Money and Currency in Ecuador
Minus the pictures on coins minted in Ecuador, money used in the country will be very familiar to U.S. citizens and anyone who has seen the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar has been the currency used in Ecuador since September, 2000. Dollar bills are identical in design to those used in the U.S. but on some ‘Ecuadorian’ coins the presidential images are of Ecuadorian leaders not past U.S. Presidents.
To convert your currency into Ecuadorian dollars with real-time rates click here: South America Living – Currency Calculator.
The currency symbol is $ and the currency code is USD – same as the U.S. dollar.
Money Exchange & ATMs
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are everywhere and the primary way of getting cash in Ecuador. Like all South American countries, larger cities will have a high-concentration of International ATMs, smaller towns may or may not be able to accept your card. Local bank ATMs often are only for local customers and are not hooked-up to the International LINK system.
After you recieve your large denomination bills from the ATM, find a nearby bank to break it into smaller change. Taxi cab drivers and shop owners rarely have adequate “sueltos” (change in English) to give back to you.
MasterCard and Visa are accepted throughout the country in large and mid-sized cities, high-end establishments and some smaller ‘tourist-oriented’ hubs. Other cards such as Diners may be accepted in major cities such as Quito, Quayaquil and Cuenca.
Western Union & MoneyGram
Be sure to get the transaction number from the sender. In South America they are not able to look-up the information with just your name, as is common in the U.S. and Canada.
In the main cities Quito and Guayaquil as well as the popular expat relocation town of Cuenca you may find an exclusive, high-end hotel to accept a Travelers Check (or at least tell you where to get one cashed!) but traveling throughout the country you will need to have cash.