Andy and Carolyn's Contact info: We recommend that you download an app called WhatsApp in order to easily contact us while in country (if you are connected to wifi or have data). Carolyn: +593 984463431 Andy +593 988396997
1. Ecuador is on the US dollar so no need to change currency.
2. Make sure your passport is valid for up to 6 months after your arrival date (If you arrive September 25th it has to be valid until March 25th at least.
3. In the airport make sure you have the name/address of your hotel to fill out the immigrations card on where you are staying during time in-country. If you are traveling around afterwards, the address of just one hotel will suffice.
4. Also have the address of the hotel handy for the taxi driver. After you pass through customs there are loads of people right at the door offering taxis and rides. If your hotel does not arrange airport pick up, that is fine! I recommend that you go out to the street where there is an official taxi stop (someone with a clipboard and a walkie talkie that will offer you a taxi). The good thing about this is that they will tell you a price before you even get in the cab as they have a fixed rate for all areas. A taxi to Quito will be around $30. For budget travelers there is a bus also just outside the airport that takes you to Rio Coca terminal in the north of Quito. From there the taxi to your hotel will be much cheaper. The bus only runs until 10pm.
5. Packing: The weather in the mountains can be a bit confusing! The Andean sun can be quite hot (and burn you) during the day but at night it will get chilly! Temperatures range from the 70's to the 50's (F) in just one day. My best suggestion is to layer up. Short sleeves and pants for the day time and sweaters and jackets for the night time. If you get too cold you can always pop over to the Artisanal Market in La Mariscal which has an endless selection of alpaca gloves, scarves, shawls, jackets, and more!
6. Please use only marked taxis while in Ecuador. There are certain apps you can download as well such as UBER and EZTaxi that work in Quito!
Ideas for things to see:
Since Andy and I will be busy with wedding prep/visiting family we want to give you some ideas on places to go and things to see. Your hotel front desk should be able to help with further instructions/guidance for all of these places:
1. Centro historico- Quito's old town is full of beautiful architecture, old churches, and shops and restaurants. You can easily spend a whole day here touring around and visiting the "Virgin" which is a huge statue on a hill that you can actually get into and go up to the top for a spectacular view. If you decide to go to the Virgen, please take a taxi. Walking up the hill might not seem so far, but its known to be a bit more dodgy than other areas.
2. La Mitad del Mundo: Want to straddle the equator?! The Mitad del Mundo is the place for you. With a line marking the equator running through the middle of a complex filled with museums, shops, and restaurants, Ecuador's equator line is a must see. You can also bypass the Mitad del Mundo's larger complex and go to Museo Intiñan which is rumored to be the true equatorial line!
3. Parque Carolina, Parque Metropolitano, or Parque Itchimbia. All of these parks are beautiful and located in the city of Quito. Carolina has many offerings including a botanical garden, planetarium, and paddle boats while the other two parks are more meant for hikes and strolls.
4. Day trip: Papallacta hot springs. You can easily visit the hot springs for a day trip. They are about 1.5 hours outside of the city and quite nice! I would recommend "Termas de Papallacta" over any of the other pools.
5. Otavalo: Otavalo is also a close by town (about 2 hours) that can be done in a day. Known for its market on Saturdays, Otavalo is a great spot to fulfill all of your souvenir needs
6. Quilotoa: The Quilotoa crater lake is a bit further way - about 4 hours total between two buses. It is definitely worth the drive as the neon blue water is breathtaking (as well as the altitude)!
7. Any other types of tours you would like to do before or after the big day would surely be worth your while! Some good companies are http://www.turismundial.com/ecuador.html or https://pachajourneys.com.ec