Last updated: 20 Apr 2018

Ecuador

About

Bisected by the equator, one part lying in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern, Ecuador is a land divided into three distinct geological regions - Sierra, Oriente and Costa. These regions seem like three different planets squeezed into one tiny country. In addition, Ecuador controls the Galapagos Islands, which is even more like a distant universe. Cotopaxi - the world's highest active volcano - is one of the best mountains to start your climbing career. The climb doesn't require previous experience, but you need to be very fit and accustomed to high altitude. One of the world's most enticing destinations, the remote Pacific islands are full of unique creatures that you can't find anywhere else in the world. The ultimate experience is swimming with the giant Galapagos tortoises.
Capital:  Quito (UIO)
Currency:  US Dollar (USD)
Language:  Spanish. Quichua (Kichwa) is widely spoken. Some English may be spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 593
Time Zones: UTC / GMT -5 (7 hours behind South Africa).
In Galapagos: UTC / GMT -6 (8 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018: 

Jan 1; Feb 12, 13; Mar 30; May 1, 24; Aug 10; Oct 9; Nov 2, 3; Dec 25

Side of the Road:  Right.
Best time to go:  Year-round, depends largely on region. Andes is cold and damp year round, but the dry season (winter) is the best time to visit (June – September). For jungle treks, August – November is the dry season and the best time to travel. The Galapagos is best during the rainy season (December – May). February - April and September - November are off season in Ecuador and the rates will be lower. 
Best for:  Galapagos, Ecotourism
Plugs:  120 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs used are American-style (two perpendicular flat blades with or without a circular grounding pin).
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Milk is unpasteurised.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Outside of the main cities and on the Galapagos Islands, medical facilities are more limited and emergency repatriation may be required. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. Preventative measures against mosquito bites should be taken. 
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Dress is casual, but should be conservative. Ask permission before taking photographs of people.
Local Offences  /Laws: Identification should be carried at all times. 
Travel Tips / Warnings:  Check the local political situation before travelling – there have been some disruptions due to political protests.  Travel to the areas surrounding the Colombian border should be avoided. There are active volcanos – check before travelling to these areas as there have been recent eruptions.  On the Galapagos Islands, only Mastercard is accepted.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Ecuador without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes and 25 cigars and 500g of tobacco
• 3L of alcohol
• 300ml of perfume or 600ml per family
• Gifts and personal effects up to US$500
Prohibited Imports: Prior permission is required for the import of fresh or dry meat, uncanned meat products and all plants and vegetables.
Prohibited Exports: Gold bars, antiques, narcotics, and wild animals and their parts.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador
Second Floor, South Block
Brookfield Office Park
272 Bronkhorst Street,
Brooklyn, Pretoria, 0181
Tel: (012) 346 1662 Fax: (012) 346 7082
E-mail: cecupretoria@mmrree.gob.ec 
Hours: Mon-Fri 0830 - 1800

Visa Requirements

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SA Representative

Representative accredited from Lima, Peru.

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk