Are you ready for an experience of a lifetime? Traveling in Ecuador may be a different experience than what you are accustomed to, so we have written a few things we would love to pass along!
Physical fitness requirements
Most of our hikes will be easy to moderate. Expect guided hikes to last 2-3 hours. We will travel slowly on the trails so that we will have a better chance of viewing wildlife. It is important to know that the trails may be slippery and muddy, so having good footing and closed-toes shoes are essential! Adventurous explorers will have the option to take more strenuous hikes. While we do have scheduled activities planned for you, there will be times where you will have the choice of how to spend your time. Would you prefer to go on a morning jungle hike or bird watch from a hammock on your balcony? The choice is yours! Wear sunblock and stay hydrated. Quito and the Teleferico are located at high altitudes and close to the equator. While this is exciting, it comes with a few cautions: in particular, the sun is strong and the air is thin! Make sure to hydrate, wear sun protection, and get plenty of rest.
The highest you will have to be on this ecotour is in Papallacta, which is at 3,300 m (10,827 ft), though you will have the option to go above 3,945m (12,943 ft) atop the Teleferico. Stay aware of how you feel and stick within your comfort level while hiking and participating in active adventures. You will always be able to opt out of a hike and just chill out looking at the surrounding mountains! Chelsea is a certified Wilderness First Responder and Michael is certified in Wilderness First Aid. They will have resources and advice if you feel any of the effects of altitude sickness.
Wear sunblock and stay hydrated
Ecuador is a tropical country. While this is exciting, it comes with a few cautions: in particular, the sun is strong! Make sure to hydrate, wear sun protection, and get plenty of rest.
Ecuadorian currency is called the UNITED STATES DOLLAR! That's right, you can use dollars throughout Ecuador. It is wise to have cash and a major credit card or two on you, lest you want or need to purchase something not included in the Ecotour. There are currency exchange companies in Ecuador, or withdrawing from an ATM is a good option as well (be sure to inform your bank you will be in Ecuador).
While we will be traveling in a group and the risk of experiencing crime is low, please be aware that Ecuador, specifically within the cities, has had issues with crime. Usually it is petty theft, but it is commonly aimed at tourists so take safety measures when walking about. We recommend leaving all valuable items in a safe at the hotel and only carrying what you need. A money belt inside your clothing and/or an over the shoulders bag (not an easily snatched purse) is also a good option for carrying necessary items.
Your passport must be valid for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS past the date you plan to depart Ecuador or you will not be allowed to enter the country. Please re-read that sentence and ensure your passport expires at least six months after you plan to depart Ecuador.
No visa is required for citizens of the United States. If you are not a United States citizen, then please check your country's laws about traveling to Ecuador.
The SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour to Ecuador can accommodate most dietary preferences and/or requirements, including vegan and vegetarian. We will sample an array of Ecuadorian culinary delights. Please inform us in advance of any dietary needs, in as much detail as possible. When possible please also take into account that you will be traveling in a foreign country somewhat unaccustomed to certain dietary restrictions, so although we will do our best to accommodate everyone please be flexible if it allows.
Water and Food
While Ecuador has decent water filtration we recommend not risking drinking the tap water during your time here. This also goes for the street food, and make sure to watch out for juices, unpeeled fruit, uncooked vegetables etc that may have been washed in the water. Most of the lodges and hotels we stay at will have large jugs of drinkable water and are used to catering to tourists. We do recommend traveling with some type of filtration device (e.g. PUR filters or Steripen UV light) unless you are the type of person who likes buying plastic bottles of water!
Overall the food was spectacular."
-- 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotoursit Mike Horton
Vaccinations & medication
Check the Center for Disease Control's Ecuador webpage for specific information about what vaccinations or medications you may need, and ask your doctor. All participants should be up-to-date with all routine vaccinations before traveling abroad. Malaria is present within Ecuador but is not a huge threat. However if you would like to get malaria medicine please follow your doctor's instructions. You will not easily be able to find malaria medication once in Ecuador.
While we have worked very hard to avoid any delays or alterations in the schedule, in Ecuador sometimes there are delays and changes. This only means to remain patient and remember to just enjoy your surroundings! We are going to be in some of the most amazing tropical ecosystems in the world, so if any changes in timing happens, rest assured the scenery will be worth it.
Looking for frogs at night is not the world's safest activity. As such, drinking and frogging really don't mix. We request that you not get anywhere remotely close to drunk prior to frogging. If you do feel the need for a dinnertime alcoholic beverage, we strongly suggest limiting it to one drink. Post-frogging, feel free to let loose at the bar.
What do I bring to Ecuador?
After you register, we will send you a list of recommended items that you should bring to Ecuador.
Planning to explore Ecuador before or after the Ecotour?
There is plenty to do in Ecuador so if you have extra time to enjoy the country, we are happy to advise you on hotel lodging and recommended locations.
"Thanks so much Kerry Kriger and Chelsea Carson for setting up an ecotour that I couldn't say no to and that I'll never forget!!! This has been the best month of my life! :) My heart is so full from this trip! I'm anxious and sad about going back home. But I'm also very inspired and excited about what the future may hold for myself and SAVE THE FROGS!. I look forward to helping the frogs by helping you guys in any way that I can."
- Jessica Scrivener, 2016 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotourist