Volunteer in Ecuador
Are you looking for a unique way to travel and volunteer? Global Crossroad has exciting and budget-friendly volunteer opportunities in Ecuador for all different interests.
- Explore and volunteer in a culturally rich country in Latin America for as low as $316
- Day and night in country support from our in country coordinator
- Safety is our number one priority
- Have a meaningful experience volunteering overseas in Ecuador
From the highlands of the majestic Andes, Ecuador is calling you! Come change your life and the lives of the less fortunate in this unique country of striking architectural and ecological contrasts by joining a volunteer program in Ecuador today.
As part of a Global Crossroad's volunteer abroad in Ecuador program, you might be lending a hand in an orphanage in the morning and touring an astounding rainforest in the afternoon. You can mix travel to the widespread islands of Ecuador, including the famed Galapagos Islands, with the immensely fulfilling joy of introducing street kids to the English language.
Our volunteer opportunities in Ecuador allow you to help the underprivileged of this transcendent country in several different settings. Whether you're dispensing HIV/AIDS information, promoting conservation initiatives, trekking through stunning volcanic landscapes or wandering through sections of beautiful colonial architecture, you will fall in love forever with Ecuador, and its people!
Contact us today. Set in motion the chance of a lifetime to explore an enchanting country while bringing joy, love and learning to its needy.
Volunteer in Ecuador Programs
You can choose from five different, but equally amazing volunteer programs in Ecuador through Global Crossroad.
|Volunteer Programs||Locations||Starting Prices|
|Teach English in Rural School||Quito||$316|
|Volunteer in Orphanage||Quito||$316|
|Volunteer with Street Children||Quito||$316|
|Conservation project in Ecuador||Quito||$316|
|Conservation project in Ecuador||Galapagos Island||$535|
Dates and Prices
Dates: Volunteer in Ecuador
All volunteer programs in Ecuador start every Monday of each month. However, if there is travel constrains, you can start any project on any day.
Prices: Volunteer in Ecuador
Global Crossroad is committed to offering the most affordable and highest quality Ecuador volunteer trips. We strive to keep our costs low. The humanitarian side of the business is our passion.
Global Crossroad's volunteer opportunity in Ecuador application and registration fee cost US $299. The application fee covers the cost of advertising, program promotion, and office expenses (rent, utilities, and staff salaries in USA office).
In addition to the application fee, you are required to pay a weekly program fee. You will pay your weekly fee directly to your host family and project. This way, the fees that you pay will benefit those who rightfully deserve them, and not for company profit.
- Airport Pickup and Transfer (45 minutes) $45.00
- Spanish Lessons (10hrs/week, M-F), Quito $70/Week
- Mandatory Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day
Program fees cover:
- Accommodation (volunteer house or host family)
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- Accommodation (volunteer house or host family)
- Food (local food 3 times a day)
- In-country support
- Personalized project
- Pre-departure information
- Certificate of completion
- Fundraising ideas and letters
- Discount for returning volunteers
Program fees exclude:
- Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
- Daily transportation
- Airport return transfer
- Food (if you are volunteering on the Galapagos Islands); Please allot $60-$70 a week to cover the cost of your meals
The volunteering programs in Ecuador fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.
Accommodations and Meals: Volunteer in Ecuador
While volunteering overseas in Ecuador, Global Crossroad's weekly fees include management of your meal plans and accommodations throughout projects and travel options. Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and will consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for Ecuador. Our meal program can accommodate vegetarian needs; however, we are not able to provide for other dietary restrictions. Food and drinks outside of mealtimes are your responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the homes in which our volunteers stay.
Note: If you are volunteering in the Galapagos, you are responsible for your own meals.
During your volunteer program in Ecuador, we normally place our volunteers with a host family. You will usually have a single bedroom, but may occasionally share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Our host families are chosen carefully and are esteemed community members, who have experience in the realm of hosting international travelers. Host family residences are in comfortable, clean and safe neighborhoods and rooms are simply furnished and tidy. Staying with a host family can offer the support system a volunteer will crave during their program and it is a great way to learn about a host country's culture and customs. Most volunteers who have stayed with a host family note that their stay truly enriched their entire volunteer experience in Ecuador.
Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival for your volunteer opportunity in Ecuador.
Free Time Options: Volunteer in Ecuador
Global Crossroad’s volunteer programs in Ecuador are located in both rural and urban areas throughout this amazing country. Projects can be found in the capital city of Quito, as well as Puerto Lopez, Santa Elena, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Region and other interesting locations.
Ecuador is a country brimming with wildlife and varied natural environments. The varied Ecuador volunteer trips locations provide varying free time activity options as volunteers have weekends and most evenings to themselves to explore all that Ecuador has to offer.
For example, Quito was capital of the Inca Empire and has a rich pre-Colombian history. The capital was founded on the ruins of the Inca city and is the least-altered historic center in Latin America and a UNESCO World Heritage Center. You can amuse themselves with cultural and architectural splendor while in and around Quito.
However, volunteers in the Galapagos Islands will partake in more natural than urban adventures while in the islands. Diving and boating opportunities are at every turn, as are chances for wildlife viewing. You can take excursions to Isla de La Plata, which offers world famous whale-watching opportunities, the Amazon Jungle and its lush tropical abundance and numerous tours to pristine and dream-like beaches. No matter the volunteering in Ecuador project location, you will find amazingly unique experiences in Ecuador.
Safety and Field Support
Our number #1 priority is the safety of our volunteers. Global Crossroad is a leading volunteer organization serving thousands of volunteers. We pride ourselves on providing the safest, highest quality, and most professional programs to our volunteers since 2003. Our dedicated team works closely from start to finish with each volunteer (and parents/guardians) to ensure a successful, satisfactory, and safe volunteering experience.
Below is a list of our safety and field support features that will demonstrate the level of support and safety each of you will receive while volunteering abroad.
1. Country Coordinator and Field Staff :
In each country, where we operate, we have a very strong and dedicated team of country coordinators and local staff members to support and take care of you. All of our country coordinators and field staff are highly experienced and responsible individuals. They have been running volunteer abroad program for many years. They have served thousands of volunteers, so they understand your needs and know how to run safe, rewarding, and meaningful volunteer abroad program for you.
Our In-country staff is responsible for a number of things. Below are some of the main services that they will provide:
- Airport pick-up and transfer to host family or work site
- Management of room and food in host family/hostel
- Orientation of local country, culture, host family, safety, and related issues
- Introduction to your host family and project staff
- Periodic follow up visits or calls (1-2 week intervals) to ensure everything is going smoothly
- Advice for solving any issues, problems, or concerns
2. Airport Greeting
We are dedicated to keeping you save and comfortable from your point of your arrival until your point of departure. We will always receive our volunteers at the airport and transfer them safely. Depending upon the country in which you choose to volunteer, our coordinator, local staff, or a professional transfer company employee will greet you at the airport.
3. Orientation and safety discussion
Regardless of where you join the Global Crossroad volunteer program, our program starts with an in depth discussion on safety, history, cultural people, religion, life, and do’s and don’ts. Depending upon the country, these orientation programs range from a few hours to three days. During orientation, we explain the different aspect of safety and general guidelines to help keep yourself safe while volunteering abroad.
4. Safe Host Family and Accommodation
While volunteering abroad, the majority of the time you will reside with a local host family, hostel, or similar accommodation. We always carefully select the host families and other forms of accommodations to make sure that you will be safe and comfortable. In all destinations, we have selected host families who are socially respected and responsible. Most of our host families have hosted international volunteers before, so they completely understand your needs. Your host family will always take care of you and keep you safe.
Similarly, all of our volunteer houses and hostels are located in very safe locations. These hostels are always guarded by security guards or supervised by the local staff very frequently to make sure that you are safe and secure. Also you will be staying with other volunteers from all over the world. You will never be alone.
