Read general information about Ecuador from the US Department of State

Accommodations:

The accommodations we use are generally double occupancy with private bathroom and include breakfast. We only stay in places we have personally approved and base our decisions on elements such as comfort, safety, location, views and how delicious breakfast is and we prefer to support locally owned businesses when available. If you are traveling alone, welcome! We do our best to pair each independent traveler with a tour-mate of the same sex and won't charge you a single supplement fee unless you elect to have your own room. If you would like to request your own room for an additional charge, just let us know when you book and we'll be happy to arrange it for you.

Please note that the pictures below show the level of lodging we will be using and final plans will be based on availability and group size. If we're not in the hotel/hacienda pictured, we'll be in one similar or better. We will provide you with your specific lodging list when you receive your final itinerary if you would like to leave contact information for friends and family.
Quito:
Otavalo:
Mindo
Cotopaxi:
Chugchilan/Quilotoa Loop:
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Altitude:

At just over 9,000ft, Quito qualifies in the High Altitude range for medical purposes. Please consult your doctor if you have a condition that can be escalated or affected in any way by activity at high altitude. We arrange our itineraries to include light activity for the first couple of days but that doesn't guarantee that you will not feel the affects of altitude.

Altitude sickness is a commonly occurring set of symptoms caused by lower concentrations of oxygen in the air at high altitudes. Symptoms can feel like a bad hangover and include nausea, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, headache and decreased appetite. Altitude sickness generally dissipates as your body acclimatizes but it can also be more serious and deadly if symptoms worsen or expand instead of decrease. Remaining well-hydrated can help alleviate and prevent symptoms so we recommend making sure you start paying careful attention to your water intake (at least 3L per day) at home before you depart and continue to do so while you are here. Also, stay away from alcoholic beverages while traveling to Ecuador and at least for the first few days that you are here as this can lead to an exacerbation of symptoms. There are some medications that can help with altitude symptoms; we suggest talking to your doctor before you travel to find out more. Altitude sickness can affect anyone regardless of age or fitness level so don't assume you won't be affected. To find out more, check out WebMd's brief summary of symptoms, suggestions and resources and an informational article from Princeton

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Deposit & Cancellation Policy

All of our trips require a significant amount of planning and (wo)man power. In order to plan your trip accordingly we require a deposit of $850 when you book with us to guarantee your spot. This deposit is non-refundable. Final payments are due 60 days prior to departure.
Cancellation penalties are as follows:
We strongly recommend that you purchase a travel insurance plan that covers many reasons for cancellations (typically included in the required emergency medical travel insurance) so that you do not suffer a loss in these sometimes unavoidable and unfortunate situations.

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Packing:

A large backpack is the preferable type of luggage for this trip as they are easy for you to handle and will generally hold everything you need. Large rolling suitcases are also fine and at the end of the day, we recommend packing in whichever container you feel most comfortable managing yourself. A smaller daypack will be sufficient for our daily activities and we highly recommend having a money belt for your credit cards, cash, and documents. Please note that we allow one "checked luggage" and one "carry-on" piece per guest. You will be charged an excess baggage fee for extra baggage. Leave the expensive jewelry and valuables at home, you won't need them here! We will provide a suggested packing list for your itinerary after you have booked with us but to satisfy your curiosity now, here is our general list of Recommended Items:

First some things to LEAVE AT HOME:
Things to BRING WITH YOU: Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive. We will send you an itinerary-specific list with more detail once you have booked with us.

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Passports & Vaccinations:

Ecuador automatically grants visitors from many countries (including the USA) a 90-day tourist visa each year which requires no effort on your part and makes entering to visit this amazing country EASY and STRESS FREE! That being said, you are responsible for all visas, permits, necessary health requirements, and any other documents as required by laws, regulations and orders of the countries you visit. All passengers traveling to South America need a Passport, valid for 6 months beyond the conclusion of their trip, and with appropriate visas according to the policy of each country of residence. Please visit the website for the Washington DC Ecuadoran Embassy for more details.

Need to apply for your passport? See the State Department Requirements

Please see your local medical professional to make sure you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations (and bring copies of this documentation with you to present to your trip leader). Your doctor should also be consulted for information on altitude sickness and preventive medication and/or pre-existing conditions that may affect which activities are appropriate and safe for you.

For a list of recommended vaccinations for Ecuador, see the CDC Traveler's Health Page

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Safety:

Your safety is of the utmost importance. We will do what is possible on our end to ensure your comfort and safety while traveling abroad. Don't let this issue stress you out; most of the people we've encountered in this amazing country are warm, friendly and welcoming! However, it is also important to practice some common sense in order to avoid drawing unwanted attention and to safeguard your valuables...just as you would in many large cities in the US!



We also recommend that you bring copies of all important documents with you (especially passports) and keep them in a separate location from the originals. Even better, scan copies of the documents and send them to yourself in an email so that you may access them electronically at any time.

We will be providing more safety tips and reminders when you arrive and are available any time before your trip if you have any questions or concerns.

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Insurance:

To support stress-free, smart travel, we REQUIRE our guests to have travelers insurance with medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage at a minimum. We recommend extending your coverage to include loss of personal items, cancellations, personal liability, etc. Please visit the following links to compare some popular companies or consult your travel agent:



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Weather:

Although Ecuador is on the equator, the highlands can get pretty chilly at night year round so come prepared with layers. There are two main seasons here, rainy and dry. The dry season in the Ecuadorian Andes is from June-September which also coincides with the most popular tourist season and also tends to be windy in the highlands, cloudy on the coast. While the second half of the year is known as the rainy season, this typically manifests as afternoon showers and is also the season of less wind for the highlands and more sun on the coast. With appropriate sun protection and layered clothing, you can easily be comfortable and prepared for whatever the Andes bring your way. See what Lonely Planet has to say about when to visit Ecuador and check out Weather Underground for current weather conditions.

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