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What Currency Does Ecuador Use?

So, what currency does Ecuador use? In this post, you’ll learn about Ecuador’s (and Galapagos) currency and some tips for handling your cash in the country.

What currency does Ecuador use?

What Currency Does Ecuador Use?

What is Ecuador’s currency? Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar.

It’s true. March 13, 2000 marked the dollarization of Ecuador’s economy – switching from the sucre (Ecuador’s previous currency) to the U.S. dollar as the national currency.

If you are traveling from the United States, you can just bring the money you use at home. The bills in Ecuador were printed by the U.S. Treasury Department.

If you are traveling from a country other than the U.S. you can pick up some U.S. currency at your local bank before flying out. While it’s not hard to withdraw more funds here in Ecuador, it’s always a good idea to travel with some small bills.

Coins in Ecuador

While Ecuador doesn’t print it’s own paper currency, it does mint it’s own coin. In Ecuador, both U.S. and Ecuadorian coin is accepted.

Ecuadorian coins are known as centavo coins and were also introduced in 2000 with the dollarization. They come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos (cents) and match the size and value to their U.S. equivalents. As you travel in Ecuador, you’ll accumulate a pocket full of mixed (U.S. and Ecuador) minted coins.

Dollar Coins in Ecuador

Something that might surprise many Americans are the U.S. minted Sacagawea dollar coins. While these “golden dollar” coins are not common in the United States, they are used daily across Ecuador. These are great for taxi fares.

Handling your Money in Ecuador

Cash is king in Ecuador. While many tourism services accept credit cards, the local consumer economy runs on cash. You’ll want cash for everything from taxis to local markets and souvenirs.

Small bills are best. Generally speaking, you should carry $5, $10 and $20 bills. $50 bills aren’t common and $100 bills can be a real hassle to break (even at the banks) because of the possibility of counterfeits.

And, of course, tips are given in cash. Read more on tipping in Ecuador.

Currency is just one of the things you should know as you plan your trip to Ecuador. Here are another 10 things to know about Ecuador travel.

Your Turn

Have a question about Ecuador’s currency or handling your money while traveling? Join us in the comments.

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