5. Comprehensive Insurance and Evacuation Plan
While volunteering abroad, you will be covered by international insurance. This protects you in case something unforeseen happens. It is mandatory that all volunteers obtain a travel insurance policy when volunteering abroad. Global Crossroad offers one of the most comprehensive insurance packages from a third party. Our insurance policy provides excellent protection in the event that a health-related issue occurs, an accident, or other unpredictable incidences.
6. Placement with Other Volunteers
Global Crossroad is happy to place you with other volunteers (depending on availability) if this is something that would make you feel safer.
Any international travel requires caution and awareness; volunteering abroad is no exception. We suggest that all volunteers consult their own government advisory office before making the decision to participate in any overseas volunteering opportunities. International travel presents risks, especially with the modern day threat of international terrorism.
The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings and advisories in many countries for American travelers. These travel advisories and warnings frequently change, as situations in each country transform.
These links provide valuable travel information:
It is also wise to consult the Center for Disease Control for health related information and issues that might come up during your time volunteering abroad. Check out www.cdc.gov for possible health risks. One must also keep in mind that the sanitary conditions in developing countries are likely very different from those in your home country. It is also strongly advised that you do not drink the tap water and do not eat food from street vendors.
Most Frequently Asked Questions: Volunteer in Ecuador
APPLICATION - INFORMATION
- When should I apply for a volunteer in Ecuador program?
- What happens once I submit my documents and application to volunteer in Ecuador?
- How long does it take to process my application to volunteer in Ecuador?
- What documents do I need to submit with my application to volunteer in Ecuador?
- Are there any necessary requirements to participate in volunteer in Ecuador projects?
- An open-mind, a willingness to teach others as well a passion for helping those in need.
- Enthusiasm for living abroad, meeting new people and embracing varied cultures.
- Be in good mental and physical health.
Global Crossroad has offered volunteer/internship assignments in Ecuador since 2003. We are able to place volunteers on the 1st or 3rd Monday of any month, year round. We recommend applying at least two months in advance, as there is an ever-increasing volume of applications. If your application must be expedited for quicker placement, please contact our office for more information.
Once Global Crossroad receives and reviews your completed application, it is then forwarded to our In-Country Coordinator in Ecuador who will then finalize a personal assignment as per your qualifications, experience and requests. Your finalized placement details are forwarded to you upon completion.
The application process may take up to 2-4 weeks- occasionally longer given the time of year and influx of applications to your chosen country. However, in the event that an applicant requires quicker placement due to time constraints, we request you contact Global Crossroad's offices prior to submitting an application.
The only initial documentation required is our completed application form, which can be found online (http://www.globalcrossroad.com/apply). We reserve the right to request further information or documentation; however, in most situations information contained in the application is sufficient. Applicants have the option to either submit their application online or download the application from the website and submit the completed form to Global Crossroad's USA-based offices by either mail or fax.
The only qualifications are:
- What are the visa procedures?
Securing a tourist visa is the volunteer's responsibility and Global Crossroad requires all volunteers to obtain a tourist visa before departing for Ecuador.
Please call our office or contact your nearest Ecuador embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees and visa extensions. Much information can be learned online by searching out Ecuador's embassy or consulate.
- Who manages the volunteer in Ecuador projects?
- What are the daily schedules while volunteering in Ecuador?
- Where are the projects located?
- What is the language spoken in Ecuador?
- Where are volunteering opportunities in Ecuador located?
- How long can I volunteer abroad in Ecuador?
Global Crossroad's in-country Coordinator in Ecuador is responsible for researching appropriate volunteer projects as per the qualifications, skills and interests of the applicants.
Project schedules vary for each project in Ecuador. Most projects are from Monday to Friday, for approximately 4-5 hours a day. Most volunteers have the weekends and evenings off to sightsee or explore Ecuador on their own.
Most programs in Ecuador will take place outside of the cities in rural areas. Review the details of your project on our website or in your placement documents for the particular city or area to which you will be travelling.
The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, but the Indian population speaks Quichua, an Incan language. Besides Spanish, ten native languages are spoken in Ecuador. English is the most spoken foreign language amongst tourist providers and professionals.
