Ecuador: paradise on the cheap

Ecuador: paradise on the cheap

The South American country of Ecuador, which includes the famed Galapagos Islands, which inspired Darwin’s evolutionary theory, features a rich diversity of plant and animal life that puts most other countries in the world to shame. Located along the Equator, hence the country’s name, Ecuador also provides different climatic regions ranging from tropical to cool temperatures in the higher elevated regions, and these climates stay the same year-round, which makes any time a good time to travel there and enjoy one of the best kept secrets of international tourism. Even though it uses the US dollar as its main unit of currency, prices are inexpensive allowing any traveler, regardless of budget, to have a whopping good time there.   Getting in, out, and about   In order to boost its tourism trade, Ecuador has made it possible to travel inside its borders without a visa no matter what country you hail from. All you need is your passport, which gives you access for up to 90 days. While it is possible to apply for an additional 90 days from inside Ecuador, if your travel plans involve a vacation longer than three months, your best bet is to apply for a visa from the US before you go. Your passport should have up to six months validity from the point at which you plan to leave the country because you have to show it both upon entry and upon exit.   International flights come into airports in both the capital city of Quito and the southern port city of Guayaquil, but if you can swing it, you can save some money on your entry fee by flying into the latter city rather than the capital. This entry fee is typically charged as part of your air fare, but in Quito the amount is around $40, whereas in Guayaquil it is less than $30. While a $10 difference may not seem like much, it goes a long way in Ecuador, so that savings can mean more to see and do and eat.   Most of Ecuador is covered by the Amazon rainforest. As such, in addition to being up to date on your standard vaccinations, it is a good idea to get additional vaccinations as well to protect you against some of the transmittable diseases found in this region. These include yellow fever, malaria, and typhoid, which can be vaccinated or...

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