Ecuador Currency: Money Tips And What You Need to Know About Money in Ecuador

The man is surprise he can use US dollars as an official currency of Ecuador

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that Ecuador’s official currency is the US dollar. This is excellent news for most people because it makes Ecuador a convenient destination for a low-cost holiday.

You can simply bring US dollars to Ecuador. There is no need for you to convert money if you are from the US. If you are from Europe or Asia, you can simply change your local currency into easily usable US dollars.

Money Tips for Travelers to Ecuador

Although using the US dollar in Ecuador helps make life easier, there are several things to keep in mind when utilizing the local currency.

While credit cards have steadily increased in use thanks to the dependability of the networks, cash is still king in the nation. It was a struggle for me to use credit cards sometimes. In fact, many businesses do not even accept them. 

When visiting or traveling through Ecuadorian cities, bear the following considerations in mind.

Small Bills and Changes

Rarely do taxi drivers, store owners, and certain cafes and restaurants have changed for amounts greater than 10 dollars. It was a struggle for me to use $50 and $100 bills for paying while traveling on Ecuador’s mainland. Many businesses did not accept it.

Stick with large establishments like supermarkets or call ahead if you need change. If you intend to travel with US dollars, attempt to bring a supply of 5, 10, and 20-dollar bills and steer clear of too many 100-dollar bills.

Avoid Traveler’s Check

In Ecuador, travelers’ checks are not advised, and there aren’t many places to exchange them. Generally speaking, changing them to cash entails a protracted wait at particular banks and a ton of tedious paperwork.


The best option in Ecuador is typically an ATM debit or bank card, and having a backup card is a good idea in case your foreign bank experiences problems with Ecuador’s banking system. 

ATMs in Ecuador are widely available in large cities and typically accept Visa, Mastercard, and other well-known credit cards. However, if you are traveling to Galapagos, ATMs are limited.

Know the Ecuadorian Coins

Ecuador does produce some of its own coins, but all of the country’s currency bill is of US origin. Be on the lookout for 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50-cent coins from Ecuador; they are the same size as US ones but have a different print. Try to spend these coins while you are in Ecuador because they cannot be used in the US.

Call Your Bank Before Traveling

Before leaving, give your bank a call and let them know you’ll be in Ecuador. Speak with someone from the bank before your trip to ensure that your account is noted that you will be in South America and that you have a contact to call in case of need.

If every other transaction is declined due to a computer flag, retrieving money can be difficult with some banks’ automated bans when cards are used abroad.

Ecuador Currency History

From the late 1800s through the year 2000, the Ecuadorian Sucre served as the country’s official currency. The Banco Central del Ecuador issued it (Central Bank of Ecuador).

The Bolivian president Antonio José de Sucre, a well-liked figure in Latin America and the liberator of what is now Ecuador, is credited with giving the sucre its name.

Ecuador was experiencing substantial economic volatility by the turn of the 20th century. Prices were rocketing due to spikes in inflation, and the sucre lost value over time. Ecuador made the decision to replace its own currency with US dollars in 2000.

By selling more oil and other items for U.S. dollars, it was possible to increase the amount of money in circulation by utilizing Ecuador’s trade surplus. Ecuadorians had a set period of time during which they could exchange their sucre for dollars.

Ecuador’s inflation rates have steadied since the shift, and the country’s economy has generally expanded.

Although it is no longer in use, the sucre still plays a significant role in Ecuador’s history.

Bottom Line

It is best to do your research first before traveling to a foreign country. Knowing the local currency of your destination will help you plan your trip. The mentioned money tips are also useful for travelers as you can use them as a reference during your vacation.

About the author

Oleg Galeev

I'm Oleg, and together with my wife, we've explored Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, journeying through more than 20 cities (Quito, Cuenca, Banos, Tena, Puyo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, Otavalo, Mindo and more) and nearly every island in the Galapagos (including iconic ones such as Bartolome Island, San Cristobal Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island and more). In this blog, I give you my real thoughts about each place we visited. This info can help anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands or mainland Ecuador. I'm just a traveler, not a tour company, so I'm not trying to sell anything. That means I'll tell you the truth—both the good and the bad — about traveling in Ecuador based on what we experienced.

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