Essential Items To Bring If You’re Moving To Ecuador

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Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

A Woman posted this question on the Ecuador Expat Facebook page today:

“What items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing?”

I thought her question and all the replies from people who actually live in Ecuador were so good, I decided to reprint them here on my blog. The many helpful answers people on the Ecuador Expat FB page really stand on their own for anyone wanting to know what essential clothes and other items to bring to Ecuador that you cannot get there.
(Note: It’s a closed group that I belong to so in order to protect everyone’s privacy, I’ve removed all names except ones who could be good references. Here is the link for your reference if you wish to request to include yourself in the Ecuador Expats FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/EcuadorExpats

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Quick question. We are moving to Ecuador in March what items of clothing are most important to bring? What did you regret not packing. Thanks all. Countdown is killing me 57 days and counting lol
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A. Long pants and running shoes. We brought mostly shorts… big mistake!

 (Thanks so much…trying to reduce my wardrobe to two suitcases is my trauma for the month)

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A. Look up “capsule collections” on Pinterest. It is a whole new world of women who know how to get 30 days out of 14 pieces. I’m sure someone has done your trip. You will be shocked. I’m looking for “professional teaching summer” and the options are unbelievable. I’m a terrible shopper and this is really helping me. Here’s “capsule collection vacation” so you can see it. https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/…

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A. Where will you be living?
(We are not sure at this stage , we fly into quito then to Cuenca to lodge residency and have a look. we have met on facebook some amazing people from Cotacachi so that is pretty high on the list. Coming from Australia everything looks good.)
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A. We wear one type of top when we get up in the morning; change around 10:30 because it gets quite warm and then about 4:30 go back to our cool weather clothes. Bring clothes that can be layered and changed into and out of.

You might bring a raincoat or umbrella if you plan to be out and about in the predictable rainy weather. Decent shoes. Either sturdy walking shoes or strong sneakers.

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A.  I moved to Cuenca and regret not bringing enough warmer clothes. It can get quite cool at night.

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 A. Saltine crackers frown emoticon ….LOL
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A. We live in cotacachi. Why are you doing your immigration work in Cuenca. Why not Quito.
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(Because I am so dumb that I asked for recommendations and went with a lady recommended and did not find out until I had paid deposit that she was in Cuenca not known for the brilliance of my intellect)
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A. Have you met Jeanne Martin yet? She is also from cotacachi and from Australia.
(Jeanne and I have messaged a lot She is fantastic with so much good advice)
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A. Hi! I regret not bringing more sneakers, blankets and raincoats. I’m in Quito. I did not regret my umbrella, my make-up, sunscreen, socks..  Also, bring your own cellphone, laptop or desktop, kindle if you have one…
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A. Cuenca will be a nice look around. Enjoy your time there.
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A. When you visit cotacachi you will already have friends.
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A. Jeanne stayed with me a week in Cuenca. She’s great.

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A. Clothes are expensive and not very good quality. I would take a maximum of clothes if possible. And i would defintely bring good quality towels!

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A.  it is now 6,50pm, I am still in a tshirt in the Cotopaxi province, inside, doors shut with no extra heating, but yes, some evenng can be cool, I disagree with the expensive clothes, they are dirt cheap here. you just need to know where to go.

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A.  I agree whole heartedly about the price of clothes

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A. Bring whatever you normally wear, and bring good quality. If you normally wear jeans, blouses and flats, bring those and make sure they’re good quality. People here do dress up to go out for dinner or other things, so if you just bring heavy-duty travel-type clothes, you’ll stick out.

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A.  Very long extension cord

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A. really, we have loads of 10 metre extension cords, how long do you recommend, if we want longer we join them up. or just buy a 100 metre cable put the plugs on each end. we also have those for building
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A.  Extension cords are everywhere in Cuenca. Heavy duty, light duty, short, long, indoor, outdoor, 2-prong and 3-prong.

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A. For the Sierra: Lightweight cotton sweaters, medium-weight shawls & scarves, warm socks & slippers, extra pairs of walking shoes. Umbrella and sun hat with chinstrap. Rain slicker. No shorts. And a clip-on fan. If you go to the coast or the oriente, it’s a whole different story!

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A.  I also want to add that the different regions of Ecuador treat clothing very differently….Not as many folks dress up here in Cotacachi as I suspect dress up in Quito, Cuenca or Guayaquil. Where you settle will determine fashion modes.
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A. It depends on the city and even your group of friends, for sure. Here in Ambato it’s definitely the norm to dress nice-casual when going out for lunch or to run errands across town, and business casual and up is not unusual for dinner or going to a friend’s house. However it’s perfectly acceptable to go to your local tienda in your PJs

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A.  Clothes depends on size of person. I’m near 6′ and Ecuador people smaller so clothes to small. But if leather goods they can make it. Bring size smaller in jeans. And extra walking shoes

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A.  But they have really amazing tailors and seamstresses who can make just about anything you can point at in a magazine!

