Highland Odyssey FAQ
Is it safe for women to travel to Ecuador?
Yes. Ecuador is a highly traveled country and typically very safe. In the most tourist areas it is always a good idea to bring only what you need and leave all valuables at home. Like most countries in Latin America it is not uncommon for men to cat call or whistle. Generally this is pretty harmless and best to ignore.
What type of clothes should I pack?
A more concise packing list will be sent along in your trip packet. Bring layers!! Where we are going in Ecuador can range quite dramatically between hot and cold- especially at the higher elevations. Definitely pack a warm jacket and hat, comfortable hiking clothes, versatile clothes for hot/warm weather, a good pair of hiking/walking shoes and swim attire for spa. What you will not need to bring is lots of tanks tops and shorts- it doesn't get that hot in the highlands. Ecuador is near the equator and remember the sun is strong even in the colder temperatures, so best to bring a hat or some sort of sun protection. Also, please keep in mind Ecuador is fairly conservative country and please dress accordingly when you are going to work with the rural communities. They are not accustomed to seeing a lot of skin and that may make things uncomfortable.
Galapagos information will be sent separately if you choose do purchase the extension.
Do I need international travel insurance?
Yes. International travel insurance is required. Information will be sent to you in your welcome packet about the best companies and how to sign up.
What is the weather like in Ecuador?
A loaded question indeed since Ecuador has every micro-climate you can imagine! Quito tends to be like a year-round Spring. Warm during the days and cooler in the evenings. The Coud Forest tends to be more hot and muggy but can rain a lot so come prepared. The Central Highlands are constantly changing. Usually it is warm during the day but drops dramatically down during the night to sometimes the 40's/30's!
Will the group be together the whole time?
Groups travel together at all times in a private van with driver and guide. There are specific days where you are allowed to choose your own adventure, wander into town or just hang out.
What is not included in the overall cost?
Not included is international airfare, travel insurance, tips, alcohol, extra snacks and food outside the noted meals per day, personal expenses and any additional activities.
What extra money do I need? Can I use US Dollars?
The US dollar is the currency of Ecuador. We recommend bringing your money in SMALL BILLS as it is difficult to change large bills especially in the more rural areas. ATM's are throughout the country in case you need to withdraw money. Credit cards aren't always accepted so please don't depend on them as your only means of buying something. You will need money for a few meals that aren't included, personal shopping, alcohol and any other added adventure.
TIPPING: There will some situations where you may feel the need to tip but as always it is up to your discretion. Typically it is customary to tip our local guide and driver at the end of the trip. Most clients tip about $5-$8 PER DAY for each of them. If you choose to do an extra activity such as horse back riding, tubing etc a small tip is expected. Leaving a little extra at your homestay is also customary. About $5 per person.
Do I need vaccinations?
Be an informed traveler, ultimately it is up to you to consult a physician and make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations. We are here to help but can not legally provide medical advice. Here are some great websites:
Can I drink the water?
No. It is not recommended to drink tap water. We will have big jugs of filtered water. Having said that, please bring a reusable water bottle as most hotels and tourist destinations offer refilling stations.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
It is certainly not a requirement but always fun to try! Every group has a bilingual guide so there is nothing to worry about.
Is there internet?
Yes but not always. Most of the lodging options have wifi but there are a few days where we will be without it. As always be patient if there is no signal or the electricity is down. These things can happen so embrace it!