What to Wear and Pack
- Cash, credit card(s) (see our Money Matters section)
- First-aid kit including, besides the usual items, at least 50 SPF sunscreen lotion and lip protector, and sunburn salve (such as aloe vera gel)
- Personal prescription medicines, as they might not be found in Ecuador, or they might be found by a different name
- Clothes for warm and cool weather, preferably ones that can be layered
- Money belt or neck pouch
- Camera: a small and light one, if possible; if you bring your pro camera, be very careful in cities, as it will attract thieves
Always carry some toilet paper or pocket tissues, and soap or antibacterial gel; you will most probably need them at some point.
As a suggestion, leave copies and information of all important documents (passport, credit cards, and travelers’ checks numbers) at your hotel, or with someone at home, or e-mail them to yourself, so you can get or print these any time.
The climate in the northern Andean region of Ecuador is said to be milder than that of the southern and central ones, but travelers should still be prepared for all conditions. For traveling and city stays, as the weather can change quickly and unexpectedly at any time of the year, it is best to wear layers that you can take off and put on as needed. Fleece or wool sweaters, scarves, and gloves for the cold are good. For outdoor activities, clothes and shoes made of synthetic materials that either dry fast or are water-resistant are recommended; sun protection such as hat, long-sleeved shirts and pants, sunglasses, and high SPF sun block lotion and chap stick are a must, even if the temperature is mild. For trekking through paramo, rubber boots work exceptionally well. In major cities you can get by in jeans and any comfortable footwear.
T-shirts or tank tops, shorts, light trousers (or skirts), a light sweater, jacket, or windbreaker for the evening and cooler days, sandals, swimsuit, beach towel, high SPF waterproof sunscreen, insect repellent, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, plastic bags to protect your items from getting wet and/or to put wet clothes in. There is always a chance of rain, so clothes made of quick-drying material are preferable, and also a waterproof jacket. For the Galapagos you can bring your own snorkel gear and wetsuit, but they are always available with your tour guides/operators, and an underwater camera, if you have one. Make sure you bring travel sickness medicine, even if you have boating experience, because the frequent switch between land and water, and small spaces on boats, can make you feel sick easily.
Comparatively speaking the Rainforest in Ecuador is quite developed, but it’s still very remote in some areas, where it can be very hard or just not possible to find some supplies, so we recommend packing everything you need as though you were not to find it, especially if you are very particular about your needs. Within the Rainforest, most traveling is done by canoe and by foot and your bags will usually be moved a lot, so the best is a hard frame backpack or a strong duffel bag; you will also need a daypack (small backpack) for day trips and hikes. In general the weather is hot, but during the evenings it can cool down quite a bit if it rains; clothes that dry fast and that can be layered work best; also, clothes take longer to dry because of humidity, so bring several changes. Comfortable walking shoes or boots are a must, and sandals or shoes that can get wet; rubber boots are supplied at all lodges. Don’t forget your first-aid kit (see our Health & Safety section) including personal medications, and your personal toiletries. We recommend avery good digital camera (with a waterproof case) with a long distance lens because there are lots of chances for great wildlife pictures, and/or binoculars for just watching without all the trouble.
Here’s a list of items for the Amazon to add to the general packing list:
- Cheap but not too thin rain poncho (lodges have ponchos, but just in case!)
- Lightweight jacket or sweater
- Shorts and short sleeve shirts or tank tops
- At least one pair of lightweight pants and one long sleeve shirt (cotton is great for the jungle)
- Cotton socks
- Bathing suit
- Insect repellent
- Extra batteries
- Lots of plastic bags to protect electronic or paper products from humidity