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Facts Ecuador:

 

Capital - Quito

 

Currency - US Dollar (USD)

 

Official Language - Spanish. Amerindian languages, mainly Quechua. English limited to main

hotels and tourist areas.

 

Religion - predominantly Roman Catholic 90%, In the rural parts of Ecuador, some indigenous beliefs. There is also a growing number of Protestant denominations and a small Muslim minority numbering in the low thousands. The Jewish community numbers just over one thousand and is mostly of German and Italian origin.

 

Electricity - 110V; 60 Hz Plugs. Same as in the U.S.A. No converters or adapters needed.

 

Business Hours - Banks are usually open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 1:30 pm, although many have begun to offer extended hours. Government and Private Offices are open

 

Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm (public sector breaks for lunch from 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm lunch). Mall Stores generally open Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 8:30 pm (small stores open from 8am to 6pm, closing for 1 hr. at lunch).

 

Tipping - tip 10% of the bill unless a service fee is included, additional small amounts are appreciated. Round up fare for taxi drivers.

 

Time Zone - Ecuador Standard Time is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5) and in the Galapagos Islands (UTC/GMT - 6). It does not observe Daylight-Saving Time.

 

Passports - U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport.

 

Emergencies - National Police: 101, Fire department: 102, Emergency: 911, Red Cross: 131

 

Water - Bottled water is recommended.

 

We strongly suggest you buy Travel Insurance before departing the US. Please contact us for more information, we can help you buy Travel Insurance in less than 5 minutes.

About Ecuador:

 

Ecuador is an independent republic with a democratic government that since 2001 uses the US dollar as its currency. At 106,268 sq.miles, it is similar in size to Oregon, 10 percent bigger than Great Britain, or half the size of France or Spain.

 

It has 4 distinct regions: the Galapagos Islands, the central Andean Highlands, the Pacific Coast, and the Amazon rainforest.

 

Visitors to this country have the chance to climb volcanoes, trek through rainforests, see indigenous people, admire colonial architecture, plus much more. Guayaquil is the largest city and the gateway to the most beautiful beaches of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Las Penas welcomes visitors with its old colonial charm. Its "Malecon" riverwalk combines shopping, parks and historical monuments. But its nightlife is prevails as most notorious, with an exotic tropical vibe. Quito its capital is also a great place to begin your exploration of Ecuador. It has been remarked as one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. Resting at an altitude of 9,000 ft, the climate is comfortable throughout the year. The city is home to a vibrant commercial district full of restaurants and interesting shops. Nearby is the colonial section, which is home to over 100 churches, plazas and beautiful buildings. The city itself is also a great jumping off point to other parts of Ecuador.

 

Just north of Quito, Otavalo is famous for its colorful market. Here, you can find everything from wood carvings, textiles to animals for sale. A must see stop for any traveler to Ecuador. Heading south from Quito one enters the "Avenue of the Volcanoes". The scenery in this area is spectacular and this region is also home to countless small communities and markets.

 

Located four hours by bus from Quito, Banos offers hotsprings, horseback riding, trekking, rafting, climbing and mountain biking. It also offers easy access to Riobamba, the starting point of the exhilarating train journey down the Devil's Nose to the coast, and to Puyo, one of the gateways to the Amazon.

 

Although not as notorious as Peru's Inca vestiges, archaeological sites abound in Ecuador. Visit Ingapirca, Rumicucho, La Tolita or Tomebamba.

 

Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city, has a nice colonial feel. You will find some beautiful architecture in this lovely city. Nearby Chordeleg is a golden paradise, offering all varities of gold jewerly and handicrafts. Definitely worth a visit.

 

Finally, a trip to Ecuador is not complete without a cruise to the Galapagos Islands. This national park lies in isolation about 600 miles off the mainland. Made famous by Charles Darwin, every year, thousands of curious visitors journey to these remote volcanic islands to explore its pureness. Most wonder how this wildlife ever reached the Galapagos Islands and how it has maintained its innocence. You could literally walk or sit within two feet of some of these animals. The Galapagos are made up of 12 main islands. Only Isabela and San Cristobal are inhabited. The rest of the islands are home to a dazzling area of flora and fauna.

 

Giant tortoises, seal colonies and marine and land iguanas will make visitors gasp. Though their indifference may make the animals seem humorously aloof, a few interferences with humans can alter their behavior irrevocably and turn them reclusive. Respect their natural hospitality and keep your hands to yourself !!!

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