Ecuador Money & Currency - Everything a Traveller needs to know! (2023)

When you go on vacation one thing you'll probably want to investigate before traveling is the local currency and money. You might already change up some local bills before you travel, or check exchange rates. The good news for travel to Ecuador or the Galapagos islands is that Ecuador currency is a cinch! There is no big stress or preparation needed with Ecuador money.

Read on for everything you need to know about money & currency in Ecuador. What is the currency of Ecuador? Can I use my credit card there? Plus lots of other Ecuador money tips.

What currency does Ecuador use?

For most travelers this is great news as it means Ecuador is an easy destination for travel money planning. Just bring your own US dollars - there is no need for currency exchange. Or if you come from Europe or Asia, just change your local currency into readily available US money.

If you have cash left over at the end of your trip then it's easy too. No problem of being unable to use or exchange obscure currencies back in your home country.

What currency is used in the Galapagos islands? Remember that Galapagos is a sovereign part of Ecuador, so Galapagos currency is also the US dollar.

Why does Ecuador use US currency?

Ecuadordecided to switch their money to the US dollar from the old Ecuadorian Sucre back in the year 2000. Before this change, the inflation rate for the local Sucre currency was notoriously high and unstable. It even became so high that it took 25,000 Sucres to exchange for just 1 US dollar. This situation caused big problems for Ecuadorian workers and savers whose money would lose significant value each and every day.

So the Ecuadorian president and politicians at that time took a carefully planned but drastic measure. They scrapped the local Sucre currency, and converted Ecuador's economy over to the US dollar. This was a controversial and painful experience for many people, but did have the desired effect of stabilising money in Ecuador. Since then Ecuador's economy has had its share of problems, but the stability of the US dollar has prevented economic collapse.

There are of course also some downsides to a country not having its own currency. When the US dollar is strong then Ecuador becomes more expensive and less competitive compared to their neighbors like Peru and Colombia. Ecuador also now has almost no control of its money supply.

So there you have it, Ecuador today uses the US dollar, and perhaps countires like Venezuela and Zimbabwe could learn a lesson from them.

Ecuador money tips

While using the US dollar in Ecuador does make life easier, there are considerations to be aware of as far as Ecuador’s money goes. Cash is still king in the country while credit cards have seen a steady increase in use with the stability of the networks. When on the road or exploring Ecuadorian cities, here are a few things to remember.

  • Big bills seldom receive a warm welcome. Taxi drivers, shop keepers, and some cafes/restaurants rarely have change for anything over ten dollars. Even twenty dollar bills are treated like a one hundred bill might be back home. If trying to change a twenty dollar note, stick with big chains like supermarkets or ask ahead of time if using it for a taxi. If you plan to travel with US dollars then try to bring a stash of 5, 10 and 20 notes, and avoid too many 100s.
  • Keep a stack of small bills and coins. It is easier than going to three different shops for change while trying to get from one side of town to another. Especially when in small towns and theGalapagos Islands, change is a commodity of its own and one seldom finds a point of sale that is happy to give their bank away.
  • Travelers Cheques are not recommended in Ecuador, and there are few places to change them. As a rule of thumb, converting them to cash means a long wait at specific banks and a lot of frustrating paperwork.
  • ATM debit or bank cards are usually the best choice in Ecuador, and having a backup card is a smart idea just in case your international bank has issues with Ecuador’s bank network. Ecuador ATMs are widespread in major cities and usually acceptVisa,Mastercardand other major brands.
  • Call your bank and financial institutions before traveling and let them know that you are going to be in Ecuador. Some banks have automatic blocks when cards are used overseas, and getting money can be a challenge if every other transaction is blocked because of a computer flag. If possible, talk to a person before travel and make sure that there is a note on your account that you are going to be in South America and also have a contact to call if needed.
  • Be aware that two-tier authentication systems for online banking don’t always work here on normal phone networks. If you are depending on using online banking while traveling, talk to your phone company about international roaming and data packages.
  • Every currency bill or note in Ecuador is of US origin, but Ecuador does mint some of their own coins. Keep an eye out for Ecuadorian coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents - they are the same size as their US counterparts but with different print on them. These coins cannot be used in the United States so try to spend them while you are here in Ecuador.
  • There are some fake US dollar bills floating around the economy in Ecuador. Although this is uncommon, do check the bills that are given to you in change, especially from taxi drivers or informal vendors.

Can I use my credit card in Ecuador?

Major credit card networks are available in Ecuador, but with a few provisos. Read on to learn a few Ecuador credit card tips.

  • Some businesses like small hotels or travel agencies may charge a fee for using your credit card. This can sometimes run as high as 8% or more due to Ecuador's high banking costs and taxes that apply to card transactions. Don't worry though, the staff will notify you of this charge beforehand, so you can still pay in cash with no extra fees if you prefer.
  • The same rules apply with credit cards at ATM machines as they do for debit cards. Call your issuing bank and let them know that you are traveling abroad in Ecuador. While networks here are reliable as a rule of thumb, networks on both sides of the screen can reject transactions for a myriad of reasons. If you have problems with one machine, it is a good idea to try a few others before calling in customer support.
  • One last thing to consider about credit cards in Ecuador is that most places will ask you for an ID. In many cases, a copy of your passport will work but there are those who require the original document.

For more information about Ecuador currency & money, or any otherEcuador traveltips or questions pleasecontacta member of our travel team.

In conclusion, Ecuador currency and money is very easy to deal with. Just bring US dollar currency along with you, or use your ATM bank cards as you travel. No tricky currency exchange or difficult calculations are needed.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 03/04/2023

Views: 6536

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.