Ecuador is one of the most economical countries of Latin America.
Here the lodging, meals and transportation are of good quality at
a low cost, compared with other countries of the region. The US dollar
is the official currency of the country. Credit cards are accepted
in more and more places, but cash remains king. The locals especially
favor low denomination bills and you may find it difficult to change
bills of $20 and up.
You can get by in Ecuador with:
Low Budget: from $15
Medium Budget: from $30 - $60
High budget: $100 and up
Budget for meals
You can usually get a good meal at a restaurant for between
$5 - $7. Also you could find good food and quality in lower prices
but you might sacrifice quality. Nevertheless, there are places where
a complete meal may be had for between $3 - $5. Of course, luxury
restaurants charge from $15 and up, per person, for a meal. Check
out our restaurant Review section, where we suggested some nicer (and
usually pricier) places.
There is great variety of hotels, hosterías and inns in the
country, which offer an array of prices. You can find a clean and
comfortable place for between $10 - $20 per person, per night (which
may or may not include breakfast). Most of the more desirable lodging
goes for between $15 - $70 per night. Sometimes prices are quoted
per person, sometimes for per room for two people. Be sure to ask!
Also be sure to ask if your room has private bath, hot water or other
desired amenities. At the bottom end, there are backpacker haunts
which offer simple accommodations for as little as $5 per night.
Transport offers one of the best values in Ecuador. A bus ride in
a city like Quito costs just 25¢. The minimum taxi ride, good
for most short zips around town costs $1. Prices go up at night to
$2 for the minimum cab ride, at which time drivers stop using their
meter. Other rides have standard tariffs. From downtown Quito, an
airport trip is $4 while a journey to the outskirts of town, such
as to the Middle of the World monument runs between $8 - $10. Especially
at night, when the meter won't be running, it is best to clarify the
charge in advance. Also, check during the day to make sure cabbies
use their meter, the word for which is metro.
Your bills for just about anything you buy will come with a 12% surcharge
known as IVA. This is a national sales tax. For smaller items-a street
side meal or taxi ride, IVA is not charged. Get a receipt whenever
you are being charged IVA. For lodging, food and beverage tabs, you
will often find another 10% tacked on for service. Menus will often
advise you that prices do not include 22% for IVA y service.
If you pay 10% service, technically that is the gratuity, although
you may want to tack on an additional tip of 5% or so. Gratuities
are left to your discretion, but are obviously a nice gesture when
you receive good service.
Ecuador is not a particularly dangerous country. However, like in
most places, thieves are waiting to prey on the careless traveler.
Therefore always takes the appropriate precautionary measures. A secure
and confident attitude will help make sure that maladaptives
do not approach you. Treat others cordially but not intimately, especially
people you don't know anything about.
Always keep a copy of your documents
with you. Take precaution and make copies of your important documents
for you to carry with you and leave the originals in a safe place
in your hotel room or wherever you are staying. If your stay is short,
always take your passport with you. But if you plan to stay in Ecuador
for a long period of time, you should try to get an official copy
of your passport. Immediately report any lost passport to your embassy.
·Always take travelers checks or credit
cards so that you don't have to carry large sums of money.
Your most important documents and money should always be kept on you.
·Do not exchange money in the streets. Do
so in a bank or in your hotel.