What are the best currency tips in Ecuador ?
Since 2000, the US dollar has replaced the local currency the “sugar” which name came from General Sucre, one of the liberators of the country in the nineteenth century.
The notes come from the United States.
If you are American, you don’t need to exchange currencies. Just bring some good old US dollars.
It is not easy to exchange currencies (even euros) in Ecuador, simply because few banks do currency exchange, and currency exchange retails are rare outside airports (where the exchange rate is mediocre) and large cities.
We advise you to have American dollars, but only small denominations (max 20 US $), because the 50 and 100 US $ notes are very difficult to sell. Indeed there are many fake notes and also because shopkeepers do not have enough cash.
Otherwise, there are ATM everywhere, delivering dollars directly. But be sure to bring a reserve of dollars in cash, in case you encounter problems with your credit card, which, sometimes happens.
On the other hand, traveler’s checks are not recommended because no bank changes them.
As a rule, currency exchange (aka casa de cambio ) are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and sometimes on Saturday morning.
There are many ATMs accepting international cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diner's Club, Maestro or Cirrus). Some local banks add their own commission (1-2 US $), others do not.
Anyway, usually the fee is 3% of the withdrawal. Also make sure to withdraw money during the day and in a busy place or to use the ATMs of a bank branch during working hours.
- Withdrawal problems: attention, some travelers find it difficult to make withdrawals, either because the banks limit the amounts available according to their cash reserves (there are sometimes shortages at weekends and days of pay!), or, most commonly... for a reason we do not understand.
The first thing to do, if you are refused to withdraw some money, is to ask for a lower amount. Otherwise try somewhere else.