Ecuador and Galapagos Travel Guide
What are the things to keep in mind while planning a private Ecuador and Galapagos tour? From visas to vaccinations, currency and language, find expert tips in our Ecuador Travel Guide.
Go ahead and dream big. Enchanting Travels experts are here to help you plan the ultimate escape. Tell us your vision for the trip of a lifetime and we’ll make it a reality.
One of our destination experts will reach out to craft a completely customized itinerary. Book your personalized journey and know that our flexible policies have you covered.
Relax and prepare for takeoff, knowing that your trip is perfectly planned and you have a personal concierge on call 24/7. Our experts are here to keep you safe and handle the details.
Entry and visa for Ecuador and Galapagos
US, Canadian, UK, Australian and EU citizens do not need a visa to enter Ecuador for tourism. You must have a passport that is valid for six months from the date of entry with at least two blank pages remaining, return tickets and proof of sufficient funds for your trip on arrival into Ecuador.
Galapagos Islands: You will need a SICGAL tourist card at the airport in mainland Ecuador which is USD $ 20. The Galapagos Islands National Park fee is USD $ 100. These must be paid in cash US Dollars.
Guests visiting the Galapagos must provide proof of medical insurance coverage that is valid for the duration of the stay, otherwise entry may be denied. This process started from July 22, 2018. Please send us a scanned copy of the medical insurance certificate before the start of your trip and carry it along with your passport in case you are asked for it during immigration.
A yellow fever vaccination and malaria tablets are recommended for travelers visiting jungles. For visiting the Quito region in Ecuador, you do not need any vaccinations.
Your country’s government may have its own vaccination regulations and recommendations. Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date: influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, measles/mumps/ rubella (MMR) and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT).
Important information: The Zika virus and dengue fever are spread by mosquito bites from the Aedes mosquito found in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Ecuador. Symptoms may include mild fever, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and general feeling of illness that begins 2-7 days after infection. It’s reported that four out of five people infected show no symptoms at all. There’s no vaccination for Zika. The best protection is preventing bites by using mosquito repellent (preferably with DEET), wearing long-sleeve shirts, long pants and a hat while in affected areas. We recommend that you consult your doctor before traveling.
Since Quito is located at an altitude of 2,850 m (9,359 ft), altitude sickness can be an issue if you ascend too quickly. It’s difficult to determine who may be affected since there are no specific factors (age, gender or physical condition) correlated with susceptibility. Acclimation generally takes 1-2 days. Our tailor-made trips are planned in a way to guard against this. We also recommend that you take it slow so that your body can adapt to the height gradually without causing strain.
We highly encourage you to purchase travel insurance for your trip. We also advise you to purchase international travel health insurance, should you fall ill during your trip or require medical help or hospitalization. For more information on insurance, visit travelguard.com.
Languages spoken in Ecuador and Galapagos
Owing to its long colonial history, Spanish is the most commonly spoken and official language in Ecuador and Galapagos. However, visitors will find that English too is spoken nearly everywhere in the country. The Indian population of Ecuador speak Quichua, and there are also ten other native languages spoken throughout the country.
Please note that during your vacation, we will ensure that you have access to English-spoken guides everywhere. Your personal Trip Coordinator will be available to assist you around the clock throughout, should you need anything during your vacation with us.
Tipping, money exchange and currency in Ecuador and Galapagos
US dollar is the official currency of Ecuador and Galapagos, adopted as the national currency by the government in the year 2000.
Cash and cards
While only a few merchants and vendors accept debit cards, you can always use to withdraw money from ATMs which are available everywhere in larger cities. In rural areas however, ATMs may not easily available. Please note that most ATMs have a maximum daily withdrawal of USD $ 200 – 400, depending on the bank. Your Enchanting Travels guide or chauffeur will be able to direct you to trusted withdrawal facilities and help you exchange currency should you need to do this.
All major credit cards are accepted, although Mastercard and Visa are most widely accepted while Diners Club and American Express are accepted in only a few establishments.
Please note that it is not mandatory to tip in Ecuador and is entirely up to you. Should you wish to tip however, 10% of the bill is perfect alright at restaurants while USD 6 – 10 is acceptable for your chauffeur or guide.
Ecuador Vacation: Beyond the Galapagos
What if we were to tell you that there is much more to discover in Ecuador than the Galapagos? Let's take you on a journey that goes far beyond Darwin's islands.
Top 10 Reasons To Visit The Galapagos Islands
Looking to explore truly enchanting places on your customized South America tours? An archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean and west of continental Ecuador, we provide our top 10 reasons to visit the Galapagos Islands.
Ecuador – Amazon, Mainland & Galapagos
15 Days: $ 10,390 / person
Ecuador: Galapagos, Traditions and Chocolate
14 Days: $ 9,190 / person
Amazonian Getaway, Devil’s Nose and Cuenca
11 Days: $ 5,590 / person
Located 1400 km west of mainland Ecuador and reached by small boats, the Galapagos Islands are a strictly protected, beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Cotopaxi province of Ecuador is home to what German explorer Alexander von Humboldt coined 'The Avenue of Volcanoes' and contains some of the most dramatic mountain scenery of the…
Guayaquil, the 'Pearl of the Pacific' is Ecuador's largest city and an important trading center of this small Andean country.
Otavalo is a quaint and largely indigenous town in the Imbabura province to the north of Quito.
Located in northeast Ecuador, the UNESCO site of Yasuni Biosphere Reserve and National Park is one of few places in the world where plant, mammal, amphibian, and bird species all…
This was our first experience with Enchanting Travels, chosen by our search on the web. We are very pleased with the overall services.
What a great team Olivia, Our Travel Consultant, and Nancy, our Trip Coordinator, made for our Galapagos trip. All our accommodations and transportation were taken care of and we had a worry free vacation.
Our trip to The Galápagos was booked through Enchanting Travels. We cannot fault them. Everything was organized to the last detail. We will certainly be looking to them for any future travel.
Do you have a vacation in mind? Personalize your itinerary with our Trip Builder.