Ecuador

Ecuador travel survival guide: What to bring on a trip to Vilcabamba, Loja or Quito

Tuesday, July 06, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Ecuador, travel, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Traveling in Ecuador can be very rewarding: It's one of the most beautiful destinations in all the Americas, and there are some truly fascinating things to explore there. I spent most of my time in Southern Ecuador, near Loja and Vilcabamba (the Valley of Longevity), but I also traveled around Quito and Guayaquil, too.

In these travels, I learned some important travel tips that I'm sharing here. If you plan to visit Ecuador, take these to heart: They'll save you all sorts of frustration once you get there.

Watch those numbers

When you buy items at local shops, it's not unusual for them to add up the purchase total on a slip of paper. (Ecuadorian merchants are much better at math than North American workers, most of whom have forgotten how to add...)

When you see the total, you might be shocked to discover that things seem more expensive than they should. Well, here's why: Ecuadorians write the number "1" to look like a "7".

Yep: What looks to you and me like a seven is actually a one in Ecuador. Their sevens have a cross-mark on them to distinguish them from ones.

So if you think your grocery bill total came to $75.70, the truth is that it's probably just $15.10.

Carry a flashlight everywhere

Ecuador doesn't have a lot of street lights. At night, it gets dark. Sometimes really dark. So always carry a flashlight with you wherever you go.

I always carried a head-worn flashlight. It was the easiest to carry and use. In a pinch, you can buy one of these in Ecuador, but they're less expensive to buy in the USA first, before you go. (I don't know the pricing in Canada, Europe or elsewhere, but it's probably cheaper to buy it first.)

I also found it handy to always carry a pocket tool with a simple knife. The best I found is the Skeletool by Leatherman. Here's a link to it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Leatherman-830850-Skel...

I've also seen these for sale at Target stores in the USA.

Learn how merchants describe prices

If something costs you two dollars and fifty cents, that's described to you as, "Dos con cincuenta." That's "two with fifty." They don't say "two dollars and fifty cents." They just say "Two with fifty."

Merchants will often not bother with demanding every single cent. If the total is $2.52, and you give them $2.50, that's usually enough. Likewise they will sometimes give you back slightly less change. If they owe you $1.03 in change, they might just give you a buck. You should be okay with that. It works both ways.

Small bills

Even in a major Ecuadorian city like Quito, it's difficult to break a $50 or $100. Outside the cities, it's impossible.

In rural areas, you'll even have trouble breaking a $20. Or if you do manage to find some merchant who will take your $20, it usually works like this: You ask them if they can break a $20 for your small purchase. They say yes, they can break it. So you hand them your $20.

Then they run out of their shop and disappear for ten minutes. What they're doing is running around the street trying to find someone who has change for your $20. A few minutes later, they finally reappear with your change. So yes, many local merchants can break a $20 for you, but only if you're willing to wait while they canvass the town looking for change.

To avoid this, always carry $5 and $1 bills. That's the real currency in Ecuador: Small bills!

Taxis

Taxi drivers are some of the nicest people in Ecuador. I've spent many hours chatting with them during various trips. In Vilcabamba, go with the taxis that look like white pickup trucks. Many of those drivers speak some English, too!

It's good to tip taxi drivers a bit. If your ride is $2, give them an extra 50 cents. If you take a longer trip to a different city, and your ride is $25, it doesn't hurt to give them $28. They really appreciate the tips, and what I learned is that the next time you need a taxi, they show up right away. I generally tip from 10% - 20%.

Taxi drivers are usually fairly honest in Ecuador, except beware of taxis in Guayaquil, which is a city that has higher crime rates than anywhere else in the country. Don't just jump into any taxi you see. You might get taken for a ride there. But in Vilcabamba and Loja, taxis are almost universally safe and polite.

Keep your personal belongings safe

While most Ecuadorians are honest, hard-working people, there are a small number who make a living lifting valuable objects off foreigners. This is especially prevalent at the airports, where a friendly-looking business man in a suit might offer to help you with your luggage and then covertly walk away with your laptop (it's true; it happened to a friend of mine).

Laptop theft is so common in Ecuador now that I know an attorney in Loja who won't even carry a laptop bag anymore. He carries his laptop in an old backpack instead.

Anything that looks valuable -- a laptop bag, camera bag, and so on -- should be disguised as something else. And please don't make the mistake of putting your purse over the back of the chair you're sitting on in a local restaurant. When you finish your dinner, that purse will be history.

Also, here's another trick: If you get on a bus to travel from city to city, the bus worker loading your bags might place your bag under your seat. You think it's safe, right? But what you don't know is that your bag was purposely put under your seat so that the zipper is facing the rear of the bus. Once you fall asleep, the person behind you will quietly unzip your bag and steal anything valuable. You won't figure it out until you get to your hotel room and wonder, "Where my iPhone?"

Ecuador is actually a very safe country to visit. There's not much violent crime compared to other countries, but there is a fair amount of petty theft. So travel safely and keep your belongings hidden and close to your body.

Learn some Spanish!

The best thing you can bring to Ecuador is some Spanish language skills! Some people in Ecuador speak English, but by no means is this a common skill. You'll need some Spanish to get around and enjoy yourself.

If you're an audio learner, I recommend the Pimsleur Spanish courses.

If you're a visual learner, I recommend Rosetta Stone. I've used both courses, and they both taught me a lot.

Please try not to pronounce your Spanish like a total newbie gringo! It's better to have a small vocabulary that you pronounce well than a huge vocabulary that nobody else can understand.

Remember: If you aren't rolling your R's and softening your D's, you aren't pronouncing Spanish correctly. In Ecuador, the letter "V" is pronounced almost like a "B."

Enjoy your visit to Ecuador!

Learn more about Ecuador

Check out my related articles:

Loja and Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Destinations for health-conscious people
http://www.naturalnews.com/029064_Vilcabamba...

Top ten things to love about Vilcabamba Ecuador, the Valley of Longevity
http://www.naturalnews.com/029005_Vilcabamba...

Adventure to Podocarpus National Forest near Vilcabamba, Ecuador
http://www.naturalnews.com/028997_Podocarpus...

Amazing photos from Podocarpus
http://www.naturalnews.com/phototours/podoca...

Photos of the ranch where I built a food forest
http://www.naturalnews.com/Valley-of-Longevi...

Homes and land in Ecuador

Vilcabamba Real Estate Company
http://www.VREC.org

Hacienda San Joaquin - The high-end gated community of homes near Vilcabamba
http://www.VilcabambaHomes.com

Or email us at vilcaland@gmail.com if you have questions about land or homes. We can help point you in the right direction.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.




About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.