Ecuador - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
Last published date:

Business Customs

Business customs in Ecuador are similar to those in other Latin American countries.  Ecuadorians are formal in their business relations, with suits and ties the norm in the highlands and more casual attire common on the warmer coastal and Amazon regions.  Business meetings are conducted in offices or restaurants, the latter often used in order to become better acquainted with a potential business partner.  While meetings normally start somewhat after the appointed time, Americans are expected to be punctual.  Whatever the venue of a business meeting, small talk usually precedes business discussions.

Regarding social courtesies, Ecuadorians are polite and well mannered.  Superiors are treated in a friendly but respectful way, and the use of a title (such as doctor, economist, or engineer) before a name is common.  Business is conducted in Spanish, and efforts by Americans to speak Spanish are appreciated.

Interpreters are available for Americans who do not speak Spanish.  When invited to an Ecuadorian home, a gift such as flowers or wine is appreciated.

Travel Advisory

The State Department provides risk assessments related to ongoing violence, dangers and unrest that could affect U.S. citizens in various countries around the world.  There is currently a State Department Travel Advisory in effect for U.S. citizens planning travel to Ecuador.  For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website  where worldwide and country-specific travel information is published.

Crime is a widespread problem in Ecuador.  Violent crime, such as murder, assault, armed robbery, and express kidnapping (where criminals enter a taxi or other vehicle and force victims to withdraw money from ATMs) is common.

Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country.  Public demonstrations can take place for a variety of political and economic issues.  Demonstrations can cause the shutdown of local roads and major highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines.  Road closures may significantly reduce access to public transportation and airports and may disrupt travel both within and between cities. 

For further information concerning travel to Ecuador, U.S. travelers should consult the Department of State’s country-specific information for Ecuador.  In addition to information available on our website, up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or Canada, or for overseas callers, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

U.S. citizens living in or visiting Ecuador are encouraged to register and update their information online at the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) webpage. They can also obtain updated information on travel and security in Ecuador either at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Quito or via the Embassy’s website.

The American Citizen Services sections at the U.S. Embassy in Quito and the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil are providing regular routine services. For general inquiries, please email or  For passport appointments, please visit the U.S. Mission in Ecuador’s “Passports” webpage.

The U.S. Consulate General in Guayaquil, Ecuador provides consular services to the Ecuadorian provinces of Galapagos, Manabi, Guayas, Santa Elena, Los Rios, El Oro, Cañar, Azuay, Loja, and Zamora Chinchipe.  Consular services for all other areas of Ecuador are provided by the U.S. Embassy in Quito.


The U.S Embassy is located at:

E12-170 Avigiras Ave. and Eloy Alfaro

Quito, Ecuador

Phone +593 2 398 5000


The U.S Consulate General Guayaquil is located at:

Santa Ana St. and Jose Rodriguez Bonin Ave. San Eduardo Sector

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Phone +593 4 371 7000

Visa requirements

If you are a U.S. citizen wishing to enter Ecuador, you must present a U.S. passport with at least six months remaining validity.  Ecuadorian immigration officials also sometimes request evidence of return or onward travel, such as an airline ticket.

Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days in any 12-month period without a visa. Extensions for up to another 90 days can be requested through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility.

If you are planning a visit longer than 90 days, you must obtain a visa in advance of your arrival.  For further information about the visa application process, travelers should contact the closest Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate in the United States.  A full list of Ecuadorian consular offices in the United States is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility’s website.

More detailed information and requirements for visas in Ecuador can be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility’s website.  You can also visit the website for the Embassy of Ecuador in the United States for the most current visa information, or for further information regarding entry, exit, or customs requirements.  If you stay in Ecuador beyond the terms of your visa, you may be barred from re-entering Ecuador in the future.  A substantial fine may be imposed by Ecuadorian immigration that will need to be paid before you travel to Ecuador again.

U.S. citizens born in Ecuador are required to show an Ecuadorian passport or national ID card upon entering and exiting Ecuador.  More information is available on the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador’s website.

U.S. citizen children born in Ecuador who are traveling without one or both parents must present a copy of a birth certificate and notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent(s).  If the parent is deceased, a notarized copy of the death certificate is required.  For more information, see the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Ecuador’s website.

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States may review U.S. visa requirements on the State Department’s visa website.


The U.S Dollar is the legal currency in Ecuador.  Credit and debit cards are widely accepted.  There are many ATMs across the country that accept U.S. ATM networks, including Banco Guayaquil and Banco Pichincha.  Visitors should be aware that bank transaction fees often apply.  Major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are accepted at larger retailers and many restaurants.  Vendors will often require additional photo identification. 

Traveler’s checks are not accepted for purchases. Traveler’s checks can be exchanged for cash at a bank or in currency exchange offices in major cities or at the airport.  Many smaller retailers only accept cash.  Generally, merchants will not accept bills larger than $20.


Ecuador’s telephone network covers almost the entire nation, including the Galapagos Islands.  Large cities and towns have relatively reliable telephone service. 

Fixed-line telephone service is provided by the public telecommunications company CNT (Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) and covers the coastal areas and the highlands.

There is effective cellular coverage throughout almost the entire country, though limited signal may be available in rural areas.  There are three competing providers: Claro, Movistar, and CNT.  Each company has kiosks around the country that sell prepaid and monthly plans for cellular usage as well as internet USB modems and mobile internet packages.

