How to Pack for Ecuador in the Fall
For me, it was the time I forgot my new DSLR camera on my way to spending the summer in Europe.
For Lindsay, it was the time she forgot medicine and got a terrible case of the stomach bug in The Philippines.
Everyone has that item they forgot that sets the tone for the rest trip.
Ecuador packing is especially tough because we were trying to pack light and for a multi-climate trip. Lindsay and I spent ten days in Ecuador and covered some wildly different terrains. Researching your destination for the time of year you’re visiting can be a trip saver.
“Here’s to being over dressed, over educated, and over travelled.”
Ecuador is a country with diverse climates and ecosystems that require creative packing. Its located in the northern half of South America, which means they have summer between December and February. The temperature in September when we were there was fluctuating between 50-70F degrees depending on where we were. It also rained for a few hours of each day. Near the beach, the temperature hovers around 80F year round but it rains heavily during the winter months.
Our first five days were in Banos -the adventure sports capital of South America. It was a bit cold and rainy while we were there and called for warm, waterproof sportswear that still photographs well.
From Banos, we headed to the hills outside of Otavalo. We got married at My Sacha Ji Wellness Hotel, so that added a whole different packing challenge.
The day after our wedding we did some rural touring and headed to the Otavalo market. The last few days of our trip was spent in the posh urban center of Quito, which called for city touring and elegant evening clothes.
All that, and we didn’t even go to the snow-capped mountains, deep into the rainforest, or the Galapagos Islands. For this guide we’ll stick to the items most people will be needing.
My go to travel pack is a 27 Litre Women’s Casimir pack from The North Face. It’s a small pack that forces you to pack light but has enough space to be a one bag solution. The Casimir is great for a carry-on and can double as a day pack when hiking or touring.
Large Dry Bag:
Having a dry bag is key in humid climates. Tech gear is expensive and you don’t want to get caught in the rain or near a waterfall without any protection. For $19 USD you can’t afford not to bring one.
Leggings are versatile. They can be dressed up or down, they’re comfortable and universally flattering.
Quick Drying T-shirts:
The humidity makes it nearly impossible for clothes to dry. We learned that the hard way when we had to tote around three of Lindsay’s sopping wet T-shirts.
Stick with one color pallet for all of your clothing. It’ll help mix and match all the pieces together.
Leggings with the hidden zipper pocket along the top are great for hiding cash on the road.
Bring extra ziplock bags for packing your wet clothes while hiking.
Think layers and the ability to remove things when it gets hot. Flannels were a lifesaver because I could tie them around my waist when I got warm and still look cute.
Early mornings and late evenings in Banos and Otavalo were chilly. Casual sweatshirts were perfect for hanging out around the fire and grabbing morning coffee in the cloud forest.
The weather changes quickly in Ecuador. One minute it’s bright and sunny, the next it’s pouring rain. I loved my Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket because it kept me super dry but was small enough to compress into a pouch and put in my pack or purse during the day.
Lindsay was convinced we’d need these. I wasn’t. I thought we’d be fine with sneakers. Let the record state: She was right. She spent hours meticulously researching the best boot for our needs. She found the Palladium Pampa Sport Waterproof boots and they were perfect. They’re way cheaper than the more expensive brands but the quality was incredible. We’ll be loyal customers from now on.
Wool high socks:
Cotton doesn’t dry well. It just doesn’t. It stays wet and soggy which is gross and not ideal in a humid climate. Wool high socks were a lifesaver in the wet muck, they dried easily and protected my ankles from bugs. Plus the added cushion in the sole kept our feet blister free.
While the Palladium boots were a lifesaver, but they were a bit too heavy to wear while casually strolling the city. It was nice to have the option to switch back and forth.
Despite being pretty cold, we still wore our swimsuits. We visited some hot springs, swam through waterfalls, and soaked in the My Sacha Ji hot tub.
Bring more than you think you’ll need.
Make sure you pack your sunscreen, bug repellent with Deet, After Bite, Dramamine, headache meds and Anti-Malarial meds. Most of these items can be purchased in Ecuador for cheaper than you’d find them in other countries.
Flashlight or headlamp:
Our friend Nicole packed her headlamp for the trip. We laughed at first but then realized she was pretty genius. It was clutch when navigating the dark trails while hiking and perfect for making our way back to our rooms at night.
Camera with extra memory cards:
We love our Nikon J1 . It’s small, compact, and takes incredible pictures on auto. What more can you really ask for in a camera?
GoPro HD Hero4 Silver Edition:
For adventure sports, water-based activities, hiking and unique travel photos a GoPro is a MUST. Some of our favorite travel photos are stills grabbed from GoPro video. It’s by far one of the best investments we’ve made in our travel gear. I love it so much that Lindsay got embarrassed when I was singing its praises to a group of travelers asking us about it. I won’t bore you with all the features and specs. Just buy one. Seriously. I’m not on their payroll, I just love mine THAT much.
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Many of these photos are courtesy of Grace Chu Photography. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using one of these links. It doesn’t cost anything for you, it’s just a way for us to keep this blog up and running. As always, I only link high-quality products and services cause I’d be embarrassed if I posted about something, you bought it, and it ended up being crap. C’mon I wouldn’t do that to you guys.