Travel Prices in Ecuador

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

  1. travel backpacker

    i´ve just been to ecuador and it is cheap but bolivia is a lot cheaper. really cheap

    • ANDREW

      how cheap is bolivia how much is beer or food i need more info

  2. DML

    I bought that purse but I missed the massages. Damn! Next time!!!!

  3. Chris

    $2 for menu del dia! Wow that a 50% increase in 5 years. Great to see that Ecuador is still great value – an amazing country and like you said – very compact.

    • tim

      Chris, those are Quito prices. I’m sure there are still cheaper menus del dias in the countryside!

  4. Chris

    You’re right, they were outside Quito. I remember when I first went to one of those places, I thought there must’ve been some kind of mistake, as they gave me a juice, then a soup, then the main course, (maybe a dessert?) and a coffee to finish with. I can’t believe that it was only $1.

  5. George

    Tim, we have a web consulting business and are thinking of retiring and taking the business with us to Ecuador. I saw that internet access was .50-1.00 per hour. Is DSL or broadband available in Quito? Any suggestions who we could contact to find out what’s available. High-speed access is important. Thanks.

    • tim

      Yes, broadband is widely available in Quito. I don’t know the details on getting service set up for a home, but any of the Ecuador living guides out there should point you in the right direction. Try International Living or Escape Artist. Links to those and more living abroad resources here.

  6. gary

    Hi So what are the prices like in 2012??? ,still relatively good.i was keen to head out for around 3 mths maybe longer if thats poss????.with renting a 1 bed apartment ,paying for food and utilities ,what would be the averageish cost in 2012…be good to fit a good wine in hear and there and meal out.,prefer to be on the coast for a bit of surfing..would like to just chill with guitar a few meals a day and couple a beers on the beach,,hope to hear ciao

    • tim

      I’ll be back in Ecuador in two weeks and will post a follow-up later. From everything I’m reading though, prices haven’t changed much. They use the dollar and inflation is not high (like it is in Argentina), so prices don’t fluctuate too much.

  7. Roseanne

    This site definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  8. Mouss

    Hi Roberto,That is sooo true! This a great analogy, if we wake up every mnroing and decide what we will chose on the menu to begin our day, we definitely have a choice towards our attitude!Thanks for sharing:)

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