you live in the Sierra, you should be aware of altitude sickness, as it will be the first thing that affects you when you arrive.
Quito is 2880 m above sea level and Cuenca is about 2530 m above sea
level. Do not be surprised if you tire easily or find yourself breathing more heavily.
Take it easy for the first 3 or 4 days, drink lots of water, try coca
tea, and you will slowly adjust. Altitude sickness pills may
be a good idea for senior citizens or people with
It is not recommended to climb any mountains for the first couple of
should exercise care when drinking water from the tap. Water in some
places is potable (eg. Cuenca), but may take time to get used to and
you may never get used to it. You can drink bottled water first and gradually add amounts of tap water. Brushing your teeth with tap water should not be a problem nor should washing your hands to remove contact lenses.
have a very different concept of food safety and basic hygiene than
people in North America or Europe. Even in big cities like Quito,
stores, restaurants and host families will often have their doors and
windows wide open. Food is sometimes not covered or refrigerated, even when it is a good idea to do so.
When allergies or parasite infections develop here, the usual suspects
are water, mayonnaise, wieners and other “street meat”. Food here is
generally “richer”, so you and your digestive system will take time to adapt to this.
Want to know more about ecuadorian food?
Click here for more info about typical ecuadorian menus
Some people also develop allergies to insect bites (mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, etc.) Symptoms include red spots varying in
size, shape and color all over the body. There are medications and creams available,
but it is best to consult a local physician before purchasing anything.
In some areas (i.e.: jungle) it is recommended to use pills against malaria.
lens solution should be bought in your home country, as it is very
expensive and sometimes hard to find in Ecuador. But more importantly,
some solutions still use hydrogen peroxide, which causes lesions in the cornea. If you do buy solution here, read the label very carefully and follow instructions to the word.