Travelling To Ecuador? Here are Some Facts About the Country
The name 'Ecuador' is Spanish for 'Republic of the Equator'. It is used in reference to the fact that this South American country is almost dissected by half by the geographical Equator.
The country is neighbor to Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The country's capital, Quito, was declared a World Heritage Center by UNESCO in 1970's for being the most historic and unaltered Latin America City.
If you are thinking of travelling to the country, you will need to know the following:
1. Get Vaccinated - You do not want your trip to this tropical country ruined by diseases. Like all tropical countries, water borne diseases and insect transmitted diseases are easily contracted. With immunization, you will have taken care of this.
2. Beware the high altitude - Some Ecuadorian cities such as Cuenca are nestled on high altitude (8301 FT). This might not be ideal for people suffering from asthma.
3. Get ready for a culture shock - Things are done differently in Ecuador. I mean, life is a little bit slower, women are not equal to men (but are not treated shabbily), people love politicians more than the entertainers etc.
4. The weather is tropical - Ecuador is sunny throughout the year. True, there will be some showers in some months, but the temperature will still be around 28 degrees centigrade. The country has equal days and nights.
5. Crime - Keep to the beaten path and this should not be an issue for you. Pick pockets and robbers abound in the back alleys.
6. Things are cheaper - Do not be surprised to pay just $80 per night for accommodation in a five star hotel. Your money will probably buy you more services and goods than it will in your country of origin.
7. Macho Culture - Are you a woman and are bothered by the catcalls? Then dress conservatively. What passes as harassment in the States is laughed off in Ecuador.
8. Carry your sunscreen lotion, sun glasses, and hats. The sun is rich and good for tanning at daybreak and at around 5PM to 7 PM. Midday Sun can burn your skin.
9. Get a knowledgeable local - If you really want to explore the Ecuadorian countryside, getting a knowledgeable and honest local is better than paying top dollar to a tour company.
10. Mix with the locals - True, you will get better services in a touristy hotel, but mixing with the locals in their local haunts will give you a more true insight into the Ecuadorian way of life than in the tourist hotel.
Enjoy the weather and culture. Enjoy the natural attractions and nightlife. Beware, you might be tempted to stay on forever...ask around and you will realize there are many people who went to Ecuador as vacationers but ended up becoming its citizens.