Global Crossroad programs are available year round and begin on the 1st or 3rd Monday of every month.
We organize Spanish Language Studies orientation programs twice a month throughout the year and the schedule coincides with our volunteer assignments. We suggest that volunteers adjust their flight schedule according to accommodate this important cultural exposure program's schedules. Volunteers can go straight to their assignment and skip the language program if they choose; however, we strongly recommend enrolling. Solid understanding of your chosen country's communication will vastly improve your experience as a volunteer and the experience of the citizens and children who you are there to assist. If the volunteer opts out of this program, their assignment begins on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month.
You should sign up to volunteer abroad in Ecuador for between 2-12 weeks. In general, most countries do not allow those traveling on a tourist visa to stay longer than 12 weeks. If you are set on staying longer, contact a Global Crossroad representative to discuss your options.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE INFORMATION
- Who will arrange my flight to Ecuador?
- At which airport should I arrive?
- If my assignment begins on Monday, when should I arrive in Ecuador?
- Will someone pick me from the airport? If so, how will I know who they are and where they are?
- What should I do if my flight is delayed?
- Try to call our Ecuador in-country coordinator from the airport to notify him/her of the possible delayed arrival time.
- Check your placement instructions pertaining to details of hotels that have been recommended for late arrival if your flight will after midnight.
- Call/email our Ecuador in-country Coordinator once you arrive so that s/he can orchestrate a new pick-up time.
- How can I get to my accommodations from the airport, if I did not connect with Global Crossroad's local representative in the airport?
- What do I need prior to departure from my home country?
- Please make sure that you pack all your necessary documents: passport, copy of passport and at least one other form of picture ID.
- Please bring your volunteer assignment placement details.
- Prepare financially to cover unforeseen expenses up to $50-100 USD/week for extra expenses and travel to your project each day.
- Prepare your mind and spirit for the experience to which you have committed. Culture shock affects everyone and it may be so strong that you want to quit the week after arrival. Take precautions: read about your county/city, study the culture and language(s) and learn about food and customs.
- If I want to arrive earlier than when my assignment begins, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations?
- When should I depart from Ecuador?
- From which airport shall I depart?
- Who will bring me to the airport for my departure?
International flight coordination and payment of international airfare is a volunteer's responsibility.
Quito International Airport (Mariscal Sucre International Airport)
Please arrive the day before your assignment begins. If you wish to arrive earlier, your accommodation and meals will be your responsibility. Please review our assignment or Spanish Language Studies start day details in your personal placement information package we will forward to you.
You will be greeted up at the airport, but you must send your travel itinerary to our Ecuador in-country Coordinator and to us at Global Crossroad's offices before your arrival in Ecuador. You will be met by a local staff member or our in-country coordinator. They will be holding a sign with your name, awaiting your arrival outside of the airport.
If you miss our representative due to flight delay or confusion, please call the in-country coordinator number provided in your placement details. This rarely happens, but be prepared by keeping this important information with you as you travel. Make sure you look carefully for your pick-up representative, as it is normally busy outside of the airport.
In the event that your arrival time is changed/delayed, requiring you to stay overnight in a hotel (or if you failed to meet Global Crossroad's representative at the airport), you should hire a taxi at the airport. Request the taxi deliver you to the hotel designated in your placement details/pre-departure information. Remember to request a receipt from the driver.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that you have contacted Global Crossroad's in-country coordinator BEFORE boarding a taxi. Participants are advised to contact Global Crossroad's Ecuador In-Country Coordinator the next day and let him/her know their whereabouts.
You can arrive up to a week early for your assignment; however, you are responsible for making and paying for these arrangements (including accommodations and food), and must still meet the in-country coordinator at the airport on the designated date.
We ask that participants depart from Ecuador on the Saturday following the completion of their assignment.
All Ecuador volunteers should depart from Quito International Airport (Mariscal Sucre International Airport), regardless of their placement location.