In the major cities and principal tourist locations, internet access is readily available at larger hotels and Internet cafes.  The latter typically also offer email, VOIP, telephone, and fax services.

Ecuador uses 110 volts, 60 cycle electricity.  Plugs are typically the two-pronged flat type so travelers from the United States will not typically need a converter or adapter.


Ecuador has two main international airports, Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito (UIO) and Jose Joaquin Olmedo Airport in Guayaquil (GYE).  Both airports are also used for domestic flights.  Overseas travelers to the Galapagos Islands will need to connect through one of the international airports in Quito or Guayaquil.  There are two domestic airports in the Galapagos, Seymour Airport (GPS) on Baltra and San Cristobal Airport (SCY) on San Cristobal Island.  Ecuador has several other international and domestic airports in the cities of Cuenca, Manta, Puerto Viejo, Salinas, and Carchi.  There are several U.S. and international airlines servicing routes from the United States to Ecuador.  American Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue, United, Avianca, Spirit, LATAM airlines, AeroMexico, and Copa Airlines offer more than 100 flights arriving to Ecuador from the United States each week.

Taxis are plentiful and fares are reasonable and are generally the most effective way of moving around within cities.  For security reasons, the U.S. Embassy recommends that travelers use radio taxis, rather than hailing taxis on the street.  Uber is available in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil.

Car rental is available throughout the country, although it is expensive compared to U.S. rental costs.  It can be difficult to rent vehicles with automatic transmissions and should be specially requested ahead of time when making a rental reservation.

Travelers should be aware that Ecuador has a high rate of auto accidents.  Tourists and temporary visitors are allowed to drive for 90 days in Ecuador on a valid U.S. driver’s license and the passport showing the entry date stamp.  While in Ecuador, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  Although some of Ecuador’s roads and highways have greatly improved in recent years, road travel throughout Ecuador can still be dangerous, especially at night.  Driving practices differ from U.S. standards, and drivers often disobey traffic laws and signals.  Buses stop without warning to pick up or drop off passengers.  Drivers rarely yield to pedestrians and cyclists.

If you are the driver of a vehicle involved in an automobile accident, even if you are not at fault, you may        be taken into police custody, especially if injuries are involved or if you do not have insurance.  If injuries or damages are serious, you may face criminal charges.


Ecuador’s official language is Spanish, but Quichua is spoken by many indigenous people.  Nine additional indigenous languages also are spoken in Ecuador.  English is spoken in major cities.


Travelers to Quito may require some time to adjust to the altitude (close to 10,000 feet), which can adversely affect blood pressure, digestion, and energy level.  Travelers are encouraged to consult with their personal health care providers before undertaking high-altitude travel and may wish to purchase travelers’ insurance.  In particular, travelers with heart or lung problems and persons with sickle cell trait may develop serious health complications at high altitudes.


All travelers should be up to date on their routine vaccinations, including the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria- tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and polio vaccine.  In addition, the CDC recommends that travelers to Ecuador receive the Hepatitis A vaccine and the typhoid vaccine.  Some travelers should consider additional vaccines depending on nature of their travel, including rabies vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccine, and Yellow Fever vaccine.  More information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1800 CDC INFO (1800 232 4636) or via the CDC’s internet site:

Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands - Traveler view | Travelers’ Health | CDC

Adequate medical and dental care is available in major cities.  In smaller communities and in the Galapagos Islands, services are limited, and the quality is generally well below U.S. standards and ambulance service is limited.

Pharmacies are widely available.  However, some medications might not be offered, and brand names will differ from products in the United States.

Exercise caution if you explore herbal and folk remedies.

Medical Insurance: Travelers should be certain their health insurance plans provide coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

The Ecuadorian mainland is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT –5) and the Galapagos islands are six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT –6).  Ecuador does not utilize Daylight Savings Time.  The workweek is Monday to Friday.  Normal working hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with lunch taken at 1 p.m.

Prior to planning business travel, it is advisable to consult the schedule of Ecuadorian Holidays.  It is strongly advised to avoid travel during Holy Week (the week before Easter) and the Christmas Holiday season (mid-December to mid-January) as many people take vacation during this time.

The following is a listing of the official statutory public holidays in Ecuador when most government institutions and commercial offices are closed.  Certain other days are celebrated as holidays within local jurisdictions.

Ecuador 2024 Holidays

DateDay of the WeekHoliday
January 1MondayNew Year’s Day
February 12MondayCarnival
February 13TuesdayCarnival
March 29FridayGood Friday
May 3FridayLabor Day
May 24FridayBattle of Pichincha
July 26FridayFounding of Guayaquil
August 9FridayEcuador Independence Day
October 11FridayGuayaquil Independence Day
November 1FridayAll Souls Day
November 4MondayCuenca Independence Day
December 6FridayFounding of Quito
December 25WednesdayChristmas Day

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:

When entering Ecuador, items bought for personal use are not subject to import duties.  This includes clothing, toiletries, toys, printed material, medicines, and orthopedic equipment.  Other items also exempt from duties include personal electronics, musical instruments (3 units), sports equipment (3 pieces), alcoholic beverages (3 liters), 20 cigarette packs, home electronics for personal use, cellphone (1 new, 1 used), and one drone among other items.

For additional information and a complete list of allowed personal items please visit the Customs website at: