Spanish, the official language of Ecuador, and it is understood by about 95 percent of the population. Many people working in the tourist industry also speak English, while most are tolerant and appreciative of tourists’ attempts to communicate in Spanish. Many Ecuadorians also speak an indigenous language, particularly in rural areas.
The United States dollar (US$) is the official currency of Ecuador, with other bank notes not usually accepted for purchases. Currency can be exchanged at the airport or at casas de cambio (exchange bureaus). ATMs are the best way to get cash and they are common across the nation, dispensing multiples of US $1. It is a good idea to carry a separate stash of small bills as many small businesses and transportation providers have trouble changing anything over a US $10. MasterCard and Visa cards are widely accepted, but Amex and Diners cards less so.
Mainland Ecuador is on Ecuador time (ECT), five hours behind GMT (GMT -5). The Galapagos Islands observe Galapagos time (GALT), which is six hours behind GMT (GMT -6).
Ecuador has electricity at 120V/60Hz, with two-pronged type A and B sockets. Travelers who wish to use electrical appliances that use a different voltage will require a transformer and an adaptor. Devices from North America usually work fine.
The dialing code for Ecuador is +593 and area code for Quito is 2. The three mobile companies are Alegro, Claro and Movistar, although VoIPs are cheaper. Internet cafés are common have usually have good connections at reasonable rates. Some restaurants, bars and hotels offer free Wi-Fi.
International passengers can purchase duty-free alcohol, tobacco, and perfume subject to the following allowances: up to 300 cigarettes or 200 gm of tobacco, one liter of spirits, a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use, and gifts up to the value of US $200.
Ecuador Ministry of Tourism (Quito): +593-2-250-7559 or http://www.ecuador.travel/
Consulates in Ecuador
US Embassy, Quito: +593-2-256-2890 Australia Consulate, Guayaquil: +593-4-601-7259 Embassy of Canada, Quito: +593-2-245-5499 British Embassy in Quito: +593-2-297-0800
Emergency services: 911 Police: 101 Fire: 102