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Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos
Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

Practical information about Ecuador & Galapagos

Best time to travel

Ecuador sits on the equator in the tropical climate belt, and is a relatively small country compared to the other South American countries. Despite the country’s size and location, there are still major regional differences in Ecuador’s climate. This is because the landscape also varies a lot due to the high Andes Mountains, the lush Amazon Rainforest, the warm coastline and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Ecuador can be visited all year round. Most visitors come to Ecuador in the period from June to September, and again from December to January, when many Americans and Europeans are on holiday. Peak season on the Galapagos Islands is from January to June – in the warm and wet season.

The Andes Mountains:
In Quito and the Andes Mountains, you can expect warm, sunny days in the period from June to September. In the period from October to May, more rain will fall in the mountains. Often, it will be sunny in the morning, and in the afternoon, the clouds and rain make their way over the mountains.

Weather statistics for Quito: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 21 20 20 20 20 20 21 21 21 21 21 21
Average minimum temperature 10 11 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 10 10 10
Rainfall mm 104 120 155 179 122 52 38 31 59 112 128 111

The Amazon:

The Amazon Rainforest is always warm and humid. Expect powerful rainfall all year round, so remember to bring rain clothes.

Weather statistics for Tena: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 31 31 30 30 29 29 29 29 30 31 31 31
Average minimum temperature 23 23 23 23 23 22 22 22 22 23 23 23
Rainfall mm 112 130 153 174 160 133 99 85 104 135 137 125

Ecuador’s Pacific coast:
In the low-lying coastal areas of Ecuador by the Pacific Ocean, the weather is typically hot. The period from January to April is the hottest and wettest season with powerful showers. Between May and December, the temperature at the coast drops a few degrees and it rarely rains.

Weather statistics for Guayaquil: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 31 31 32 32 31 30 29 30 30 30 31 32
Average minimum temperature 24 24 24 24 23 22 21 21 21 21 22 23
Rainfall mm 167 266 227 142 51 23 10 1 1 4 16 41

The Galapagos Islands:

On the Galapagos Islands, the wet, warm season is from January to June. This period is considered to be the peak season. The weather is generally sunny with short, powerful showers in the afternoon. There is not much wind, and the sea is warm and calm in this period.

The cold, dry season is from July to December. Here, the water temperature in particular drops a few degrees, and a wetsuit may be needed if you want to go snorkelling. While the weather is still sunny and hot, the sea may be less calm.

However, it is certainly not a bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands. The animal life here is exciting all year, and you can experience the islands’ utterly fantastic animal life any month.

Weather statistics for Galapagos: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Average maximum temperature 29 30 31 30 29 28 26 26 26 26 27 28
Average minimum temperature 23 23 23 23 23 22 21 20 20 20 21 22
Rainfall mm 83 107 106 95 42 33 19 10 8 11 13 52
Passport & visa

As a British citizen, you must be in possession of a valid British passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return home.

As a British citizen, you do not require a visa to visit Ecuador for stays that do not exceed 90 days.

Please note: It is your own responsibility to check whether you need a visa for transit airports en route.


If you are travelling via the US, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via the United States, you must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Without ESTA, you will not be allowed to travel through the United States. Apply for the travel authorisation in good time at least 72 hours before your departure to the US. All travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply and find the price via the following link: You should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your ESTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new ESTA.

Note that you must contact the United States Embassy to apply for a visa if you have visited any of the following countries:

  • Cuba as of 12 January 2021
  • North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen as of 1 March 2011

Stricter requirements will also apply if you hold dual citizenship with any of these countries.

For further information on filling out your ESTA application, please see the overview of frequently asked questions and their answers here:

You can also get in touch by telephone at: +1-202-325-8000


If you are travelling via Canada, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via Canada, you must apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Without eTA, you will not be allowed to travel through Canada. Apply for the travel authorization in good time. eTA costs 7 CAD per person and all travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply via the following link: should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your eTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new eTA.

The rules on visas can be checked here

Travel documents

Prior to your departure, you will receive a tour itinerary containing your flight information and the telephone numbers of our local partners at the destination, allowing you to get in touch with them if you have any questions during your tour.