GC does not offer airport drop-off services. You will need to arrange a taxi or bus ride to the airport following your assignment's completion. This is a simple process and our Ecuador in-country coordinator or your host family will normally be very happy to assist you with the arrangements.
LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS INFORMATION
- Who will arrange my accommodations and what are they?
- Are single rooms available?
- If I arrive with my friend, or girlfriend/boyfriend, can we stay together?
- Will there be other foreign volunteers/interns at my placement?
- What are the bathroom facilities like?
- What are the laundry arrangements?
- Can I use appliances if I bring them from my home country?
- Who manages my meals?
- Can you accommodate special diets?
- Is the running tap water safe for drink?
- Are there hot and cold-water facilities available?
- Will bottled water be provided?
Global Crossroad's weekly fees include management of volunteers' meal plans and accommodations throughout projects and travel options. Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and will consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for Ecuador. Our meal program can accommodate vegetarian needs; however, we are not able to provide for other dietary restrictions. Food and drinks outside of mealtimes are the volunteer's responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the homes in which our volunteers stay.
In Ecuador, we normally place our volunteers with a host family. Volunteers usually have a single bedroom, but may occasionally share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Our host families are chosen carefully and are esteemed community members, who have experience in the realm of hosting international travelers. Host family residences are in comfortable, clean and safe neighborhoods and rooms are simply furnished and tidy. Staying with a host family can offer the support system a volunteer will crave during their program and it is a great way to learn about a host country's culture and customs. Most volunteers who have stayed with a host family note that their stay truly enriched their entire experience abroad. Orphanage volunteers might have the opportunity to stay with the children as many orphanages provide private rooms for international volunteers. These volunteer rooms will normally be shared with a volunteer of the same gender.
A unique and important part of Global Crossroad's successful volunteer abroad programs is our volunteer support in-country. We put safety and comfort first as we deliver enriching and consistent experiences for our international travelers. Our support is multi-faceted while volunteers are in Ecuador and our staff is in contact with our volunteers on a regular basis either with face-to-face visits or via phone/email. Key support comes from our country coordinator and in-country field staff. These individuals are employed by our company and committed to ensuring your experience the best it can be. Your chosen project staff and host family offers support as well, and they are familiar with working with international volunteers and accustomed to answering questions and providing guidance. Volunteers also have access to our country coordinator's mobile number for emergencies. With longer assignments, our field staff visits regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to ensure the experience is meeting your expectations. Sometimes an assignment may be too far to visit physically, so staff members will touch-base via phone/email. You are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time. You are never alone.
Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.
Occasionally, in most cases you will share a room with a same-gender volunteer. Please note your request and we will do our best to meet your needs.
In many situations yes, but please contact our office regarding your situation, since it may depend upon individual accommodation availability and time-of-year circumstances. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders are often not permitted to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
Yes, more often than not, but this depends on the exact assignment and accommodation placement. If you want to travel with a companion or group, we allow and encourage this option. You may be placed with different host families, but these residences will generally be located close (within one to two miles) to each other. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders will normally not be allowed to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
Bathroom facilities depend up on the location and project. Most of our host families have running water and western (or modern)-style toilets. However, in a few projects/accommodations there are varying toilet and bathroom situations.
In most cases, laundry will be washed by hand. It is the responsibility of volunteers.
Yes, but you will need an electrical converter. Information for different countries can be found on the internet, for examplehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity . Your local small appliance specialty or travel retailer can advise you on plugs and voltage converters.
Global Crossroad organizes food and accommodations for the extent of your volunteer assignment.
Global Crossroad can provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. However, we cannot accommodate special dietary needs (i.e. diabetics). If you require a special menu, you will need to be responsible for your own meals.
In most developing countries, tap water is not safe to drink. We recommend that you purchase bottled water for your consumption, but make sure that the cap's seal is not broken! You can also request that your host family boil water for you each day for you to consume.
Specifics pertaining to availability of hot water will be included in participants' placement details.
No, the purchase of bottled water is a volunteer's responsibility.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- How safe is Ecuador?
