ECUADOR & GALÁPAGOS CURRENCY
Ecuador’s official currency is the U.S. dollar, so that makes it easy for American travelers. There are no currency restrictions for entry to or exit from Ecuador. However, Ecuador’s banking systems and commercial sites do not accept $100 bills, so it’s recommended to bring smaller bills. Smaller vendors rarely have larger bills in change, and so it’s recommended to use nothing larger than a $20.
If you’re looking to exchange your currency once you’ve arrived in Ecuador, the other popular currencies are Euros, Peruvian soles, and Colombian nuevos soles.
We don’t recommend carrying traveler’s checks as they are difficult to cash.
ATMS AND CREDIT CARDS
ATMs are available in the Galápagos, though they aren’t prolific. It’s best to research your bank’s ATM locations, your daily withdrawal limit, and fees for international transactions before you leave.
Notably, there are no ATMs in Isabela’s Puerto Villamil, but there are banks in Santa Cruz’s Puerto Ayora.
Western Union offices and ATM networks are available in all major cities in mainland Ecuador. Many locals also accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Diner’s Club. Although Diner’s Club is the most widely accepted credit card, American Express has some of the best emergency services if any problems are encountered.
Due to dollarization, it is recommended that travelers carry both US bills and traveler’s checks while visiting Ecuador. As other foreign exchanges can be difficult, it is recommended that any exchanges are made in Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil where more resources are available.
Throughout the Galápagos Islands, it’s customary for visitors to tip naturalist guides and boat staff at your discretion.
Also, restaurant menus sometimes do not include the !0% service tax for tips or Ecuador’s newly increased IVA (sales tax) at 14%.