RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST
We recommend you to pack the following for your trip:
For Baños & Cotococha:
- Passport (bring always a copy as well)
- Digital camera
- Insect repellent
- Sun cream (a high factor is recommended)
- Lip balm with sun-block (a high factor is recommended)
- Light cotton pants
- Long-sleeved light cotton shirts
- Bathing Suit
- Comfortable shoes and/or sandals
- Extra pairs of socks
- Hat or Cap for sun protection
- Small day pack (camelback if possible)
- Plastic bags to protect cameras or films from rain and humidity
- Flashlight and batteries
- Binoculars (if possible)
Additional Packing List for Cotopaxi National Park & Papallacta:
- Warm pants and long-sleeved fleece
- Waterproof jacket
- Mountain hat
- Mountain gloves
- Buff or scarf
- Trekking shoes/boots
- Water bottle
- Walking stick
Cotococha Amazon Lodge provides:
- Rubber boots up to size 46 (European size)
- Life jackets for canoe, balsa and tubing trips on the river
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR STAY AT PAPALLACTA & LUNA RUNTUN
Please note that the entrance to the thermo-ludic and Spa area in Termas Papallacta and the Spa area of Luna Runtun are not included in the price; if you like to enjoy this area of each Hotel, you will have to pay directly for these services; the same with drinks and snacks at each Hotel.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR YOUR STAY AT COTOCOCHA
Drinks and snacks are not included in your package and must be paid on the last night of your stay in cash.
All the drinking water used for cooking and all offered drinks (including ice), has been treated and is totally safe for human consumption. Water from the tab or shower in your cabin should not be taken. We supply one bottle of mineral water in the room, upon arrival. Additional bottles of mineral water can be purchased at the bar.
In the tropical rainforest it is best to be prepared for all kinds of weather. A common question we receive is about the "dry and rainy seasons" of the Amazon, but it is better not to trust such generalizations to plan a trip. At times it can be hot and sunny, but a cool rainstorm may appear at a moment's notice during any time of the year. In general the driest months are between November and February and the wettest months between April and July.
What about insects and malaria?
There has NOT been any malaria in the area until now. So no prophylaxis will be needed, if you only visit the Sierra and our area. But other rainforest places like Coca and Lago Agrio do have malaria problems, as well as the North coast (Atacames). You should then take medicines with you, if you intend to go to these places.
The fact that we do not have malaria does not mean that there are no insects in our area!! Therefore, it would be better to protect yourself. Not at night, as everybody thinks, since you can walk around during this time with shorts without any problem, but during the day, when it is advisable to put a repellent on or, better, wear a pair of trousers with socks. The insects that bite during the day are not at all dangerous. They are just unpleasant.
GENERAL INFORMATION DURING YOUR TRIP:
In the beginning of the year 2000, Ecuadorian Government began a process of changing their currency to US Dollars instead of the local currency (Sucre).
With the substitution of the Sucre, all economic and commercial transactions are made with US dollars. In Quito, visitors can exchange any other currency with no difficulties in the local Banks and Money Exchange Agencies (Casa de Cambio). Traveler's Checks and Credit Card (especially MasterCard and Visa) are welcome in most establishments throughout the country. The commission for cashing Traveler's Checks varies according to the Bank/establishment (2% to 4%). If you need additional money (bigger amounts) you can approach your Credit Card issuer's offices and request a Money Advance presenting your passport while in Quito.
Health and Safety
People arriving to Quito (Andean region) by air often experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness. Just kicking back and relaxing for the first 24 hours after you arrive is the best way to deal with this. Avoid running around and make sure to drink lots of water. It's pretty normal to feel tired at first and don't expect to be able to do much physically, like you do at home. The effects can last up to 48 hours and they might not even show at all, it depends on the person metabolism. But if symptoms persist, it would be recommendable to travel down out of the mountains and into the Amazon Jungle or to the Coast.
No inoculations are required for entry; however, it is recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, typhoid. It is strongly recommended to get a yellow fever vaccination if you plan to visit the rainforest during rainy season.
Always carry your passport while traveling on a bus to another city in Ecuador, as military and police check points are semi-frequent and sometimes there could be trouble if you are caught without your documents. However, if you are staying in Quito, Guayaquil or another large city for an extended period, it is recommended that you carry only a copy of your passport. For a reasonable fee most foreign embassies provide their citizens with an "official" copy of their passport that is recognized by Ecuadorian law; also, report lost or stolen passports immediately to your embassy or consulate.
Local Taxes and Tipping
With each purchase, you pay a tax of 12% I.V.A. (tax). Sometimes it's included in the price so you don't think that there is a tax. For hotels and restaurants services you pay another 10% for service tax. Tipping is completely to your discretion; so if you are pleased with the service, feel free to leave a tip.
Banks and Business
In Quito, office hours are generally from 9:00 am to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Likewise, "Casas de Cambio" (Money Exchanges) are open from Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm. A few banks and "Casas de Cambio" are also open on Saturday mornings. There are quite a few bank machines (ATM's) dispersed throughout the mayor cities of Ecuador, which dispense limited amounts of cash.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diner's Club are the most widely recognized cards in Ecuador. Credit cards are useful for purchases in hotels, shops, restaurants, and for cash advances from Automated Teller Machines or banks. Also, the emergency services offered by your credit card may be a saving grace if you get ill or encounter some other serious problem. You may also want to raise the limit on your cards before getting on the plane, so you have extra funds in the event of an emergency.