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A.  Flannel pj’s!

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A.  a smaller size pair of jeans….could sure use them right about now….

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A.  “Pelileo,” near Banos and Ambato is full of jean shops. I bought a pair and love them! There is such a huge variety you may need to try a few stores.
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A.  If you are comming to Quitó, from Australia.. Bring your normal clothing but in layereable combinations.

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A.  Rain coat and down jacket and down vest. rubber boots,Sheets, Pillows. No one ever wears tank tops, shorts or summer ware in Cuenca or surrounding area.

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A. Bring undergarments if you are larger than a size medium. Also,all the shoes if you are bigger than size 8. And slippers.

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A. I see people in tank tops and summerware such as shortsand I am in.Cuenca, not many but a few do wear them…not the tourist either…lol

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A.  Bring good sheets. They sheet cheaply made ones and they cost alot. They do not sell flannel sheets . Good pillows cost a lot as well.

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A. Really good walking shoes. Comfortable pants with front pockets that close. Cotton T-shirts. Hat to protect you from the sun but you can get that here. Socks!!!

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A.  I noticed no one has mentioned bras, everything else can be bought even bras, but they are all small sized, they dont fit the properly here.

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A.  ta heck with bras—I like the sport tops that afford support. Smiles.

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A.  Aquasocks if you plan to be in the ocean.

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A. Dress for the climate you are moving to. I bought some long sleeved blouses for Cuenca as it is quite chilly there. And all my summer clothes for Vilcabamba. You didn’t ask about food but I did before I came and came with a lot of peanut butter and h

A.  Onion soup mix……… can’t get it here…..

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A. outer wear, under garments are a waste of packing space!!  wink emoticon

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A.  One of my favorite clothing items that I have here is a ultralight rain jacket. Because it is so lightweight and folds down into a tiny square, I can easily take it everywhere on those days where rain may come out of nowhere and last 20 minutes (which happens almost daily during certain parts of the year in Cuenca)

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A. My friend recently moved there… things I’ve sent or she wishes she had…
Good sheets! Towels, baking soda, witchazel, sewing needles and pins, shoes, tea, hair conditioner. Hope this helps

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A.  Not clothing but I see your from brissy so bring lots of tim tams, Milo, vegimite, butter menthols, iced vovos and eucalyptus!

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A.  Walking shoes or sneakers, socks, bras and undies, towels and linens, tea if that’s your thing, and electronics.

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A.  I’m from Australia too, but live on the coast in Manabi. Climate aside, I really wish I had bought way more underwear and bras. Unless your fine with plain cotton. Also wish I’d bought more shoes. Size 9 can be found, but with wide feet, it’s difficult. Also, anything ‘fancy’ or ‘dressy’ is rather expensive here. So if you like to dress up for special occasions, and have some favourites, bring them.

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A. GOOD walking shoes (and if you wear over a womens 8/5 or a mens 10.5 bring EXTRA!!), my daughter and I live in T shirts and jeans much of the year…bring jeans/etc in a couple sizes smaller….most people lose weight when they move here! Larger sizes (Tall / XL etc) hard to find as well…bring sunscreen and a few months supply of any meds you take regularly. We each brought one basic black dress and a pair of dress slacks …LOL

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A. Of course, by now you have figured out the answers ‘depend’….on where the respondant lives, their size, their ‘thermostat.’ I am really cool if not cold much of the time in Cuenca. Right now, others are complaining of the heat and I’m perfect! From 8200 feet in Cuenca to sea level on the coast … good luck bringing all the right clothes in two suitcases!

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A. LOL…yup…if you are a person who “runs hotter” you’ll be good in tshirts, if you run cold, you’ll want a few sweaters, etc…The weather can change many times in the course of 24 hours, so I usually have on my Tshirt, carry a light shawl/scarf/and a hat (plus the standby sunscreen and umbrella)

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A.  If you have larger size feet, shoes!

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A. Fleece is too hot here for me. I’d bring only one if feel need to. 3/4 length tee shirts are a must

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A. I get very hot in Cuenca . Wish I had brought more 100% cotton tops.

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A.  Clothes are easy…. but if you have quality cookware…. bring it. VitaMix, and some food things like spices are very weak here….. Clinton’s onion soup mix… MAPLE SYRUP. If you wear sports bras… you can’t get them here at all.

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A. Great to have the pants from Lands End where the legs zip off to make shorts or zip on to make long pants.

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A.  I like Liptons soup for when we have a cold. Comfort food

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A.  For meat balls, meat loaf, dips. It’s the only packaged food I use, and you can’t duplicate it.

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A.  I buy my shoes and clothing in the US. I just bring more with me every trip. Horshradish, pickles, saurkraut, good sheets, down pillows are hard to come by…….why are down pillows hard to get? I don’t know.

