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QUITO & GENERAL INFORMATION

Note that phone numbers changed in Ecuador in 2002. The new codes are for Quito are (022) formerly (02) and Guayaquil (042) formerly (042). All other cities also now seven-digit.
Cellular phones (099) formerly (09), also now 097, 096 and 094.

Check out Quito's excellent Visitors' Bureau site: www.quito.com.ec, with a newsletter and a calendar of events.

There are many new sights in Quito to enjoy, including the Botanical Gardens in the Parque Carolina, the Itchimbia cultural centre (formerly a 19th century market) with stunning views, as well as the new Teleferiqo cable car (www.teleferiqo.com) which takes passengers up to 4,000 metres. See www.quito.com.ec for more on these. New hotels include the 4-star Patio Andaluz colonial-style offer in the Old Town, and new restaurants Mea Culpa in the Archbishop's Palace and Pimm's in the shadow of the Virgen on the Panecillo with great views.

Ministerio de Turismo: tel (022) 224972 or 507559 email info@vivecuador.com web site www.vivecuador.com, Avenida Eloy Alfaro 1214 and Carlos Tovar. The main office is open between 8:30 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday, with a break for lunch. Similar hours apply for the office in the old town tel (022) 514044, on Venezuela and Chile, but the airport office tel (022) 246232, is open from 7 am to 7 pm. Hotel reservations can be made from the offices in the old town and at the airport.

South American Explorers (SAE): Annual membership is US$50 for a single person and US$70 for a couple. For this outlay, members get a comfortable place to relax in a restored colonial building in central Quito, a good lending library and bookshop for maps and books about Ecuador, access to members' trip reports, knowledgeable and friendly staff, a mailing address and use of computers for e-mail, weekly talks and lectures, copies of the club's magazine, use of members' notice board, advice on where to stay, facilities for storing equipment, etc. They also organize weekly 'walkabouts' of the old town, and trekking/climbing trips around the country.

The club's headquarters are in the United States tel (607) 277-0488 fax (607) 277-6122 toll-free (800) 274-0568, 126 Indian Creek Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA email explorer@samexplo.org (There are other clubhouses in Lima and Cuzco, Peru.)

The SAE in Quito new town is at Jorge Washington 311 and Leonidas Plaza, Mariscal Sucre tel/fax (022) 225228 e-mail explorer@sae.org.ec . The office is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, weekdays only. Non-members are allowed to visit once, but only members are allowed to use the facilities.

The British Council:
helpdeask@britishcouncil.org.ec
www.britishcouncil.org/ecuador
Unfortunately, the Council's branch in Quito shut down. So much for Tony Blair's Britain! You should be able to contact them on the email above. Or else contact the British Embassy for where to find a decent cup of tea in Ecuador (the only place is Cafe Cultura...).

Ministerio del Ambiente: tel (022) 548924 web site (for parks) www.ambiente.gov.ec, is in the monolithic building at the corner of Eloy Alfaro and Amazonas. It's pretty hard to get some sense from anyone there, but someone in the building will, eventually, be able to sell you books, leaflets and CD-ROMs about Ecuador's national parks and natural wonders. Good Spanish helps!

Emergency & police dial 911

Fire dial 102

For international and long distance domestic telephone calls, Andinatel has offices just west of the junction of Colón and Amazonas in the new town (among others), Benalcazár and Meija in the old town, at Terminal Terrestre and at the airport.

Post office on the ground floor of the big, modern building at Reina Victoria and Colón.

FedEx (Federal Express) tel (022) 251356 or 253552; EMS tel (022) 543468 or 569741 Eloy Alfaro and 9 de Octubre; DHL tel (022) 556118, Colón 1333 and Foch, or tel (022) 485100 Eloy Alfara and de los Juncos.

There are a plethora of film and processing labs on Amazonas. Among the best is Ecuacolor, near Roca. Also clustering around Amazonas are the most useful banks.

Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGM), Venezuela 573 and Sucre (by the Casa Museo de Sucre, old town) or Senierges and Paz y Miño (above Parque El Ejido) email igm@mil.ec, for topographical maps.

Internet: = 'Gringolandia': the area around Juan León Mera and Calama. Cybermania, 1st floor, Amazonas 239 opposite Hotel HotHello. Ecotrackers headquarters further south. Papaya Net at the corner of Juan León Mera and Calama. Onda Cyber Café, by the Maple II restaurant on Calama. Planeta Net on Calama, between Amazonas and Juan León Mera.

Money: It's the greenback all the way $$$!
You can cash travelers' checks and change money at most banks and casas de cambio (moneychangers), and the rates aren't significantly different. Most banks are open between 9 am and 1:30 pm on weekdays. Moneychangers are usually open until about 6 pm. Some major hotels will cash travelers' checks for non-residents, which can be very helpful if you are strapped for cash on a weekend, but usually not very cost-effective.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are becoming more common in cities throughout the country. They are about the most economical way of using cash abroad. For Visa, head to Banco de Guayaquil, and for Mastercard to Banco del Pacífico. Check with your home bank before leaving about any charges you might incur. My advice would be to bring a mix of dollars cash, traveler's checks and various Visa or Mastercards.

If you're bringing dollars in cash (or changing traveler's checks), make sure you ask for small denominations (no bills larger than $20). Many stores and small businesses won't accept US$100 or US$50 bills, and it can be frustrating attempting to get them changed.

 
To celebrate the deal, Guide2Galapagos is offering Ecuadorial visitors an exclusive offer: Book a Luxury class yacht with them, and they'll give you THREE AIRPORT TRANSFERS FOR FREE; two for first class and one for tourist-superior. So, what are you waiting for? Check out their highly-informative site. Blue boobies, giant tortoises, sealions and marine iguanas are only a click or two away!

SMALL PRINT: On the request page, you must state you came from Ecuadorial to benefit from the airport transfer offer.
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