaten track, Ecuador has a little something for everyone. Wherever your trip takes you, here are five travel tips for exploring Ecuador.
Routine immunizations for South America usually include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, MMR, and Tdap.
Allow yourself plenty of time before you leave to get your vaccinations. Make an appointment with a doctor a few months in advance to find out which vaccines you need for Ecuador. Be sure to share detailed information with your health care provider, as the recommended vaccinations may depend on the area(s) where you plan to travel.
Be mindful of the altitude
Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is 9350ft above sea level (roughly 1.7 miles). The higher in altitude you are, the less oxygen there is in the air, which can be a recipe for altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness range from headaches and nausea to more serious complications such as an increased heartrate, dehydration, and respiratory distress.
It’s important to listen to your body, not over-exert yourself, and seek medical attention if your symptoms persist or worsen. And don’t forget to hydrate!
Beware of scams
While you’re walking in the ancient Inca footsteps in South America, it’s unfortunately typical to come across some tourist scams. Con artists will look for targets at the most popular sites. It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. and always be wary of people trying to help you in exchange for money.
Make the trek to the Galapagos
Many people opt for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos from Ecuador. Tourism is limited so make sure you book in advance. Safe travel in the Galapagos Islands is simple if you’re organized. Beware of mosquitos. There isn’t a risk of malaria, but you will get bitten. Cover up and use repellent as needed.
The weather is actually not as hot as you might think on the Galapagos, but make sure you keep topping up the sunscreen.
Step off the beaten track
There are unlimited stunning locations to visit off the beaten path in Ecuador. Explore the quiet beachside villages of Olan and Salango. If you like watersports try kayaking in the whitewater of the river Tena. If you’re in search of ancient wonders, go and see the pre-Colombian pyramids of the Cara in Cochasqui.
Always seek the advice of a professional and credible guide before trekking Ecuador’s lesser-known paths. Let someone know where you are going and your plans when you arrive, just as an extra precaution.