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What should I bring to Ecuador on my Tourist Visa?

Hi All,
I plan on moving to Ecuador in the near future. I will be applying for an investor visa and once I obtain my cedula I will NOT be shipping all of my stuff from the US. I am slowly selling it all now. I am looking for advice on what I should bring when I enter the county under a tourist visa, because I realize that once I get my temporary visa I can not bring in certain items without paying a customs fee. I am bring a laptop, portable monitor, camera with accessories, 2 backpacks, and two phones as of right now. Tx!

Paternostro18 :

Hi All,
I plan on moving to Ecuador in the near future. I will be applying for an investor visa and once I obtain my cedula I will NOT be shipping all of my stuff from the US. I am slowly selling it all now. I am looking for advice on what I should bring when I enter the county under a tourist visa, because I realize that once I get my temporary visa I can not bring in certain items without paying a customs fee. I am bring a laptop, portable monitor, camera with accessories, 2 backpacks, and two phones as of right now. Tx!

I'm assuming you're entering as a tourist but also finding a residence to settle  down. Per customs rules the computer monitor is limited to 24”, and TV to 32.” As for, “because I realize that once I get my temporary visa I can not bring in certain items without paying a customs fee.” I have no idea what you mean because as a resident you are allowed to bring in whatever a tourist can bring in.

--Recommendation List--

Lightweight rain coat for the sierra as it tends to rain a lot during the rainy season.

Running shoes if you enjoy jogging/running.

Quality sunglasses, it can get quite sunny at times, and who wants wrinkles around their eyes.

Slim wallet, hey I love mine.

Good hiking shoes, this is a beautiful country and hiking is one of the joys of living here.

Good quality umbrella, because it's appropriate with your spouse/girlfriend.

Multi-purpose cooker, like Instant-Pot. Hey, changing my life. Making broth now.

Spices, and pastes, for instance Thai curry paste. The variety here is limited.

Bike, if you enjoy cycling, it counts as one piece of luggage though.

Game console if you're into gaming. $$$$ here.

Iphone/etc. My Iphone costs $500 more in Ecuador.

Quality t-shirts, clothes, because quality clothing here costs a lot.

Good coffee-maker if you like coffee. I bought two locally and they were awful.

Kindle

Bed-sheets, good quality ones costs 3x as much here.

Snacks if there is something that you might miss. Although IMO the perishables should be reserved for second and thereafter trips to the country.

vsimple listed some very good ideas. When I moved, I came with 7 suitcases which held some cooking essentials like the Instant-Pot, a high quality blender, a toaster oven, a one-burner induction plate, a hand mixer and my good knives. With those essentials, I was able to cook once I found my unfurnished apartment.  Eventually  I was able to find a stove for a reasonable price. I also sew most of my own clothing, so a sewing machine and an overlock had to come with me. Of course, I brought my desktop computer and printer...bring plenty of ink cartridges!! There are no replacements here for my Canon Pixma.

While some food items you are familiar with are on store shelves, they are much more expensive due to import duties. Peanut butter, maple syrup and good cheeses are the things I miss the most from the US. There is peanut butter here, but it is not at all the same.

Make sure the phone you bring is unlocked. Find yourself a nice unlocked GSM smart phone on Ebay and bring it with you. You'll be glad you did.

Bring good-quality sheets, yes, but also thick, absorbent towels which are not sold here.

The cooking essentials that Dorothy mentioned are either not available and the ones that are available one would have to pay 3-4x as much. Seriously, in Ecuador for basic level products one might pay the equivalent of a high-end product. Take a kitchenaid oven for instance, look how much it is on Amazon and then see how much a similar one is selling for here.

And this isn't limited to just kitchen stuff, but practically every other manufactured item. Things are simply expensive here. Here is a simple example  a dehumidifier on Amazon for $59.99 is $189 in Ecuador. That's 3 times the cost, and it's like that for many other things.

So bring whatever you may need.

Tx Vsimple!

Tx Dorthy.

I would add:
- A good quality wi-fi high speed router -- as noted, most of the items in the electronics shops in the major malls and department stores are overstock items from 5 years ago, selling at 2 to 4 times today's price.

-Amazon FireStick or Roku streaming device. My Ecuadorian girlfriend loves having the Firestick + Netflix subscription. I haven't shopped for these things here.

