Ecuador has been in all three editions of The World’s Cheapest Destinations book and is a backpacker favorite for good reason. You can do and see a whole lot in a country that’s pretty compact and the weather is quite pleasant year round in many areas. I just spent a great two weeks there and it was fantastic all around. You can spend a small fortune in Ecuador if you want (see the previous post on the Galapagos), but you don’t have to. This is one of the best values in the whole hemisphere.

Ecuador is the kind of place where you can walk out of your hotel with $10 in your pocket and go get a haircut, take a taxi ride or a few buses, eat a filling meal, and have a beer or two. You’ll come back with change still jingling in your pocket.

Here are some sample costs for travelers in Ecuador. (All in U.S. dollars, which is what they use also.)

Taxi from the airport to Quito Old Town – $8
Taxi from Quito Old Town to airport – $5.50
Quito Trolley bus ride – 25 cents
Gondola ride in Quito to 4,100 meters altitude and back – $8

Hour of internet access – 50 cents to $1
Phone call to U.S. from a cabina – 10 to 20 cents a minute

Beer in a bar or restaurant – 75 cents to $2.50 (the latter often a liter bottle)
Soda in a bar or restaurant – $1 to 1.50
Meal of the day lunch – $1.50 to $3.50 (three courses and usually something to drink)
Pizza slice with a soda $1.50, pizza slice with a beer $1.80
Giant helping of french fries with a hot dog on top – $1-$1.50

Haircut in a salon – $2.50
One hour massage in a salon – $10-$15
Admission to most museums and sites – $1 to $3.50

Wool hat or pair of wool gloves in Otavalo market – $1.50-$2
Leather purse that would cost you $200 at home – $30-$50

Hostel bed in Quito – $7-$13
Basic Quito hotel room with private bath, maid service, bkfst., hot water – $15 to $35
3-star equivalent hotel – $30 to $75 (cheaper outside the cities)

Overnight bus Quito to Cuenca – $9-$12
Return internal flight Quito to Cuenca – $110-$138
Return internal flight Quito to Galapagos – $320-$380 (residents pay less)

Biggest rip-off: Mailing a postcard – $2 (USA) to $2.25 (UK)

Related posts:
Cheapest places to live: Ecuador
Travel prices in Honduras
Travel prices in Hungary
Czech Price Check
Travel prices in Peru
A buck or less in Mexico City