- British Foreign Office Advice
- American State Department Advice (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html)
- Australian Government Advice (http://www.dfat.gov.au/)
- Canadian Government Advice ( http://canada.gc.ca/main_e.html)
- What are the principle health risks in Ecuador?
- Is the food safe if I buy it from a street vendor?
- What are the sanitary conditions in Ecuador?
- Be prepared and never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time. Carry some tissue in case you need to use the public toilet.
- In Ecuador, toilets generally do not do well when flushing large amounts of items or feminine hygiene products so do not flush them and throw them away in the trash.
- In some areas/restaurants, toilet systems are old, have very narrow plumbing and are easily blocked. In these cases, a small basket is usually placed beside the toilet (for your used toilet paper).
- Use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are tend to be clean. Still, they may not always have toilet paper.
Any international travel requires caution and awareness. We suggest that all volunteers consult their own government advisory office before participating in a Global Crossroad program. International travel does present risks, especially with the modern-day threat of international terrorism. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings and advisories in many countries for American travelers. These travel advisories and warnings change frequently as situations in each country transform.
These links provide travel information:
We use the Center for Disease Control traveler's health recommendations www.cdc.gov. You should also consult a travel doctor who will be knowledgeable about current epidemics, health risks and recommended vaccinations.
No! Ecuador is still considered a developing country and you should be cautious. While you are in Ecuador, food safety should be a major consideration. You can hardly resist the tempting novelty of street vendors and their food variety, but you should abstain. Our suggestion is to avoid eating on the streets until you get familiar with the general situation. The food will likely taste quite different from anything you have had before. Food safety problems can range from chemicals and contaminants, to bacteria as well as some other diseases. In Ecuador, poor food cooking, preparation, and storage, as well as improper cleaning and disinfecting of cooking supplies is very common among street vendors. Therefore, we do not suggest buying food from street vendors.
- Are ATMs easily available? If yes, which debit and credit cards are accepted?
- What is the local currency, and how do I know the exchange rate?
- Where should I exchange my money?
- How much money should I bring with me for my volunteer opportunity in Ecuador?
- Is it safe to carry cash with me?
- How do I contact with Global Crossroad's local coordinator?
- How do I contact my family and friends once I arrive in Ecuador?
- How can my family members contact me?
- Can I bring my telephone from my home country?
- Is there a special dress code that I should follow while volunteering in Ecuador?
- What should I know about religious conduct in Ecuador?
- How do I respect the people of Ecuador?
- What is weather like in Ecuador?
- Official Ecuadorian Holidays
Like many other countries in the world Ecuador schools also observe three sets of holidays: school, official and traditional holidays.
- Jan 1: New Year's Day
- Mar-Apr: Holy Thursday
- Mar-Apr: Holy Friday
- May 1: Labor Day
- May 24: The Battle of Pichincha
- Jul 24: The birthday of Simon Bolivar
- Aug 10: Independence Day
- Oct 9: Independence of Guayaquil
- Nov 2: Day of the Dead
- Nov 3: Independence of Cuenca
- Dec 6: Independence of Quito
- Dec 25: Christmas Day
- Dec 31: New Year's Eve
- What about tipping in Ecuador?
Tipping is expected in Ecuador, but not in taxis.
Restaurants: mid-level to upscale restaurants will tack a 10% service charge onto your bill (along with a 12% tax). No need to tip additional, unless the service has been exceptionally fantastic and $1-2 is enough to indicate your appreciation.
- Materials to Bring
- Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots
- 2 pairs of pants (lightweight)
- 2 T-shirts
- 3 short-sleeved shirts
- 2 long-sleeved shirt
- 3 pairs of shorts and bathing suit
- Lightweight jacket or rain jacket, depending on season
- Layer for warmth, evenings may be cool regardless of season
- Hat or cap
- Towel and personal bath kit
- SPF/sun protection, sunglasses
- Mosquito net
- Bedding (if noted in placement document)
Major cities have ATM machines, although not all will accept international cards. You can withdraw cash from most international banks from ATM machines, but $2-4 USD surcharges apply for each transaction.
