Yes, Ecuador has all types of terrains and you could spend much of your trip at sea level if you so desire. You could even fly into Guayaquil and avoid high altitude altogether if that is your goal. But if you are flying into Quito you will have to deal with 2800 meters, over 10,000 feet and an altitude that many have never experienced. Take it easy the first few days and you should be fine. Sure, you’ll huff and puff a bit and no it’s not that the streets are THAT steep (though they are that too!). If you venture further into the Andes you’ll likely reach much greater heights and again have to acclimatize. In Cotopaxi National Park we were generally over 4000 meters and as you can see from D’s backpack, carrying everything we owned. Yes, I do love her and no she does not hate me now…though at the time she might have just a little until we saw Cotopaxi’s mirror in Laguna Limpiapunga and stared a herd of wild horses in the eyes.
Anyway, take your time, drink lots of water, and stop and take a deep breath every now and then.
by bus or plane:
Be sure You got rid of Your Coca leaves before entering Ecuador. They are legal in Peru (and are quite helpful against altitude sickness without having any drug-like effects) but illegal in Ecuador and a few hunderd meters behind the border police and/or military with dogs will check bags!
Its dangerous at night there, especially in Quito and Guayaquil. always take a taxi at night and ask your taxi driver to wait for you as you enter into your hotel/apartment where ever. i had a friend who lived about 2 blocks from a bar that we often went to and he was robbed 3 times. but each time he never had any money on him so they always took his shoes.
If you are thinking of visiting Ecuador you probably already heard about the very frequent pickpocketing and mugging incidents. I am pleased to say that my stay in Ecuador proved to be trouble free in this regards - but obviously I took precautions, so I will share them.
- I put most of my money as well as passport and a visa in a leg pouch. It is pretty tough to get pickpocketed from a leg pouch.
- Never walked in the street at dark. Wondering in the streets at dark, even for a very short distance is asking for danger. Either avoid going out at night or else take a cab.
- Did not take any troles (trams). Trams are THE place to get pickpocketed from, take a bus or taxi instead
- Always be aware of your surroundings, walk confidently and don't stand out. It is not the point of not getting mugged/pickpocketed. It is the point to look less 'desirable' or 'stupid' than others. For heaven's sake don't walk with a camera around your neck or jewelry or totally engrossed in a conversation or window shopping! If you can wear your pack in front of you.
- Keep a decoy wallet. I always kept a decoy wallet quite accessible in my pack - with some $1 dollar bills and a couple of papers. The pickpockets will not have time to rummage in your pack so the first thing of value they will see they will probably take.
- In buses keep an eye on your luggage. If you have a day pack put it on your lap and not anywhere else.
- Don't be paranoid!! Just enjoy yourself and practice some common sense.
Unfortunately it is true that Ecuador is not really safe and it is true that muggings and pickpockets are frequent. Still it should not be a reason to deter you from visiting such a wonderful country. Just take it as extra colour and adventure ...
From Banos, it is a nice stroll to the banks of Rio Pastaza close by.
But beware of the very strong current! A fellow traveller only wanted to go knee-deep into the water and was taken away by the current. She was lucky and got hold of a stone, so she could rescue herself. If that happens to somebody - do not jump in to help, sad as it is: You won't have any chance.
Driving in Ecuador is not impossible, but not for the meek! Accidents are frequent, and often deadly. Here are a few tips...
1. Use your lights at all times - even if others don't. It's so they can see you, not necessarily vice-versa.
2. Be prepared on curves for a car to be coming towards you in your lane - there are no 'no passing zones'
3. The same goes for hills you cannot see over.
4. If a bus is barreling down on your rear, slow down, pull over, and let them pass. Its for your own good!
5. Only use the 'Super' gas - it gives you the extra power you need to get out of sticky situations
6. Avoid driving at night - there are many cars that have no lights, or whose drivers choose not to use them. Also, animals usually can't be seen until it is too late.
7. Somebody putting their hand out the window and shaking it can mean any of a number of things, including, "I'm Turning Left", "I'm Turning Right", "Pass Me", "I'm Going to Pass You", "I'm coming into your lane", "Don't come into my lane", and many more. Only time and experience can help you differentiate which is which.
