Where will we be staying?
What sort of transportation will we be taking?
How much time will we be traveling from one site to another? We won't be traveling every day and when we do, we will be on the road or river from two to five hours.
How strenuous is the trip?
What weather should I expect? The short answer? Expect everything! Ecuador lies right on the equator and our journey will take us from Quito at 9,350 feet (2,850 meters) up to the continental divide at 13,333 feet (4,064 meters) down to the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon at 630 feet (192 meters). The biodiversity of this region blossoms out of radical changes in landscape within very short distances: changes in altitude, temperature, equatorial sun, shifting winds, and varying amounts of rain.
The local joke in Quito is that you can experience all 4 seasons in one day. Early morning can be Spring-like; by late morning the blazing sun has you stripped to summer shirtsleeves; late afternoon feels like Fall, and is frequently accompanied by rain; by evening, it's downright chilly; and at night, you will see Quiteños bundled in coats, hats, and scarves.
What clothing and footwear will we need?
What gear should I bring?
What health precautions will I need to take?
What about baggage?
What currency will I need in Ecuador? Ecuador uses the US dollar. You can change currency at the Quito airport and you will find ATM machines in Quito and Otavalo. Some ATM machines will have daily limits on the amount you can withdraw. Check with your bank in advance regarding fees for withdrawals in foreign countries. Advise your bank or credit card company in advance that you will be traveling to Ecuador to avoid a fraud alert and blocking of your card.
Can I use my credit card or do I need cash? Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Ecuador. Diners Club cards are also often accepted. American Express is accepted in some venues. You will need cash for tips, snacks, and souvenirs. While all of our lodges accept credit cards, local vendors in the cloud forest and Amazon only accept cash. In the Otavalo market many vendors will accept credit cards, but for bartering and to secure the best discounts you will need cash.
Will I have access to internet or wifi? One of our goals on this trip is to disconnect from the internet and reconnect to nature. Whenever possible, we will set our phones aside. However, we understand that you will need to connect with loved ones or keep tabs on your business from time to time. In Quito, Otavalo, and Papallacta, you will have access to the internet. While we are traveling on mountain roads, in the cloud forest, on the river, and in the Amazon forest, internet will be limited and, at times, unavailable. Communicate with your loved ones and colleagues in advance, so that everyone knows what to expect and can plan accordingly.
What do I need to know about passports and visas?
View of the jungle canopy from the observation tower at Sani Lodge.