I second the notion on a coffee maker. After my experience with different coffee makers at several AirBnBs, I'll be bringing a Mr. Coffee next trip to Ecuador.

I second the notion on certain clothing items, particularly shoes, if your concern is getting something of high quality. However, there is no shortage of average, non-name brand shoes here.

The prices on items are very odd here. Some things are 50-75% less than the USA, and others are 50% to 300% more.

Tx Lebowski888,
The router is a very good idea!

How much are expats willing to pay more for a product locally?

I'm comfortable with paying 50% more, and double if I really want the item. if it's more than double then I wait until I travel abroad or ask friends/family to bring it.

Right now I want a pair of wireless headphones. I completely forgot about it as my friend recently brought me a suitcase of stuff I shopped online. Anyway, the cost locally is 60% more than Amazon.

I'm getting them! On the plus side the warranty is more convenient as it's local.

DorothyPeck :

There is peanut butter here, but it is not at all the same.

I would like to present an example in support of the claim by Dorothy.

Exhibit A.    :D


http://i66.tinypic.com/2mfamjc.jpg

Now, which Oreo do you think is the one sold in Ecuador?   

The size is not only smaller, but the ingredients are inferior, but unfortunately they cost more.

That's a good example. :)

Some Ecuadorian prepared food  products I greatly prefer to those my part of the USA (Cincinnati Ohio). For example, Chiveria Yogurt I absolutely love compared to the common brands of yogurt in Ohio.  A lot of expats in forums complain about Ecuadorian beef. But I really like the flavor of the different cuts of Ecuadorian beef compared to Ohios select or choice cuts (Aged Prime beef is a different story, but that to me is an of occasional indulgent luxury). I think Club verde, Pilsener, and Brahma  compete well to mass produced American lagers like Miller or bud. And although I had a hard time finding craft beer in Guayaquil, it seems like there is a nacent  craft  beer scene in Cuenca, just based on what I found on my short trip there.       Shrimp is way better in Ecuador compared to what I can get in Ohio.

Some food products have a taste Incan discern as different, for example, ketchup and hot dogs. But not necessarily better or worse to me, merely different but I still like them a lot in Ecuador.

I discovered I loved chifles with aji. Especially if made in house. But I can't get at all in Ohio!

From the USA, Kentucky Bourbon will probably be what I will miss the most, and most difficult to obtain.

lebowski888, I hear you about the Kentucky Bourbon. On my latest return from the US, I picked up a bottle of bourbon at the duty-free shop in the airport, very pricey and not the best quality...but it is bourbon!. Next time I go I'll take the time to visit a liquor store and buy a bottle of the good stuff.

For craft brews, I like most everything made by Mills Brewing, especially their dark Imperial Stout. For a fan of Guinness, it's worth searching for.

Having grown up on a farm and and eating the beef from butchered dairy cattle, I find the taste of Ecuadorian beef to be familiar. While some cuts can be tougher and less marbled than what is available in the US, the lomo (tenderloin) is delightful and very tender. Since cattle are not force-fed antibiotics to get them to market faster, the flavor of beef here is different from the US market, but I find it to have a more complex flavor profile.

I think a lot of the difference in taste of some products can be because there is much less use of high fructose corn syrup in products made locally. Takes some getting used to, but worth the effort.

One of the reason we're moving is for a healthy lifestyle - so good to hear about the beef and less use of corn syrup (GMO).  Thanks for posting.

While the constitution states that GMOs are not allowed, there are some products which contain GMOs but they need to be labeled clearly. Many of my chronic ailments have diminished greatly which I attribute to a combination of healthier foods, cleaner air and plenty of places to walk along the rivers (don't own a car).

Some subtopics on this thread deserve their own threads, for instance, Ecuadorian Beer, or Ecuadorian Craft Beer, so maybe lebowski888 may want to start such a thread, and if not I'll do so within a couple of days. But as general info, Ecuadorian craft beer (artesenal), can easily be purchased at Megamaxi as they have at least a couple dozen types of beers, in my fridge is a bottle of Chervsker's rubia beer, Sommer, which I haven't tried yet, so maybe I may review that in addition to draft craft beer in at pubs.