MasterCard, Visa, Cirrus/Maestro and American Express cards are usually only accepted at the more expensive restaurants and hotels. Use caution when paying by credit card, as there is potential for fraud.
Ensure that you have notified your home bank of your intent to travel to Ecuador. This will provide you the necessary information and alleviate any confusion at your home bank regarding international transactions, which can result in a cautionary freeze on your account in some cases.
The US dollar became legal tender in Ecuador March 13, 2000 and Sucre notes ceased being legal tender on September 11. Sucre notes remained exchangeable at Banco Central until March 30, 2001 at 25,000 sucres per dollar. Ecuador now only issues its own centavo coins.
You can find the current exchange rate at currency website like www.xe.com, or by looking in a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal.
If you are travelling from the US, there is no need to exchange your money, as the dollar is the country's legal tender. If you are coming from outside the US, there are many ATMs now in cities that are open 24 hours a day. Be sure to keep all currency exchange and ATM receipts, as they are required at the airport bank to convert back to your original currency. If you don't have them, they will refuse to convert your currency.
Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all major international credit cards, including Diners Club and MasterCard, are accepted in the large establishments, although facilities may be limited outside major cities.
Traveler's checks are a good travel option, but will be very difficult to exchange in small towns and villages. Travelers are advised to have cash on hand. You may exchange currencies at the airport or at a bank.
Global Crossroad manages food and rooms for our volunteers throughout the assignment; therefore, you will not need more money to pay for these expenses. However, if you plan to take part in activities outside of our organization or buy some souvenirs, you will need to bring extra money.
On a side note, you must also remember the fee for visas, which can range from US $50-100 depending on the length of stay. There may also be an airport tax that you pay upon your departure from Ecuador. You will want to determine the amount of extra money you bring based on these factors.
Carrying cash is not always safe; therefore, do not carry a large surplus of cash with you. It is advised that you carry cash in a money belt with some additional stashed in your wallet.
The contact details of our Ecuador in-country Coordinator will be given in final placement sheet. You can contact him by email or telephone; we suggest all volunteers talk with country coordinator before they arrive.
International Direct Dialing from Ecuador is available in cities. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and phone booths on the streets. In hotels, local calls are generally charged at a nominal fee. Internet cafes are available in most towns, although they can sometimes be noisy as they are a popular spot for the youth to play online games. You can use any type of communication to call back home.
Communication options depend on where you are placed. Most placements will have access to a post office, so mail and postcards are an option. If you are in a city placement, there are many places to make international phone calls or access the internet. These details will be provided prior to your departure to Ecuador, so you can share communication options with your family and friends before you depart.
Yes, but it may or may not work. You will want to contact your mobile phone provider to make sure that your phone will work while you are in Ecuador, but remember that roaming will apply and those charges can be very, very expensive. To avoid them, you may be able to buy a local SIM card to use in your phone. Research and confirm this information before traveling.
CULTURE & CUSTOMS
Volunteers should dress conservatively when at their assignments. Jeans and a t-shirt are acceptable. No short-shorts and tank tops please. Remember to consider the regional religious beliefs of Ecuador, which may be extremely conservative and revealing clothing is unacceptable - shorts and skirts must be at least knee-length and no one should show their shoulders.
According to the CIA World Factbook, 92% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic. Other religions are present in small numbers: Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Church / Eastern Orthodoxy, Mormonism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. The people of Ecuador respect different cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs and moral concepts. You may practice on your own accord. Remember to be respectful of Ecuadorian customs and traditions while traveling.
Be inclusive and show respect of their culture.
Ecuador's culture is rich in customs and traditions. People of Ecuador enjoy sharing their customs and traditions with foreigners so feel free to take part with them. You can go with your host family on outings if they ask you to or invite them along with you to go on an outing. Simply helping your family do household chores will be another bonding experience that you can enjoy.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ECUADOR CLIMATE
NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is generic information and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly. Participants should consult Global Crossroad or travel advisors to verify this information.