that phone numbers changed in Ecuador in 2002. The new codes
Quito are (022) formerly (02) and
Guayaquil (042) formerly (042). All other cities also now seven-digit.
Cellular phones (099) formerly (09), also now 097, 096 and 094.
Check out Quito's excellent Visitors' Bureau site: www.quito.com.ec, with a newsletter and a calendar of events.
There are many new sights in Quito to enjoy, including the Botanical Gardens in the Parque Carolina, the Itchimbia cultural centre (formerly a 19th century market) with stunning views, as well as the new Teleferiqo cable car (www.teleferiqo.com) which takes passengers up to 4,000 metres. See www.quito.com.ec for more on these. New hotels include the 4-star Patio Andaluz colonial-style offer in the Old Town, and new restaurants Mea Culpa in the Archbishop's Palace and Pimm's in the shadow of the Virgen on the Panecillo with great views.
de Turismo: tel
(022) 224972 or 507559 email firstname.lastname@example.org web site www.vivecuador.com,
Avenida Eloy Alfaro 1214 and Carlos Tovar. The main office
is open between 8:30 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday,
with a break for lunch. Similar hours apply for the office
in the old town tel (022) 514044, on Venezuela and Chile,
but the airport office tel (022) 246232, is open from 7 am
to 7 pm. Hotel reservations can be made from the offices
in the old town and at the airport.
American Explorers (SAE): Annual membership is US$50
for a single person and US$70 for a couple. For this outlay,
members get a comfortable place to relax in a restored colonial
building in central Quito, a good lending library and bookshop
for maps and books about Ecuador, access to members' trip
reports, knowledgeable and friendly staff, a mailing address
and use of computers for e-mail, weekly talks and lectures,
copies of the club's magazine, use of members' notice board,
advice on where to stay, facilities for storing equipment,
etc. They also organize weekly 'walkabouts' of the old town,
and trekking/climbing trips around the country.
The club's headquarters
are in the United States tel (607) 277-0488 fax (607)
277-6122 toll-free (800) 274-0568, 126 Indian Creek Road,
Ithaca, NY 14850, USA email email@example.com
(There are other clubhouses in Lima and Cuzco, Peru.)
in Quito new town is at Jorge Washington 311 and Leonidas
Plaza, Mariscal Sucre tel/fax (022) 225228 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. The office is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, weekdays
only. Non-members are allowed to visit once, but only members
are allowed to use the facilities.
Unfortunately, the Council's branch in Quito shut
down. So much for Tony Blair's Britain! You should be
able to contact them on the email above. Or else contact the
British Embassy for where to find a decent cup of tea in Ecuador
(the only place is Cafe Cultura...).
del Ambiente: tel (022) 548924 web site (for parks) www.ambiente.gov.ec,
is in the monolithic building at the corner of Eloy Alfaro
and Amazonas. It's pretty hard to get some sense from anyone
there, but someone in the building will, eventually, be able
to sell you books, leaflets and CD-ROMs about Ecuador's national
parks and natural wonders. Good Spanish helps!
& police dial 911
and long distance domestic telephone calls, Andinatel
has offices just west of the junction of Colón
and Amazonas in the new town (among others), Benalcazár
and Meija in the old town, at Terminal Terrestre and at the
office on the ground floor of the big, modern building
at Reina Victoria and Colón.
(Federal Express) tel (022) 251356 or 253552; EMS tel
(022) 543468 or 569741 Eloy Alfaro and 9 de Octubre; DHL
tel (022) 556118, Colón 1333 and Foch, or tel (022)
485100 Eloy Alfara and de los Juncos.
a plethora of film and processing labs on Amazonas.
Among the best is Ecuacolor, near Roca. Also clustering around
Amazonas are the most useful banks.
Militar (IGM), Venezuela 573 and Sucre (by the Casa Museo
de Sucre, old town) or Senierges and Paz y Miño (above
Parque El Ejido) email email@example.com, for topographical maps.
= 'Gringolandia': the area around Juan León Mera
and Calama. Cybermania, 1st floor, Amazonas 239 opposite Hotel
HotHello. Ecotrackers headquarters further south. Papaya Net
at the corner of Juan León Mera and Calama. Onda Cyber
Café, by the Maple II restaurant on Calama. Planeta
Net on Calama, between Amazonas and Juan León Mera.
Money: It's the greenback all the way $$$!
You can cash travelers' checks and change money
at most banks and casas de cambio (moneychangers),
and the rates aren't significantly different. Most banks are
open between 9 am and 1:30 pm on weekdays. Moneychangers are
usually open until about 6 pm. Some major hotels will
cash travelers' checks for non-residents, which can be very
helpful if you are strapped for cash on a weekend, but usually
not very cost-effective.
Teller Machines (ATMs) are becoming more common in cities
throughout the country. They are about the most economical
way of using cash abroad. For Visa, head to Banco de Guayaquil, and
for Mastercard to Banco del Pacífico. Check with your
home bank before leaving about any charges you might incur.
My advice would be to bring a mix of dollars cash, traveler's
checks and various Visa or Mastercards.
you're bringing dollars in cash (or changing traveler's checks),
make sure you ask for small denominations (no bills
larger than $20). Many stores and small businesses won't accept
US$100 or US$50 bills, and it can be frustrating attempting
to get them changed.