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Packing for Ecuador/Tipping for Guide

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Packing for Ecuador/Tipping for Guide

We'll be leaving for Ecuador at the end of Aug for 9 days and we're using a guide who will drive us throughout the country including Quito, Otavalo, Banos and Cotopaxi. We will going through the jungle, riding the training, hiking part of a volcano, etc. What is the recommendation for packing? I'm thinking if I bring layers, I should be in good shape along with a rain coat, gloves, hiking boots, etc. Does anyone have any other recommendations? Also, can anyone provide a guideline for tipping a guide in this situation? Thanks.

Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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1. Re: Packing for Ecuador/Tipping for Guide

Layers are definitely the way to pack. I would leave behind the bulky rain coat and get a long plastic/vinyl poncho with hood. Give it to the guide or someone else when you're done with it. Don't forget a hat with a brim all around and plenty of high SPF sunscreen.

You can find all sorts of major brand toiletries here, though not in travel sizes. I like to carry pocket-sized Kleenex packets to use as TP; also available here.

Really important are small bills. Cab drivers, small restaurants, and stores can't make change very easily. Bring a good wad of $1s and 5s. The ATMs dispense mostly 20s and sometimes a few 10s and they are hard to change. (Sometimes an ATM will dispense 10s and 5s).

As for tipping, did you book the guide through an agency, or did he set his own fee? If they've set their own fee, I figure they've already built in a tip for themselves. If they work for an agency, 10-15% of the price is fair.

Salem, VA
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2. Re: Packing for Ecuador/Tipping for Guide

I got the best packing advice from PDXWindjammer. She recommended layers and I couldn’t agree more. My husband & I visited Quito, traveled the Quilotoa Loop (Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Chugchilan and Saquisilli), then spent a day in Mindo before heading to Galapagos. We got back on August 3, 2009.

Upon the advice of PDXWindjammer, I brought a light hooded jacket, a fleece jacket and a down vest. This combination was perfect for the changing weather conditions. The light jacket was all I needed in Quito. In the Quilotoa Loop, we found the weather to be clear and sunny in the morning with cold wind and clouds arriving every afternoon. You’ll definitely need a hat, scarf and gloves at Cotopaxi.

I’m glad that I packed: microfiber shorts and pants (easy to wash and dry quickly); a pair of dark jeans and a decent blouse for wearing in Quito; a basic first aid kit; a good wide-brimmed hat; and more sun screen than I thought I’d need. I packed but didn’t need a water filtration kit (no matter how far off the beaten path we got, bottled water was readily available) and silk long underwear. I wish I had brought along a back up pair of good quality sunglasses (I got thrown off a horse and broke mine – this was also the reason I’m glad I brought the first aid kit).

Azbuceadora is right on the money! You absolutely must bring cash in small bills. We couldn’t even get change for $10’s in some places. Regarding tips for the driver/guides, we gave $15-20 per day. We also bought lunch and some snacks for our primary driver along the way, which he seemed to enjoy. Our drivers were arranged through an agency. The agency told us that a tip of $10-20 per day for good service is appropriate.

Have a great trip!

3. Re: Packing for Ecuador/Tipping for Guide

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