What to Bring
Personal Items and Clothing
Quito enjoys mild days and cool nights almost year-round. The temperature ranges from 7 degrees C (55 F) at night to 26 C (78 F) at noon, and averages 15 C (64 F). Your wardrobe must be prepared to handle "four seasons" a given single day, since temperature will vary greatly through the day.
The best way to prepare for this type of climate is to emphasize year-round weights. A raincoat and umbrella are a must, as is a good sweater. Blue jeans, corduroy, and other fabric materials, are acceptable and should prove quite practical for some excursions and picnics. A good, comfortable pair of shoes for hiking and mountain excursions is also advised. Women may wear slacks and in fact will find them more comfortable than skirts. A jacket and tie or dress will be necessary for an occasional reception, trip to the theater, party, etc.
For the city, wear clothes that are comfortable but not worn out. Shorts are seldom worn in Quito. For trips and tours, slacks are necessary, as is a raincoat and heavy sweater. Students should bring closed shoes as sandals are not usually worn.
For the trip to the Cotopaxi (15,000 ft.) warmer clothes will be needed. It is suggested that you bring the following: wind-breaker, good solid leather shoes, gloves, sunglasses, cap, ear muffs, woolen socks, and a scarf. You will not be able to enjoy the breath-taking scenery if you get cold! However, you will be able to buy warm clothes at Otavalo and Quito Ejido´s park markets.
The electric current is the same as in the United States. Space and weight permitting, you may wish to bring an electric shaver and hair dryer.
Remember that participants should bring their own set of towels, and if they like, some photographs from home and a little gift for the family.
Do not forget to bring a Spanish-English dictionary and the books noted in section IV with you. This will serve you in some frustrating moments and will aid in communication. If you plan to bring a camera, bring film as it is more expensive in Ecuador. Alkaline batteries or lithium are hard to find and expensive. Therefore, bring batteries with you.
Women should bring a supply of feminine hygiene products as we have had complaints from female participants in the past about the quality of Ecuadorian products.
Because of its high altitude, keep in mind the need to use high factor sun protection at all times.
Tiputini Biodiversity Station has a tropical climate; that is, high temperatures, high level of humidity and abundant rain. You can click this link to know what to bring to the Amazon jungle.
For what to bring to Galápagos, please see here.
Ecuador's currency is the American dollar. Bring American Express travelers' checks. They are easy to cash and easy to replace if they should be stolen. Bring about 50 dollars in one-dollar bills. They will prove handy. American Express, Visa, Diner's Club and MasterCard are all accepted in Quito, so you might want to carry any of these credit cards with you.
How much money should you bring with you? It depends on how tempted you will be by those beautiful Andean sweaters (about $25-35.00 each) or those woolen tapestries (about $40.00 each) and the inexpensive handicrafts. You may also want to do some traveling on free weekends. Normally, students spent between $700-1000 during their time in Ecuador.
The easiest way to withdraw money is from ATMs. There is a machine inside the university that we recommend. Do not forget to let your bank know that you are traveling in Ecuador.
Be careful with your belongings. Leave your valuables in the United States. Once in Quito, you can register your passport at the American Embassy and you must always carry a xeroxed copy of your passport and your USFQ ID. As in any major city, extra care should be taken on buses and in crowded places.