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A.  I put my clothes in space bags. It took up less space in the luggage

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A.  I brought about 80 pairs of shoes, but the only footwear that I wear is 2 pairs of sneakers. Bring sneakers, they are expensive here.

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A. Bring socks and under ware. You will not shrink out of them. Don’t buy extrs pants, you will lose 20 lbs. here in the first six months. Three or four jackets. Especially to repel rain. It is not cold enough for a winter coat. Good walking shoes (three pair). Hats to protect your skin from the sun.
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A. Sleep ware (PJ’s), it is cool at night. House shoes. A backpack.

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A.  I wish I’d brought more comfy raggedy sweats and lazyclothes.

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A. I figured I would lose weight so I brought the next size down jeans. Now I’m one size down from that.

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A.  Anything you may need assistance with please keep my contact information I will be very happy to help you on anything , Monica Gonzaga I’m a Facilitator monicagonzaga.facilitator@gmail.com

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(Great info from all
Now excuse me while I go and repack for the third time.)

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 A. Definitely bring sneakers since brand name shoes cost ~3 times as much because of import taxes, same thing with good quality jeans since you can’t really get levis here without breaking the bank. Socks and underwear are never a bad investment either. Also, bring extra chargers for all your tech because you could easily end up paying $25 for a phone charger you could get for $3 on ebay in the states

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A. Wish you the best! Hope to visit soon.

A. Things that are hard to find or expensive in Ecuador:

Good sneakers / sandals

Good jeans
Quality cotton linens
Electronics of all kinds and their chargers
Good cookware (stainless steel very expensive)
Sonicare type toothbrushes
Electric blankets (for mountain living)
Baking soda
Good quality underwear
But really, how many of these items do we really need? Even in Las Vegas I wear only a few items most of the time. Most of us gringos are just well trained to overconsume. Unless you have some specific hobby or business needs, you really don’t need to bring that much stuff. Bring the basics and learn to get the rest locally.

It will be challenging to find or replace things you are accustomed to, but if you’re committed to life in Ecuador you will figure it out….

Also I wouldn’t bother bringing too many clothes. You will almost surely lose weight. I would bring a few good basics and use the rest of luggage space for the other items which are expensive like good walking/hiking shoes, a few linens, maybe your fave pillow, electronics, electric blanket, fave cookware etc.

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A. Bring all of the clothing you can because buying clothing in Ecuador is super expensive. You may lose weight, but the clothes have high resale value, due to the import taxes.

Unless something has changed in the last 9 months since I lived there.

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A. Light weight jackets or sweater cardigans that you can tie around your waist. Cross body (long shoulder strap) purse.

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A. I live in el Centro in Cuenca. If you think you might end up there-or in any noisy area-bring a sound masking machine. You’ll be glad you did.

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A.  Bring a hat with a wide brim.
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A.  In Cuenca – Think & Bring Layers. + a small day pack, a light rain jacket/windbreaker that you can stuff in your day pack, a compact umbrella, pants with zipable or snap closure pockets, and extra pairs of your favorite walking shoes or light hiking shoes and favorite socks. & Like Gerard Trettonsays, bring a favorite wide-brimmed sun hat & your favorite sunscreen.

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A.  Yeah, a baseball cap doesn’t cut it for protection of all of face, the neck and the ears.
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A. You can buy hats here in Cuenca. They are bulky to pack. You can buy umbrellas here too, all sizes. If you buy the wind-resistant umbrellas and bring them, you may “forget” them in a taxi anyway. Over four years of living here, I’ve forgotten about ten umbrellas in taxis. Bring underwear and shoes! check out for free: www.goldengirlincuenca.com for recommendations from various women. Don’t forget your Kindle or Nook!!! Enjoy the anticipation!

For Golden Girls, learn vital info about retiring to Cuenca, Ecuador, before you leave the U.S. Filled with…
GOLDENGIRLINCUENCA.COM
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A. Oh, yes…. DON’T forget your kindle!!!!

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A.  If you wear a shoes larger than 8.5, bring shoes. Don’t bother bringing a winter coat. Cuenca is a hat-making center to don’t bring one. Life is very casual here–people don’t expect you to show up wearing a brand-new ensemble every day. Folks don’t wear shorts in Cuenca. An electric heating pad (for aching muscles, etc.) is very expensive here. I’d bring one.
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A.  Gee! I wish I had asked the question before I came–could have been smarter–like –don’t bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes—bring lots more–geesh!
(Wow thanks everyone I definitely need a bigger suitcase… maybe my own plane lol)

would rather just know a bit more about Ecuador, feel free to consider my new book: Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador.  I know that you absolutely and totally WILL be grateful for all the helpful tidbits and stories about Ecuador that I share in my book. I’ve lived it. I know it. And in my book I show it. So you can totally trust it!

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