Because You Need To KnowTravel in Ecuador is often fraught with questions. Feel free to ask and we will provide an answer.
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Technology Related Questions
Free-wifi is standard in populated locations in Ecuador. In fact, so many Ecuadorians own smartphones and rely on wifi connections to use apps like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp that restaurant, hotels, and cafes often provide wifi without a password.
Wifi is not standard in less-populated regions, especially those in the remote jungle or cloud forest locations. It can be difficult for repeaters to get a signal within the folds of the high Andes or hundreds of miles away. Some locations are not even cellphone friendly. Most locations will include this information on their websites.
Cellphones in Ecuador work using Sim cards so having a phone with Sim capabilities is key. Your phone also needs to be unlocked. Then, it’s a simple case of choosing which company you would like to work with (generally Claro or Moviestar) and purchasing a Sim card for your phone from one of their offices.
If you are unsure whether your model of phone will work, check out the government list of models and brands that should work. Recently, the government has started charging to use phones that re not on their approved list: http://www.tucelularlegal.info/tucelularlegalimei/TuCelularLegal.aspx
Some US companies, like T-Mobile, offer free texting and data services while overseas. That means you could use an app like Skype, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp to call home using data instead of calling by telephone. Check with your cellphone company BEFORE you travel to see what you might be able to add to your plan.
Health Related Questions
The CDC provides the best explanation of which vaccines are recommended, as well as other medical concerns, before traveling in Ecuador. But the quick explanation is this:
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations like tetanus and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella).
Everyone traveling to Ecuador should get Hep A and Typhoid, no matter your destination.
Only some people need to get Hep B and Rabies. The more remote your travel, the more important these two vaccines.
Only some people need to get the Yellow Fever vaccine. However, Ecuador may ask for proof of vaccination if you are traveling from a country with risk of Yellow Fever.
Only some people need to take Malaria meds. This is most important if you are visiting the Amazon Basin and plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.
The vast majority of travelers are unlikely to contract diseases from mosquitos. However, it is best to take precautions when traveling in mosquito-prone regions like the coast or the Amazon Basin. But even the Andes can have some varieties of mosquitos that transmit diseases like Chikungunya. Please read our article on Zika and Other Mosquito Viruses before you travel.
Anyone can get altitude sickness. Unfortunately, doctors have very little understanding of why some people have more trouble at altitude than others. There are a few precautions that you can take in order to lessen the symptoms of minor altitude issues, like headaches from severe dehydration. But altitude sickness can be dangerous and it is very important to learn the warning signs BEFORE you travel. Please read our article on high altitude sickness and best practices for travel to high altitude locations.
Distilled water is called agua destilado. It can be found in some auto parts stores for use in car batteries or in some hardware stores like Kiwi.