As for GMO, last year research was allowed, and some argue that research is necessary, and I agree, but if it leads to GMO products on a wide scale then that would be unfortunate.

As for better health that is claimed by expats, this in itself also deserves it's own thread.

If anyone is curious as to why individual threads are better, the answer is very simple. There are many people who search information online about Ecuador. And when a thread is relative to the information they are seeking, and focused, it is much better quality. So for instance, this thread was originally about – what should I bring with me to Ecuador.

Now a plethora of sub-topics are developing, and the people seeking What To Bring to Ecuador, may very well have to sift through a lot of irrelevant information. This is also true for members who receive notification from particular threads, only to realize that it is off-topic.

Good to hear. I have autoimmune issues which I know with less stress ( retiring) and wholesome food will improve.  Hope to eat mainly fresh/ way less processed than we presently do when working.  On visiting I found bread no issue.

Be sure to pack your sense of humor and an extra large dose of patience.

Also...benadryl.  We don't have it here.

And if you don't need it I'll take it!

Susan

@Lebowski

Hotdogs: try some different types of salchichas like Suisses, Chorizo, and Vieneses (that last usualy have plastic so careful) and you might find a hotdog taste that is more familiar.

Come on down to the coast: Some excellent craft beer in Montanita at the Montanita brewing company and also Olon restaurants are carrying artesan crafted beers.

Hello everyone,

Could we please get back to the topic ? As far as health and nutrition is concerned, feel free to add up here : Why Some Expats Claim Being Healthier in Ecuador

Let us share on the following topic : What should I bring to Ecuador on my Tourist Visa?

Thanks in advance,
Bhavna

In general, I feel that food available in Ecuador is so much healthier than that available in North America.  The array of fresh jugos available from organic fruits is incredible  Eggs are available organic, well worth it.  AT the Vilcabamba market or in the village, whole grain brreads are common.  But Perhaps Vilcabamba is different from other places, as a lot of people here are into natural, organic foods and make them for sale.  Even the chicken is organic, I have seen  them running around, if you eat chicken.  I do not eat other meat and rarely even chicken so have no issues.  Yesterday I was at a restaurant in Loja where the variety of good food boggles the mind, cheap also.  A real improvement on North American food.   And here, peanut butter is organic.
Helen

HelenPivoine :

In general, I feel that food available in Ecuador is so much healthier than that available in North America.  The array of fresh jugos available from organic fruits is incredible  Eggs are available organic, well worth it.  AT the Vilcabamba market or in the village, whole grain brreads are common.  But Perhaps Vilcabamba is different from other places, as a lot of people here are into natural, organic foods and make them for sale.  Even the chicken is organic, I have seen  them running around, if you eat chicken.  I do not eat other meat and rarely even chicken so have no issues.  Yesterday I was at a restaurant in Loja where the variety of good food boggles the mind, cheap also.  A real improvement on North American food.   And here, peanut butter is organic.
Helen

Of course Vilcabamba, a small village is not reflective of the rest of Ecuador. I can confirm that Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is nothing like that small village that was described. While there are organic items, the overwhelming number of products are not organic. The items that are organic, are labeled and sold as organic and with corresponding prices, with the cost  being lot more.

Exactly. The claim that Ecuador has only organic or even mostly organic food supplies is quite false.  It is one of the "catch phrases" used by unscrupulous real estate magazines and real estate professionals whose many claims are untrue.

Most of Ecuador uses pesticides in high amounts on all of its produce.  The reason being  is there is never a hard freeze, pests are quite abundant and destroy crops.

Also, meat and chicken is not organic.  While beef cattle is not given estradiol (a hormone used for growth) both cattle and poultry is fed grain and feed containing GMO products and antibiotics.

In addition failing to properly clean fruits and vegetables, especially those with skins you eat that cannot be peeled and those types of vegetables in contact with dirt can lead to some serious gastric problems including e. coli infections, amoebas, and other parasites.

Meats and poultry must also e purchased fresh and cooked thoroughly to protect against salmonella.

That being said, consider the fact that most of the North American food supply of produce comes from Latin America and you begin to realize that the precautions we take in preparing our food (washing all vegetables and fruit, peeling when possible, soaking in a bleach solution for 15 minutes for non peel-able produce) should be applied to what folks are eating in the north.

