To call Ecuador from another country, dial the country code of 593, then the area code, then the local number. Include the "0" at the beginning of the area code only when calling long distance within the country. Ecuador completed a nationwide transition to a uniform system of seven-digit local telephone numbers in 2003, but signs, business cards, and stationery (and people) outside Quito occasionally still give the former six-digit numbers. Old habits die hard. Ecuadorans say and write their phone numbers in a "four then three" grouping, for example 2222–001, rather than 222–2001.

Directory assistance, available only in Spanish, is available by dialing 104.

Most public phones accept phone cards, which you can purchase in many shops and newsstands. Some stores charge about 25 for a brief call on their private line; look for a sign in a window reading "teléfono" or "llamadas". Many Internet cafés have phones for public use.

An easier alternative is placing a call from an office of Andinatel, the country's national telephone company. Its Pacifictel division serves the coast, the Southern Highlands, and the Galápagos. You'll find offices in most cities and towns. Porta, Alegro, and Movistar, Ecuador's three mobile-phone companies, also operate local offices for placing calls in many communities. Most telephone offices are open daily 8 am–9 pm.

Telephone Offices

Andinatel. Av. Colón and Av. Amazonas, La Mariscal, Quito, Pichincha.

Andinatel. Calderón at Sucre, Otavalo, Imbabura.

Pacifictel. Benigno Malo at Presidente Córdova, Cuenca, Azuay.

Pacifictel. Ballén at Chile, Guayaquil, Guayas.

Pacifictel. Av. Padre Julio at Española, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos.

Ecuador's three cellular companies—Alegro, Movistar and Porta—have outlets in every major city and town in the country. All sell chips that can be used in an unlocked GSM mobile phone. Some outlets will sell new phones to you that can be used with their pre-paid calling cards. U.S. companies T-Mobile and AT&T have some coverage in Ecuador. Check with your hometown provider. The abundance of public telephones—they're usually coupled with Internet cafés—makes getting along without a cell phone a possibility, however.

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