Ecuador - Profile
- For cruising sailors Ecuador's main attraction lies several hundred miles offshore in its Archipiélago de Colón, commonly known as the Galapagos Islands . As they form a separate entity and cruising regulations also differ from mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos are described separately in the South Pacific section.
- Due to the prevailing winds and currents, the Ecuadorian coast is best cruised from south to north, which most yachts visiting Ecuador rarely do, as usually they sail from the north after having transited the Panama Canal.
- A good intermediate landfall is the coastal city of Salinas, specifically Puerto Lucia Yacht Club, on the westernmost point of mainland Ecuador. It justifies breaking the passage from Panama to Galapagos into two shorter legs of about 550 miles each, as it allows yachts to navigate in fair winds and currents. In addition, it allows owners to leave their boat secure in the marina and explore the interior. Salinas is a practical port to clear customs and arrange for the boat to be worked on or cared for while traveling inland. The Puerto Lucia Yacht Club has a 50-ton travelift, floating docks and strong buoys for Med-style mooring to a wall. Diesel and water are available dockside. An excellent fresh produce and seafood open market, grocery store and hardware stores are a short distance away. This is also a good place to leave for the Galapagos Islands .
- The coast is arid and there are few natural harbours with the notable exception of the estuary of the River Guayas. The Guayaquil Yacht Club welcomes visiting yachts and is convenient for provisioning in Guayquil although marine facilities are limited.
- The US dollar is now the official currency. Local prices are quite low for both provisions and fuel. Water is sometimes scarce along the coast.
- The usual procedure for yachts wanting to visit just one port in the Galalpagos is to obtain outward clearance for the Marquesas (or another offshore destination) and not to mention the intended stop in Galapagos to the officials.
It is advisable not to travel within 15 miles of the border with Colombia. See the UK FCO website for the latest advice.
The usual safety and security precautions should be taken, especially when anchoring alone or in isolated places. Cases of armed robbery are increasing and petty crime is common.
Noonsite has not received reports of any particular problems or dangers, although extra care should be taken when near the Colombian boarder. However, there are a number of places inland where it is not advisable to visit.
You should not climb the Tungurahua or Reventador volcanoes due to renewed volcanic activity.
Updated January 2016
Although lying on the equator, the climate of Ecuador is very pleasant, which makes the coast of Ecuador very attractive to leave the boat between seasons. Temperatures along the coast show little variation between seasons and the period between May and November is usually dry. The winds are mostly light southerlies. The climate in the interior is more varied and temperatures vary greatly with altitude. Weather conditions can be strongly influenced by the El Niño phenomenon.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page