On your arrival in Ecuador, you will be given a welcome letter containing a QR code. When you scan this code on your phone, you can access your tour itinerary showing, among other things, important start times of your pre-booked excursions and transfers, as well as your domestic flight tickets to Galapagos. It is important to download these documents to your phone when you have Wi-Fi at the hotel, so that you can always access them, even when Wi-Fi is not available.
You will also find exciting information about the destination, our partner’s sustainability initiatives and a feedback form, which ensures a high level of service on our Ecuador tours.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Transit Control Card & entry to the Galapagos Islands

When heading to the Galapagos Islands, you must fill out a Transit Control Card prior to departure from Quito Airport. The card costs 20 USD and must be paid in cash. Once you arrive at the airport on the Galapagos Islands, you must also pay 100 USD (cash) to enter the islands. Please note that from 1 Aug 24, the entrance fee to the Galapagos Islands will be increasing to USD 200 per person.


We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel. 



There is currently no Covid-19 vaccination requirement for entry into Ecuador. However, these rules may change at short notice. It is your responsibility to check these rules before departure.

Please note that certain Covid-19 rules may apply at the stopover airports on your way to/from Ecuador. It is also your responsibility to check this before departure.

Some locations may have mask requirements, e.g., medical clinics and hospitals.
Remain up to date on the rules through your guide or ask the hotel’s staff.

Terms and conditions of travel

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.


Currency, price level & tipping

The currency used in Ecuador is the US dollar (USD). The current USD exchange rate can be found here.

There are ATMs practically everywhere. Most common credit cards can be used in the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops. There may sometimes be a surcharge when using a credit card.
The further you get out into the countryside, the harder it may be to pay by credit card. We recommend that you always bring some cash in USD.

Note that tips on the Galapágos ferries can only be paid in cash.

On the Galapagos Islands, the price level is higher than on the mainland.

Click here to get a general idea of the price levels in the country.

It is a custom and appreciated to tip when you are in Latin American countries, but it is voluntary, and the amount you are willing to give is entirely at your discretion.

The guide below is indicative only.

  • Restaurants: Typically 10% of the bill unless already included
  • Guide: approx. 5-10 USD PP per excursion
  • Driver for excursions: 3 -5 USD PP per excursion
  • Maids: 1-2 USD PRPN
  • Porters: 1-2 USD per suitcase
  • Taxi drivers: It is not common practice to tip taxi drivers.

Tipping during your visit to the Amazon

If you are visiting the Amazon, the level is at approx. 8-10 USD for the guide and approx. 3-5 USD to the crew (total) per person per day. Tips for the guide are given directly to the guide after the last excursion, and tips for the crew are placed in a tips box at the reception.

Tipping on Galapagos cruises:

If you are going on a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, the tipping rate is a little higher than in the rest of Ecuador. Here, we recommend giving the guide approx. 10-15 USD per person per day and the crew approx. 5-10 USD per person per day. You will receive 2 envelopes the day before departure: One envelope for tips for the guide, which you hand over personally, and one envelope for tips for the rest of the crew. This envelope is placed in a tips box.

Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.

Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

Telephones & Wi-Fi:

It’s expensive to use data and roaming abroad if it’s not already included in your mobile subscription. Contact your mobile phone service provider to find out what services are included in your subscription and what prices apply to you at different destinations.

If data and roaming are not included in your mobile subscription when travelling abroad, we recommend that you make use of the free Wi-Fi at your hotel or in restaurants. That way, you can call and write home free of charge via various services such as Facetime, Messenger and WhatsApp. Note that the Wi-Fi signal outside larger cities and on the Galapágos Islands may be unstable.

If you would like to remain online at all times, the cheapest option will be to purchase a local SIM card with data on arrival in Ecuador.


Ecuador has 110-volt power and flat, two-pin outlets, so make sure to bring an adapter.

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to smaller quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with reduced mobillity

Please note, our tours are generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.

Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).
It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane at check-in. If you have specific wishes regarding where you sit on the plane, you can make a seat reservation yourself on the airline’s website or in their app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.


Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which typically opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.


We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

If domestic flights are used in your itinerary, please be aware that baggage permissions may be different from how they are for your international flights. In general, you can always purchase more baggage allowance locally.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

Immigration & Customs


When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.

Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.


On your arrival, you will be met by a guide/driver who will be ready to welcome you with a TourCompass sign.

In the unexpected event that you are unable to find your guide/driver, please contact our local partner using the emergency number provided in your travel documents.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and you cannot therefore count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 10 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

Type of tour and transport

In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, blocked roads or otherwise, it may be necessary to change the order of sightseeing tours and attractions in your itinerary.


Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.


We rely on happy travellers, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135

Latin America
Emily Roper

Emily loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

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Friday 9-13