The benefit we do have with fruits and vegetables is a large variety of fresh picked at maturity and fast shipment to market place with very reasonable prices. But be aware that you should never buy more than a few days of produce at a time as due to its maturity it will spoil more rapidly than most North Americans are used to.

If you enjoy cooking, I would recommend bringing you favorite spices. I have found a few   Mexican and Indian spices in my area (manabi'), but they are very expensive and not the best quality. Also salt! Most table salt sown here contains fluoride and I haven't found kosher salt anywhere.

Yes, Vilcabamba is perhaps untypical of Ecuador, but it is Ecuador, folks.  Many chickens here are running around free range eating worms, etc  There is even an all organic Saturday market., and an organic fruit and veggie store.  Although I observed once the apples had something on the surface.  On my finca, all food grown is organic.  I buy organic goat milk from friends.  People in the city of course will not have that opportunity.  So there is variation in what is available, is all that I am saying.   In stores here, the milk is essentially irradiated, dead cows milk, worse than in North America.

If a free-range chicken eats a worm or an Expat claims that stores are allegedly offering dead cows' milk or there's an unidentified amount of fluoride in salt, I don't sweat it.

Many of the claims (a chicken ate a worm, dead cows are being milked) are either anecdotal or unverified IMO.

Being that this thread is about bringing stuff to Ecuador, IMO discussion of worm-eating chickens is irrelevant, to boot --  :offtopic:

cccmedia

What is an Instant Pot?

OrganicMom, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt/rice maker...I could go on, but those are the things I use it for the most. Here is a link where you can see the various models and descriptions of what each does: Instant Pot

Not available, as far as I know, in Ecuador. I brought mine from the USA.

Thanks, Dorothy.  Interesting.  I use my crockpot a lot, but I hear good things about pressure cookers.

The electric pressure cooker is definitely highly recommended. They don't have the Instant-Pot here as Dorothy mentioned, but they have other versions but I can't vouch for those. At my residence gas is not permitted so only electric is allowed, so as pressure cookers go, electric is the only option. I will detail how awesome it is. Yesterday morning before leaving my home, I put I used the saute option, and sauteed onions, garlic and then added 1 pound of cola res (oxtail), spices, water, and set it for 1 hour 45 minutes, high pressure. Returned home around noon, and it was not only perfectly done (meat came off the bone), but it was kept warm. Just a tremendous time saver, and more importantly safe.  :cool:

Sounds yummy! Tx for the advice vsimple! Any brand recommended for the cooker?

Where I live, everyone uses gas.

How was it bringing it into Ecuador? (customs). Or was it park of your cargo shipment?

Instant Pot does so many things well that it is hard to recommend any other brand. If all you want is to pressure-cook, any one will do. But to save space this beauty is a slow cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker...the list goes on and on. Check their website for all the options.

Paternostro18 :

How was it bringing it into Ecuador? (customs). Or was it park of your cargo shipment?

My friend brought it in for me. It was a 6 quart, and in it's box which is pretty big. Don't worry about customs, there are clear guidelines of what is permitted. Items for personal use are not an issue. There is a lot of outdated information about Ecuador. Personally I have never had an issue, nor has any family or friends.

Paternostro18 :
How was it bringing it into Ecuador? (customs). Or was it park of your cargo shipment?

I brought it in my 7 suitcases when I first moved here. Customs asked a few questions and opened 2 of the suitcases, but I had an inventory list of all contents (English and Spanish) so they were satisfied that my stuff was for personal use, not for resale.

Stuff the inside with small clothing items (socks, underwear...nothing breakable) and also put what you can around it in the box. That is just to save space. I hate having vacant spaces in my suitcases.

Vitamins, supplements, sunscreen, shoes, anything you can’t live without. These items are either available but expensive or not sold in Ecuador. Make your visit count by bringing as much loaded luggage as you can on this trip.
If you want to store what you bring until you return at a later date and will be relocating to Cuenca, please private message me.
Regina

Difficult to find in Ecuador...

1.  Soft bath towels.

2.  Apple sauce.

3.  (outside of larger cities)... electric toothbrush / electric toothbrush repair shop

  -- cccmedia near the Ecuador-Colombia border across from Tulcán

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