Remember that your passport must be valid for at least another six months upon arrival in Ecuador. When you arrive in Ecuador, you get a T-3 visa stamp, which will allow you to stay in the country for 90 days. Do you plan to stay longer than 90 days? Please apply for a 12-IX visa at the Ecuadorian embassy in your home country, before you travel. This visa will cost you the local equivalent of $200 and will allow you to stay in the country for 180 days. Call your local embassy for current visa requirements.
If you have a correspondence in the United States, do not forget to request an ESTA form online before your departure!
Before leaving, consult your doctor for more information on required vaccinations and recommendations. Do not forget to bring the original of your yellow fever certificate and your vaccination card because they may ask you for them at the borders.
Make copies of your important documents and leave them with your contact person in your country. It’s also a good idea to scan your important documents and email them to yourself and your contact person in your country. This way, you will always have copies of the most important documents in your e-mail.
In Ecuador we use US dollars and the easiest way to get them is to withdraw them from an ATM. Check with your bank that all your debit and credit cards work in Ecuador and what your daily limit is. If you want to bring cash dollars from your home country, ask your bank to give you small bills, the largest denomination being $20. Few stores accept 50 or 100 dollar bills. It is useful to bring a credit card, especially in case of emergency. Check your credit limit with your bank beforehand because in the event of an emergency during a medical intervention, for example in a hospital or if you have to buy last-minute plane tickets, you will need an amount of $4,000.
In Ecuador, many free Wi-Fi hotspots are available, including in the school and in student houses. If you want to bring a phone, check that it is compatible with the Ecuadorian network. Most tri-band phones and all quad-band phones will work in Ecuador, but keep in mind that the voltage here is 110 volts, with a US plug (two flat plugs). You can buy a prepaid chip here to get an Ecuadorian phone number (+/- $7). Or you can buy a simple, cheap (+/- $40) phone. In Quito, it is very easy to find a telephone and Internet access. If you have a volunteer project, see your project description for this information.