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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in South America - Ecuador

Where to Go - South America

Click on the links below to view information on a specific country.

Argentina | Brazil | Chile| Colombia
Ecuador | Guyana| Peru | Venezuela


Population: 12,920,092

Literacy rate: 90.1%

Life expectancy at birth: male 68.26 yrs, female 73.99 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 35.13 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: 2.04%

GDPgrowth rate: -8%

GDP per capita: £2,900

Unemployment: 12% with widespread underemployment

Inflation: 59.9%

TI index: 2.6

Climate: tropical along coast becoming cooler inland Time: GMT 5 hours (Galapagos Islands GMT – 6 hours)

Electricity: 110/120 volts AC, 60Hz.


General info including visa and travel info at

Country Guide

If you are planning to work your way around South America, this is the ideal place to start. Seek up to date info from the Foreign Office before travelling as the situation is somewhat unstable – economic and political crises have played havoc with this country recently. The people are friendly but the internal situation may make looking for work difficult. If you find work, it starts at 07:00 to avoid the midday heat. Buy a large alarm clock.

49% of the population live on the coastal plain between the Andean Sierra and the Pacific. The capital, Quito, is at 2,850m in the mountains and has a temperate climate with spring like days and chilly nights. It nearly always rains quite heavily in the afternoon. Although Quito is the capital, Guayaquil, on the coast, has had a larger population since 1910. Ecuador has the highest active volcano in the world (Cotopaxi, 5,896m).

Socially, this is an interesting country the whites of Spanish descent are still the elite of Ecuadorean society. They only constitute 10% of the population, but when you consider that 20% of the population gets 80% of the national income it is no wonder that the country has been having some problems. The rest of the society is made up of the cholos mestizos resulting from the rapid fusion of the whites and the Indians constituting some 40% of the population. They are mainly employed in manual labour. The Indians 40% are the least significant in terms of economic and political power, also of social status. However, it is worth noting that their language Quichua is a well-used second language after Spanish. The rest of the population (some 10%) is made up of the descendants of the African slaves brought over to work the coastal plantations. Bananas and cacau are the main agricultural products, but Ecuador has oil, which is the economy's salvation, or could be with efficient management.

Entry requirements

Although it is illegal to work on a tourist visa, many people do UK nationals can stay 6 months on a tourist visa, USA nationals, 9 days. You must produce a return air ticket to work legally. No swapping of visas is allowed, so if you get a job, you will have to nip over the border to Peru or Colombia to sort out the paperwork.


Hepatitis A, Polio, Typhoid, Malaria and Yellow Fever.

Tax and Insurance

Tax is 7% for all, legal or not. Get health insurance before leaving home.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Ecuador

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Argentina | Brazil | Chile| Colombia
Ecuador | Guyana| Peru | Venezuela

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