Staying Safe in Ecuador

Jul 17th, 2008, 04:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9
Staying Safe in Ecuador

Hi Everyone,

Would you please answer a few questions?

1. What is the best way to have money available there. Travel checks? Credit cards?
2. Can you get cash from your debit card there?
3. How do you recognize a legit taxi driver/company from a rogue one?
4. Did you use public transportation to move between the cities? Not talking about flying.

I would appreciate any thoughts.
Thank you.
fotogeek is offline  
Jul 17th, 2008, 07:59 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,872
First, you do know Ecuador's currency is the U.S. dollar, right?

If you take cash with you, make sure you have nothing larger than $20 bills. There are so many counterfeit $50 and $100 bills in circulation that nobody will accept them as payment for any bill no matter what the amount.

Traveler's checks are difficult to spend. Most businesses will not accept them as payment. You can change them for dollars at casas de cambio (currency exhange houses) or branches of Banco de Guayaquil. Those are not everywhere.

Most upscale businesses accept Visa and Master Card. American Express is gaining acceptance too. Some businesses accept credit cards but not debit cards.

As long as your debit card has a Visa or Master Card logo, you should be able to get cash from ATMs. I've noticed Master Card is a little more common in this regard.

I was just there in March and am drawing a complete blank on what the taxis look like, but they are marked. You'll be able to recognize them.

If you're covering long distances, say Quito to Guayaquil, flying really is the way to go. It's not outragelously expensive on the mainland and saves a lot of hours over some pretty rough terrain.

Buses are fine for shorter distances. Watch your things.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9
Thank you very much.
fotogeek is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 252

Besides taking nothing larger than a twenty, you may also want to take a bunch of ones, fives and tens. Change is at a premium in Ecuador and for small purchases many stores won't take a twenty (You will run them out of all their change).

The one place you can always get change back, is the Mega Maxi stores. They will ask if you have anything smaller but in the end, they will give you change for a twenty even with a trivial purchase.

With respect to ATMs, I have always had trouble with Bank of Pichincha ATMs - they never would take my card (and I have tried different cards from different banks) but I was always able to get cash at non B of P ATMs.

Taxis - In the evening, have the restaurant / bar / etc. call you a taxi if you need one. During the day I would generally flag one down on the street, but after dark, I always had them call me a taxi.

On buses, don't put anything in the overhead racks. Generally the luggage storage compartment , under the bus, where the driver puts the suitcases is safe for your luggage, but anything you carry onto the bus should be kept in view at all times.

Have a great trip - Ecuador is a beautiful country.


eveningcrane is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 07:54 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,872
Ecuador does mint its own coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. They are the same size as their U.S. counterparts, and both circulate.

I find this a real oddity: you will frequently get the old Sacagawea dollar coins in change. They never caught on in the U.S., but they are used widely in Ecuador.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Aug 1st, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9
Thank you again for the very useful information.
fotogeek is offline  
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