For information on Visas & Travel Advisories, click HERE.
For Health & Safety Considerations, click HERE.
For information from International living on Retirement in Ecuador, click HERE.
Packing & Other Travel Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Time in Ecuador & the Galapagos
- Scan or copy your important documents – passport, identification cards, receipts (for insurance), credit cards, etc. Then send them to yourself or someone you trust. You can also save them on a flash drive, in Dropbox, or to the Cloud. You should also make photocopies of them and carry them with you.
- Be cell phone savvy. Avoid the shock of coming home to a gigantic bill from international roaming by employing one of the following strategies: enable airplane mode for the duration of your trip; set up international data roaming; take your SIM card out and only use free WI-FI connections (now offered in many hotels and restaurants in most countries); or unlock your phone before you leave (through your provider) and purchase a SIM card in your destination country. This last strategy is particularly effective if you will be in one spot for an extended period of time.
- Make an effort to speak some of the local language. It will allow you to interact with the people who know the sites and culture best, and people will genuinely appreciate the effort. Key words, such as Hello, Please, and Thank you will go a long way!
- Register with the Government of Canada before you leave. By registering online HERE, they can warn you of and assist with any issues that may come up.
- Get an International Driving Permit from CAA before you leave. Not only will it be helpful if you find yourself behind the wheel in your travels. It also acts as a solid piece of government issued identification (for example is a situation when you don’t want to leave your passport as collateral).
- Put together a Travel Health Kit, to have on hand in case any health issues arise. You may want to include basic first aid items, medications, your insurance plan details, as well as preventative items, such as insect repellent.
- Leave some key items out of your checked luggage, such as your toothbrush, deodorant, and a change of clothes. You won’t regret having a small backpack (something that will fit easily in the overhead compartment of the plane) with you for day tripping. Something to pack snacks, camera equipment and sunscreen when you’re out seeing the sites.
- Engage in local culture. The saying, “While in Rome do as the Romans” still applies today. Your trip provides a unique opportunity to explore a new culture and to see the world through a different perspective. Remember that eating local foods, shopping in local markets, and attending local festivals are all part of experiencing the culture.
- Buy local products and services. Choosing to support locally owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans means that you’ll have a one-of-a-kind experience and your money will go directly to the community. Before purchasing goods, ask about their origin. Avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources.
- Refrain from aggressive bargaining. It’s often difficult to know your limits in bargaining. Remember that the purchases you make directly affect vendors’ livelihoods, so decide if you really need to hang onto that extra dollar or if it could impact the vendor more.
- Have fun. Take the time to breathe in the beautiful moments deeply. That’s what travel is all about.
- Pack well – it’s worth taking the time. If you don’t use something at home, you likely won’t need it when you’re away. Pack as lightly as you can, while at the same time making sure you don’t forget any of the essentials for your trip, such sun block, any medications you may need or a good book. Consider what might make your trip more comfortable, such as ear plugs or a quick dry towel or reusable water bottle. Pack clothes that are comfortable and multi-purpose (noting that white is not highly recommended when traveling, particularly to more off-the-beaten-path locations…), so that you can dress up if you need to (like for Salsa dancing!). Try to pack things that don’t wrinkle easily. Last but not least, leave anything expensive or sentimental for you that you don’t absolutely need at home.Some essential items we recommend:
- Long pants (at least one light weight pair)
- Several t-shirts (include a long-sleeve)
- Sandals (waterproof recommended or water shoes) – noting rubber boots will be available during both the Amazon and the cloud forest hiking excursions
- A light sweater or two
- A few long pairs of socks (for use with rubber boots)
- A light rain jacket (fully waterproof), preferably with a hood
- Your favourite hat
- Comfortable walking/hiking boots/shoes/sandals (options are good…)
- A bathing suit
- Insect repellent (recommended with DEET)
- Sunscreen (recommended: 30 SPF)
- A camera with charger & memory card (with LOTS of space for photos and videos!)
- Binoculars (optional, but recommended)
- A good flashlight with lots of battery life/spare batteries
- A few colour photocopies of your passport & travel insurance
- A towel (quick dry is easiest)
- A basic first aid kit & any medications you may need
- A day pack – a small lightweight backpack to take on day trips, that can double as a carry on to pack a few essential items (clothing and otherwise) in the unlikely event that you lose your luggage
- Zippered plastic bags (to keep things dry that you want to stay dry)
- A major credit card (or two), and bank card for ATM withdrawals (noting that debit cards must say PLUS or Cirrus on the back in order to work internationally) – as opposed to travelers cheques, which can be more of a hassle on many levels
- Some cash, including small bills, for when you arrive
If in doubt about anything, CONTACT US, and we would be happy to help with any questions or suggestions!