For those interested in visiting Ecuador here are some things you should know.
1. Ecuador is an amazing country and although small there is so much to do and so many different ecosystems and climates. And don't just assume that the only reason to go to Ecuador is for a trip to the Galapagos. There is coast, jungle, mountains, forests and big cities. This was my favorite country I ever visited (so far).
2. The currency is the US dollar but Americans may be thrown off. You will find the same bills (highest I came across were 20's and they were hard to use) but coins are a different story. There are still pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters but then there are also Ecuadorian equivalents but are the same value. Also $1 bills are rare (seen only in really touristy areas) coins are used more often, so the Sacagawea coins or President coins. Non-Americans I apologize for American currency, the coins will confuse you.
3. There is a 12% IVA sales tax in the country. Some places include that in prices, some do not, you never really know where will. There is also a 10% tip included in some prices at restaurants so just be on the lookout.
4. Transportation is relatively easy and cheap. General rule of thumb is $1 an hour but sometimes slightly more. The buses are also equipped with bathrooms (usually) however they are kept locked. So sometimes the drivers second hand person will unlock it if you ask to use the toilet or they will tell you to wait until they stop. You never really know what you'll get. To me it honestly makes no sense.
5. There is far more lush green in the country than in Peru or Bolivia. So if you are coming from those countries then you'll appreciate the change of scenery.
6. Guayaquil is a horrible city. Really no need to visit.
7. Be careful on the metro buses in Quito, particularly Old Town, passengers are quick and sneaky and you could get robbed.
8. Allocate for time in Baños, yes it's very touristy but it's a great town. Especially make sure to do a full day instead of half day for rafting as it is far better.
9. Ecuadorians use many different words than Peruvians and other countries such as meriendas instead of cena for dinner or frutilla instead of fresa for strawberry and others so just prepare yourself for language change in really all of South America.
10. Don't pay more than $10 a night for hostels, unless you want to splurge or rarely have no option. But $10 or less is very good.
11. Try to visit Otavalo. Yes it's shopping but it's a massive market and you can buy everything for yourself and souvenirs. Saturday is the best day. There is also a bird of prey rehabilitation center (Parque Condor) which we were unable to get to but it's supposed to be great.
12. If you visit the Amazon, don't have high expectations. Depending on time of year you may feel disappointed in the number of other travelers at the same lodge or lack of animals. Cuyabeno is cheaper than Yasuni but if you can afford Yasuni I have never heard anything bad about the park.
13. Garbage trucks sound like ice cream trucks, it's very misleading.
14. Public restrooms are better than Peru and Bolivia. Toilets actually had toilet seats and most places have toilet paper but still always just in case have TP ready to go. Also prepare yourself to pay for some, men pay .10 cents and women pay .15 cents usually.