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Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

1. Climate

Ecuador sits on the equator in the tropical climate belt, and is a relatively small country compared to the other South American countries. Despite the country’s size and location, there are still major regional differences in Ecuador’s climate. This is because the landscape also varies a lot due to the high Andes Mountains, the lush Amazon Rainforest, the warm coastline and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The Andes Mountains:
In Quito and the Andes Mountains, you can expect warm, sunny days in the period from June to September. In the period from October to May, more rain will fall in the mountains. Often, it will be sunny in the morning, and in the afternoon, the clouds and rain make their way over the mountains.

Weather statistics for Quito: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 21 20 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 21 21
Average minimum temperature 10 11 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 10 10 10
Rainfall mm 104 120 155 179 122 52 38 31 59 112 128 111

The Amazon:

The Amazon Rainforest is always warm and humid. Expect powerful rainfall all year round, so remember to bring rain clothes.

Weather statistics for Tena: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 31 31 30 30 29 29 29 29 30 31 31 31
Average minimum temperature 23 23 23 23 23 22 22 22 22 23 23 23
Rainfall mm 112 130 153 174 160 133 99 85 104 135 137 125

Ecuador’s Pacific coast:
In the low-lying coastal areas of Ecuador by the Pacific Ocean, the weather is typically hot. The period from January to April is the hottest and wettest season with powerful showers. Between May and December, the temperature at the coast drops a few degrees and it rarely rains.

Weather statistics for Guayaquil: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 31 31 32 32 31 30 29 30 30 30 31 32
Average minimum temperature 24 24 24 24 23 22 21 21 21 21 22 23
Rainfall mm 167 266 227 142 51 23 10 1 1 4 16 41

The Galapagos Islands:

On the Galapagos Islands, the wet, warm season is from January to June. This period is considered to be the peak season. The weather is generally sunny with short, powerful showers in the afternoon. There is not much wind, and the sea is warm and calm in this period.

The cold, dry season is from July to December. Here, the water temperature in particular drops a few degrees, and a wetsuit may be needed if you want to go snorkelling. While the weather is still sunny and hot, the sea may be less calm.

However, it is certainly not a bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands. The animal life here is exciting all year, and you can experience the islands’ utterly fantastic animal life any month.

Weather statistics for Galapagos: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 29 30 31 30 29 28 26 26 26 26 27 28
Average minimum temperature 23 23 23 23 23 22 21 20 20 20 21 22
Rainfall mm 83 107 106 95 42 33 19 10 8 11 13 52
2. Form of travel

Excursions and arrival transfers take place in small international groups with English-speaking guides.

3. When is it best to travel to Ecuador?

Ecuador can be visited all year round. Most visitors come to Ecuador in the period from June to September, and again from December to January, when many Americans and Europeans are on holiday.
Peak season on the Galapagos Islands is from January to June – in the warm and wet season.

This relatively small country nonetheless has major regional differences in its climate. Check what the weather is like in the areas you plan to visit on your tour of Ecuador under our “Climate” section.

4. Terms and conditions

Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from Llamatours.co.uk. Click here to read our terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

5. Mandatory travel insurance

Upon arrival into Galapagos, travelers must be able to provide a certificate or insurance certificate indicating travel insurance cover. Travel insurance must be valid throughout the stay.

We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their trip.

In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.

6. Language

Spanish is the language spoken in Ecuador, but the people are very helpful and love the chance to use the English words they know. In more rural regions, however, English speakers may be few and far between, which is why we use bilingual (English/Spanish) guides. It is a good idea to end questions and queries with the words ‘por favor’, which mean ‘please’. Another good word to know is ‘gracias’ – which means ‘thank you’ and is sure to prove useful in many situations.

7. Vaccinations

We always advise that you contact a specialist, your GP or an authorized vaccination clinic. You can also read more about the rules for travel & vaccinations at the central NHS Fit for Travel website: here

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another South or Central American country where yellow fever is present.

Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. So be sure to bring your vaccination certificate with you in these cases.

8. Visa

UK citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days, although you must be in possession of a valid passport – in the same way as for other international travel. The requirements on the validity of the passport may vary, but as a rule of thumb your passport must be valid for at least six months after you return home.

The rules on visas can be checked on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

Of course, you are also welcome to ask us for advice.

If you are travelling via the US, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via the United States, you must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Without ESTA, you will not be allowed to travel through the United States. Apply for the travel authorization in good time at least 72 hours before your departure to the US. ESTA costs 14 USD per person and all travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply via the following link: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. You should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your ESTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new ESTA.

If you have you travelled in Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria on 1 March 2011 or later, you must apply for a visa at the American Embassy. You cannot apply for ESTA. The same applies if you have dual nationality in Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.

If you are travelling via Canada, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via Canada, you must apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Without eTA, you will not be allowed to travel through Canada. Apply for the travel authorization in good time. eTA costs 7 CAD per person and all travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply via the following link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.aspYou should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your eTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new eTA.

9. Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Go to www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ to view the currently applicable exchange rate. There are cashpoint machines (ATMs) almost everywhere. You can also use most common credit cards at hotels and in many shops and restaurants. Once again, however, the farther out into the country you travel, the harder it may be to use your credit card. Please note that you can only use cash for tipping on the cruise ships during the visit to the Galápagos Islands.

10. Price level

In general, the price level in Ecuador is lower than in the UK.

It is cheaper to eat out, however, there are food and drinks at all price ranges. For example, in Quito you can get the dish of the day and a glass of juice for approx. 3 USD at local lunch restaurants. However, if you eat at finer restaurants, the price ranges from 8-10 USD and up for a main course.

We recommend the potato soup Locro de Papa, an Ecuadorian speciality. You can find it on almost every menu at a price of about 3-4 USD.

On the Galapagos Islands, the price level is higher than on the mainland.

11. Tipping

Below are some guidelines for tipping in Ecuador, and you can always decide for yourself if you would like to follow it. Tipping is voluntary and should only be given if you have received good service.

In Ecuador, there is a custom of tipping hotel staff and at restaurants. Note that some restaurants already add 10% on top of the bill. Where this is the case, you do not need to pay an additional tip. On tours, it is customary for each guest to give the guide around 5-10 USD and the driver around 3-5 USD per day.

If you are visiting the Amazon, the level is at approx. 8-10 USD for the guide and approx. 3-5 USD to the crew (total) per person per day. Tips for the guide are given directly to the guide after the last excursion, and tips for the crew are placed in a tips box at the reception.

If you are going on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, the tipping level is a little higher. Here, we recommend giving the guide approx. 10-15 USD per person per day and the crew approx 5-10 USD per person per day. You will receive 2 envelopes the day before departure: One envelope for tips for the guide, which you hand over personally, and one envelope for tips for the rest of the crew. This envelope is placed in a tips box.

12. Time difference

The difference between Central European Time (CET) and the time in Ecuador varies, depending on whether Europe is on summer or winter time.
Summer time: Ecuador: – 7 hours. The Galápagos Islands: – 8 hours. This means that when it is noon CET, it is 05.00 in Ecuador and 04.00 in the Galápagos Islands.
Winter time: Ecuador: – 6 hours. The Galápagos Islands: – 7 hours.

13. Electricity

Mains electricity in Ecuador is 110 V, and the local plugs have two flat pins. This means you will need to take a travel adapter with you.

14. Telephone and Internet

The international country code for Ecuador is +593. It can be expensive to call home from Ecuador. Check coverage and prices for calls using your own mobile service provider.

There is Wi-Fi at all the hotels, either in the reception or in the rooms. Note that the Wi-Fi signal outside larger cities and on the Galapagos Islands may be unstable.

15. Safety

Whenever you travel to a poor country anywhere in the world, it is important to be discreet. It is not a good idea to flaunt your valuables or to leave them unattended. We work exclusively with properly trained, experienced and certified guides, who can always provide you with good advice about safety, and know precisely where it is safe for you to walk/visit. If you follow your guide’s instructions you should always be able to stay out of trouble.

16. Food and drink

The cuisine of Ecuador features a good deal of fish and seafood. One of the local delicacies is ‘ceviche’ – raw fish marinated in lime juice. Many places also serve Guinea pig, which has been considered a delicacy since Inca times. There are all kinds of fresh and tasty fruit juices to try as well.

17. Public holidays

It is always special to experience the traditions and celebrations of other countries. Below is a list of public holidays, important festivals and other special occasions.

Please note that some museums and attractions may be closed on these days.

18. Flight reservations and airline tickets

We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport. If you find any mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.

Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.

19. Service letter

Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.

So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.

20. Seat reservation, upgrades and extra legroom

The airline will assign you a seat on board the aircraft upon check-in. If you have specific wishes, you can make a seat reservation via the airline’s website. Most airlines have an area on their website named “manage my booking” or similar. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation, so it’s a good idea to have your payment card ready when starting a seat reservation. Airline seat reservations vary from company to company, but as a general rule, you can book seats from around 48 hours before departure.

Many airlines also offer upgrades with extra legroom or comfort seating, such as Economy Comfort with KLM and Premium Voyageur with Air France. You can check these details through the airline’s own website, along with payment information.

Please kindly note that airlines have full access to all seats on the aircraft and therefore always reserve the right to alter a reservation.

If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will issues your seating upon check-in at the airport.

21. Your luggage

We work with many different airlines to Ecuador, so there may be variations in the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring with you as both checked luggage and hand luggage. Check the information about this on your airline ticket, and contact us if you have any questions.

You should also make sure you carry all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

You may find yourself sitting in a draught from the air conditioning in the plane, so make sure to pack a warm jumper or jacket in your hand luggage.

22. Transfers to and from airports

On arrival at the different airports in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, you will be met by our local representative who will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with a sign bearing your name. You will naturally also be driven to the airport on departure. You will be informed of your pick-up time when you arrive in Ecuador.

23. Travellers with reduced mobillity

Please note, our tours are generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.

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