7 Things Tourists Should Bring to Ecuador
1. Single Dollar Bills- No one has change in this country and you can't use cards for anything. If you try to use a $10 or $20 bill, most places will turn you away. They would rather not have your business than give you their beloved change. ATMs in Quito only give you 20s (which doesn't make any sense to me), so the best thing to do is make lots of change before you come. Seriously, bring $100 in one and five dollar bills. Things in Quito are so cheap you won't ever need a $20 bill.
2. Sunscreen- At 10,000 feet, Quito is probably closer to the sun than you are used to. Even if it is overcast, you can still burn in the city. I wear sunscreen every single day, even if I have no intention of being outside.
3. Flashlight- If you plan on traveling anywhere cool in Ecuador, you will need a flashlight. Who knows if you will end up on an overnight bus and want to read a book? Or drunkenly digging through your backpack in a hostel at 2 AM, not wanting to turn on the lights and wake up the other 10 backpackers snoring around you? Or way up in the mountains in an eco-lodge with no electricity?
4. Copy of Your Passport- Don't bring your passport out and about with you; leave it at your hotel/hostel. Instead, I carry around a copy of my passport in my bag at all times, just in case. You might randomly need it to get in a club or go through a police checkpoint.
5. Chapstick- Quito is really dry so you will be wanting to moisturize often. I go through so much moisturizer and chapstick it's not even funny.
All the various lip balms I carry with me on any given day
6. Spanish Phrasebook- Lots of people in Quito/Ecuador don't speak English and it will be much easier to travel around the city and country if you can look up a few things. Whether that be directions for a taxi driver or drink orders at a canelazo bar, you will be thankful to have a pocket dictionary with you.
7. Sweaters AND Bathing Suits- Even though we are on the equator and our weather should be consistent, it can be all over the place and unpredictable. Sometimes it might be 60 degrees in the morning, 75 and raining in the afternoon, and 45 and chilly at night. I always wear a tank top or tee shirt with a cardigan and bring a jacket along with a hat or scarf in my bag. Prepare for any type of weather when you leave your hostel in the morning. The minute the sun sets, the temperature drops like 10 degrees in Quito.
Extra Item For The Lady Folk- Tampons! I assume Ecuadorian women mostly use pads because tampons are few and far between in the pharmacys and are crazy expensive. I would stock up in the States and bring a bunch with you. Thank me later.