8. Always lock your doors, and take everything out of plain sight. If your glove box is empty, leave it open.
9. Use maps - people will give wrong directions rather than say they don't know the way.
10. Don't worry too much - it's really not that bad!!!
In Ecuador, there is no law, at least not one that is enforced, that requires gas stations to securely cover up the pit where the gas storage tanks are located.
Generally these tanks are located on the edge of the property, and have a 2 to 3 foot wall surrounding the hole. Most stations, however, cover these holes only with corrugated tin or corrugated fiberglass.
There have been many cases of people standing on these, to take a break, get a good view, take a photo, etc, and falling through.
These pits go down about 8 meters (25 feet), and are full of rebar and other hazards.
Rabies vaccination (Tollwut-Impfung)
If you like running of bikung: Highly recommendet.
I was biking, and all dogs chase every thing who is faster than walking - also Cars.
If a dog who is infected by Rabies bits you, you you die in 99% whitin 4 Days!!!
After Infectiom, its almost impossible to alive.
But you can make a vaccination before traveling. (i had luck. a dog scratched me just a litte bit (with theets) while i was biking.
SOunds stange, but it works. If a dog (or sometimes 4 dogs!) is chasing you, just slow down.
Quito is to high for (Malaria-)Mosquitos
There is no danger.
But if you visit the coast or the Rain-Forest its nessesary to carry on the medicaments.
It depends of your activity. some people need the medicaments in advance. I had medicaments just for case of emercency.
I've had people tell me to stay out of old town, day or night, unless you're with a group. I didn't get that feeling from old town, I think you'd be fine during the day as long as you stay on the main streets. It is probably not, however, a place you'd want to hang around in after dark.
The center of new town and hence where most tourists are, Mariscal Sucre, can be a bit dodgy at night. The main streets aren't too bad, but avoid straying down dimly lit side streets and don't linger on Avenue Amazonas unless you're with a group.
Quito and Guayaquil, as every big city with poverty problems, is not exempted from crime issues.
However, using common sense and avoiding wandering alone at night in certain areas should be enough to keep away from big problems.
Buses are the main (if not the only one) way of transportation in Ecuador, except for a few expensive liaisons between the most important cities of the country.
The network is well done and works quite normally.
But it may hairraising to take the bus, especially in the Andes. And the only thing you may do (ask the bus rider to go slowly is totally useless) is... pray!
Pollution is just unbearable in Quito. It's mostly coming from the buses (old ones), and also from cars (olds ones too). Only one bus company is non-polluting : it's not enough, and I don'tu understand that the municipality doesn't give much more attention to this matter, as it's so proud to declare that the city belongs to the Patrimony of Humanity (UNESCO), whereas the pollution has permanent damaging effets on the concerned buildings.
La pollution est tout simplement insupportable a Quito. Elle vient principalement des bus (vieux et sans pots catylitiques) et aussi de pas mal de voitures (meme probleme). Une seule ligne de bus est notoirement non-polluante. C'est trop peu et je ne comprends pas que la municipalite, si fiere de sa cite, patrimoine de l'humanite, ne saisisse pas le probleme a bras de corps, eu egards aux repercussions nefastes de la pollution sur les edifices classes patrimoines culturels et historiques.
They loooove throwing things at you, during Carnaval. In Guaranda, we were lucky enough, it was only water... But it was raining so much that we didn't really understand why they went on with water bombs or water riffles !!! That's weird !
Ils adoooorent vous balancer des trucs, pendant Carnaval. A Guaranda, on a eu de la chance, finalement, c'etait que de l'eau. Mais comme il pleuvait grave, on comprenait pas pourquoi ils continuaient avec leurs bombes et fusils a eau !! C'est dingue !
Traveled thur Quito on a Eco Tourism trip. The Marriott was unforgetable. Beautiful hotel in every...more
When we arrived at the Hotel Victoria after our early morning flight from Quito it was only 9.00 am,...more
Av. de las Amazonas, Banos, 2000, Ecuador
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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