We are SO excited to have several new placements in Ecuador and the Galapagos for Spanish speakers. Here is some info about getting to Ecuador:
– FLIGHTS The cheapest way for me from Heathrow, London was via American Airlines (very basic and nothing to shout home about) to Miami and then to get another American Airlines (oh no! not again!) flight to Quito the capital.
– VISA WAIVER Even though I was only in transit, I had to pay US$14 for a visa waiver – just another form of taxation! You have to do this online through Esta and you can’t actually check in on line without paying for this first. Keep your certificate with you even for your return journey.
– MIAMI AIRPORT Allow plenty of time at Miami as you have to go and claim your baggage and then check it in and go through more security! Coming back, I must have been in the queue for passport control for an hour so my advice is ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME FOR CONNECTING FLIGHTS!
– TRAVEL GUIDE On the planes, I read the Lonely Planet “Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands” – a great little guide with lots of relevant information and the odd bit of humour too.
– AIRPORT TAXI Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is a sprawling city and in normal conditions the journey from the new airport takes about 45 minutes into the centre. However, in rush hours, it could take anything up to a couple of hours! The journey could cost anything from US$30 to US@50 depending on the time of day.
– TRAVELLING BY BUS You can travel round Quito by public bus for just 25 cents! Any distance within the city! That’s about 15p!
– CURRENCY The currency in Ecuador is US$ which makes it very easy to get it both outside and inside the country. There are plenty of ATMs in Quito where you can withdraw money but be careful in the Galapagos as ATMs are rare so take all your dollars with you.
– VISA As a British citizen, I got my visa on arrival and there was no charge. The same applies for most countries however there are some exclusions so do check for yourself.
– GALAPAGOS ISLANDS The flight to the Galapagos from Quito costs (currently) between US$450 and US$500. On top of that, the entrance fee to the National Park is US$100. On departure from Quito airport, you also need to pay US$10 immigration fee. The price of most boat journeys from one island to another is US$30 and these should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
– FOOD There is lots of fish available as well as fruits (from which they make the most delicious home made juice drinks) and vegetables. It is customary to have eggs for breakfast every day! and these come in tortillas, scrambled, poached….. Ecuadorians do not really cater for vegetarians. Guinea pig is sometimes available but very pricey and if you are brave enough to try it, make sure you get a fat one as they can be a bit boney!
(If you would like to know about our volunteer placements in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands which are for Spanish speakers, then send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring on 04833 208 158. The details are now up on our website: www.volunteervacations.co.uk)