Frequently asked questions
We have compiled all of the most frequently asked questions about Ecuador, our projects and any other worries or questions you may have. If answers to your questions cant be found here please contact us.
Do I need a visa to come to Ecuador?
If you come to Ecuador as a tourist, you do not need a visa for a stay up to 90 days on a 12 month-period (chronological year), unless you are a citizen (passport holder) from one of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, People’s Republic of China and Somalia. We recommend you to purchase your ticket back home with a date that will be before the 90 days so you’ll have a bit of flexibility in case you need to stay in the country for some extra days (ex. Due to flight cancellations). If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, please let us know.
Other things to take into consideration:
- Your passport must have a remaining validity of at least 6 months beyond your travel dates.
- A round/onward trip ticket is needed to proof the length of your stay.
Are shots required to enter to Ecuador?
Shots or vaccines are not required to enter to the country. However, we recommend to speak with your doctor about this.
What do I do when I arrive at to the airport in Quito?
The airport in Quito is small. After deplaning, you will go through passport control and then get your baggage from the carousel. You will then go through customs, where your baggage will be scanned and may be searched. Once you cross customs, a door will open and you’ll see an EcEx representative with a sign with your name on it. We will then take you to the hostal where you’ll sleep the first nights and be provided with orientation and the guided tour in Quito.
Can I drink the water in Ecuador?
You should never drink the tap water while in Ecuador, even while in Quito. Always have bottled or boiled water on hand, even for brushing your teeth. All boiled water needs to come to a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes. Hotels and restaurants usually provide bottled water to their guests. If you are ever uncertain about the water served to you, just ask them if it is purified.
How much money should I bring?
You’ll need to bring enough to pay your transportation to and from your project site (if you’re not living at the project), money for food (one meal per day), other small expenses and some emergency money in case you need medical care.
If you plan on traveling during your time in Ecuador, you will need to factor that money into your total budget (at minimum, $30 per day for small trips). Trips to the rainforest can cost $250 for a 3 days trip and Galapagos Islands $750 for the same length.
Besides this, think if you’ll need to purchase personal items, snacks or beverages outside of mealtimes, gifts for your family and friends… We don’t want you to underestimate your personal spending and have difficulties in the middle of your time here obtaining cash. The most organization you have of your money, the best.
Should I bring cash or travelers checks? What about credit and ATM cards?
It’s better to bring cash in small bills. 50 and 100 dollar bills are rare in Ecuador and are only accepted at banks or big institutions. A 20 dollar bill is already too big for us; you could use it a supermarket, but in a grocery store or to take a taxi, most probably, they will ask you for a smaller bill or, even better, coins. We love coins!
It’s also important to have an internationally accepted ATM card (one with the Visa, Cirrus or Plus logo) for obtaining additional cash as needed in Quito and other sizeable towns. However, do not rely on ATM cards for all your funds as machines could be out of service.
Travelers checks are not recommended since you can cash them only in cities like Quito or Guayaquil and most stores and vendors do not accept traveler’s checks.
How safe is Ecuador?
Ecuador is a relatively safe country, the most consistently peaceful country in South America. The biggest concern for all travelers is theft; Ecuador is a poor country and if you leave valuable items unattended there is a good chance they will disappear, especially technology-related objects such as computers, tablets, smartphones, cameras.
Minimize the risk of theft by not bringing or carrying valuable items with you, keeping your valuables stored securely in your house when you plan to walk around downtown, and keeping your money hidden in a variety of different places.
Beware of pickpockets in crowded buses, trolleys, or in the touristed Mariscal area of Quito. Also, in markets, don’t tempt people by showing big wads of bills or prominently wearing expensive-looking jewelry, cameras, or watches.
What kinds of souvenirs and gifts can I bring back from Ecuador?
There is a great diversity of beautiful, colorful arts and crafts such as wool sweaters, textiles, Andean musical instruments, masks, hammocks, carvings, pottery, silver jewelry, leather goods and trinkets.
What should I do if I’m a vegetarian, lactose intolerant or gluten allergic?
They are relatively new phenomenons in Ecuador; however, the projects and the families you’ll be living with are accustomed to having visitors with food specifications. Just please make sure to notify us about it and give us detailed information about your food preferences. This information is included in the application form.
Will I have access to email while in Ecuador?
It will depend on the project. Some stations, especially the ones at the rainforest and at the Galapagos Islands do not have cellphone signal nor internet, so it’s necessary for you to go to the closest town to use internet.
In Quito, not all families have wifi internet, but there are internet cafés in most sizeable towns within an easy bus ride that you can use.