Last updated: 20 Sep 2021

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 2021: 

Jan 1; Feb 15, 16; Apr 2, 30; May 1, 24; Aug 9; Oct 8, 9; Nov 1, 2; Dec 24, 25, 31

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.

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 15/09/2021

Ecuador is open for international travel with some health measures in place. Passengers may be subject to a rapid antigen test and quarantine on arrival.

Form requirements

  • Passengers are required to hold a completed 'Formulario Migratorio Especial' (Special Migratory Form') form on arrival.
  • Passengers travelling to the Galapagos Islands must hold a traffic control card (tarjeta de control de tránsito) issued by the Government Council of Galapagos.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged 2 and over, travelling from countries other than Brazil and India, must hold a negative PCR  test result tested within 72 hours before boarding their flight. If passengers have been diagnosed with Covid-19 for more than a month but continue to have a positive PCR test result, they will be permitted to enter Ecuador provided holding a medical certificate issued in their country of origin stating that they are in good health.
  • The testing requirements does not apply to:
    • Passengers holding a vaccination certificate, which proves that they have received the complete Covid-19 vaccine doses,
    • Passengers aged under 2 years old,
    • Transit passengers,
    • Crew members.
  • Passengers aged 2 and older travelling from Brazil or India must hold a negative PCR test result tested within 72 hours before boarding. Passengers who have had Covid-19 at least a month prior to travel and continue to test positive must hold a medical certificate issued in their country of origin that guarantees their state of health, as long as they do not have symptoms.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Crew members;
    • Passengers in transit.
  • Passengers aged 2 and older travelling to the Galapagos Islands must hold a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival. Passengers aged 16 years and older must hold the test and a vaccination card showing the passenger was fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to travel. Tests taken in Ecuador must have been obtained from a laboratory recognized by the Agency for Quality Assurance of Health Services and Prepaid Medicine (ACESS). Passengers who have had Covid-19 at least a month prior to travel and continue to test positive must hold a medical certificate issued in their country of origin that guarantees their state of health, as long as they do not have symptoms.

Quarantine requirements

  • Passengers aged 2 years and older travelling from or having transited through Brazil or India must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
    • This does not apply to passengers holding a vaccination card showing that they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to travel.
  • Passengers showing symptoms of Covid-19 on arrival in Ecuador will be subject to a Rapid Antigen Test. If a positive result is received, the passenger must quarantine for 10 days at their home or in accommodation at their own expense. Passengers who receive a negative result do not need to quarantine.

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

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 
E-mail: cecupretoria@mmrree.gob.ec 
Hours: Mon-Fri 0900 -1600

Visa Requirements

South African passport holders do not require a tourist visa to visit Ecuador for a period of up to 90 days. However, it is required that your passport be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel to Ecuador. Additionally, we do not require any specific vaccinations prior to entering the country. While there is no entry fee upon your arrival to Ecuador, we do require all passengers pay an Airport Tax of about USD40 on departure.

  • If travelling on Business, Study purposes, etc. please enquire via email the requirements and procedures to follow.
  • In order to ensure the best attention and confidentiality of the applicant’s personal data, all information with regard to applications for a Tourist Visa to Ecuador MUST be requested ONLY by email to cecupretoria@mmrree.gob.ec - for those who require a visa.
  • The Consular Section of the Embassy of Ecuador will also respond to enquiries and communicate the decisions about application for Visas ONLY by email.
  • Applicants outside South Africa or far from Pretoria will need to SEND ALL ORIGINAL DOCUMENTATION TO THIS EMBASSY VIA PREPAID POST or PREPAID COURIER SERVICE. NO documentation will be returned to sender if not sent via PREPAID post and/or PREPAID courier service.
  • The Embassy of Ecuador and its Consular Section will not be held responsible for any loss/damage/delay of ANY original documentation sent/received.
  • The Embassy of Ecuador and its Consular Section will not comment on any decision declining a Visa application.
  • All Visa applications MUST be requested by the applicant himself or herself. Only minors under 18 years-old can be represented by their parents or legal guardians.

SA Representative

Representative accredited from Lima, Peru.

Travel Health

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