Ecuador: Nuts y Bolts

By , Tuesday, Aug 21, 2007, 12:00 AM

Money Ecuador began using the U.S. dollar as its currency in 2000.

Transportation Buses are cheap ($3.50 to get from Baños to Quito), frequent, and easy (most stations have counters, but buses also have barkers who sell tickets). Outside the cities, yell "Gracias!" and the driver'll pull over. In Quito, we paid $47 to hire a driver to take us to La Mitad del Mundo and Inti-ñan. Back in Guayaquil at the end of our trip, we were grateful for the Four Points' free airport shuttle (with onboard hotel check-in).

Safety While we rarely crossed paths with other tourists, Baños and Quito are both traveler-friendly, with lots of excursion operators. "Tourist police" are prominent around Quito's old town, but both it and La Mariscal are dodgy after dark--Nicolas from Este Café recommended we cab it even for a three-block trip.