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August Attendee Emails

Attendee Hotel Quito list

Attendee Airport Transfer list 

Lori’s packing list

Rich’s packing list

Don’t forget: If you’re bringing your laptop with you to Ecuador (and we suggest you do) and you don’t already have Adobe Lightroom on it, you should go to Adobe’s website and download a trial version. Just go to www.adobe.com and you’ll find it in their trial downloads section (it’ll be good for 30 days).

You’ll learn a lot of new photo processing techniques in Ecuador and it’s always easier to remember what you’ve learned if you’ve done it on your own computer.

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WORKSHOP LOCATION
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The Workshop Location: El Meson de las Flores, Sucre and Garcia Moreno, Cotacachi, Ecuador.  tel: 011 593 6 291 6009. In Ecuador: 06 291 6009. Also, you can call El Meson
from a NC number that rings directly to the hotel: 1-336-792-4767.

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FOOD AND WATER
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There is filtered water at the hotels but bottled drinking water available for those who prefer it. Ecuador has an abundance of fruits (many endemic only to Ecuador), exquisite fresh juices (try them all!), fresh vegetables and excellent seafood.

Cotacachi prides itself on organic. There is an exquisite market (main day is Sunday) that was built for the village by Unesco and offers local organic produce.

Altitude: Keep in mind that Quito is at a very high altitude, near 10,000 feet (ask your doctor about high altitudes if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, etc.) and the body does not require as much food at high altitudes.

Also remember that alcohol has a double kick at high altitude.

Overeating of protein can cause some stomach distress at these altitudes. Sometimes it is recommended to take an aspirin for any high altitude headaches. You might just notice that you can’t run up steps quickly when you arrive. You might try the shamanic cure for altitude which is hot canela/panela (cinnamon) tea.

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ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT
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What you won’t find in Ecuador is all the hustle, hassle and confusion of many third world countries. The airport is well organized and planes are on time.

The bad thing is that all of us have become accustomed to saying NO to everything that we are offered. This is due to years of problems and we have become doubtful, fearful and suspicious. So we really have to retrain ourselves to say YES!

People are not seeking tips or angling to get you to buy something. (Tips are appreciated however. A quarter can go a long way and a dollar is great for many things.) We suggest that you just allow the sweetness and goodness to take place.

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TAXES
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Taxes: The Ecuadorian government imposes a 22% tax on all services. This is necessary at this time to help out with the economy. These include a 10% service tip which goes directly to the employees.

Also there is a $42 exit fee that is paid at departure. Many people don’t feel comfortable when countries impose this exit tax, but remember that ALL countries impose these taxes. They are usually just included in your ticket price (take a look the next time you travel to Europe!)

Small countries, however, don’t have the complexities necessary to collect these through the airlines, so most of these countries tax you in cash as you depart.

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CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION
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Customs & Immigration: First of all, bring Your Passport! On the plane over, you will be given a little form, a Visa, to fill out. Keep it with your passport. (This visa copy will be taken as you depart Ecuador.) You can check to make sure that your home country does not require a Visa, as increasingly some must have them. (All of US, Canada and Europe are exempted.)

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YOUR BAGGAGE CLAIM SLIP
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When you check in with your airlines in the U.S., you will be given your baggage claim checks… KEEP THEM HANDY!

Clearance through customs and immigration in Ecuador is smooth and easy. When you deplane in Quito, follow the signs to Immigration. Offer your passport and Visa. Immigrations will pass you on through this formality. Often you are asked how many days you will stay.

Bags come easily and quickly. Secure a cart if necessary (they are available for $1).

Walk through the Customs area with your Passport in your hand… ask anyone which way you should go. Move as the line is passing through… don’t assume that you have to go to the counters where possibly there are customs agents.

In general, Americans and non-Ecuadorians do not have to do anything but just walk on through. With the new security though, you should expect to have our luggage x-rayed on the way out.

As you pass through the automatic doors, you will see several boys who are asking for BAGGAGE CLAIM TAGS. These were given to you when you checked in at your first flight and are usually stapled to your ticket folder. You MUST have these and they will check each and every bag before leaving the area.

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TIME ZONE
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Ecuador Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time.

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ELECTRICITY
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Electricity: 110 volts, same as in the U.S. (no adapter needed for U.S. plugs)

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MONEY
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Currency: The U.S. dollar.

Ecuador dollarized in 2000 and very few places accept credit cards.  Bring U.S. Dollars (small bills) and a roll of quarters to use for small items bought in the markets… or shoe shines!  Often, it is difficult to cash $100 bills and almost impossible to cash Traveler’s Checks.  There are ATM machines that dispense up to $500 a day, this is usually the easiest route for getting money.

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ALTITUDE
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Ecuador is at a high altitude, some people may experience altitude sickness. If you have a heart condition, you should consult with your doctor before you travel to find out about how best to adjust to the altitude when you arrive.

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HOTEL
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Your hotel fees during the workshop are included in your workshop fee.  The only night that’s not covered is your last night in Quito.  Let us know if you want us to book a hotel for you that night under our reduced-rate price ($59 + tax).  You can pay for your room when you check out.

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FLIGHT
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The airport code for Quito, Ecuador is UIO.

AS SOON AS YOU’RE TICKETED, check your airline tickets and make sure everything is in order — correct spelling of your name, correct dates, and correct departure city. If there is an error, call your travel agent immediately.

PASSPORT: A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and depart Ecuador.  Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel.  U.S. citizens traveling on regular passports do not need a visa for a stay of 90 days or less.  An airport exit tax is required when departing Ecuador ($30+ paid at departure).

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DRESS
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Temperatures are cool to cold at night in the Andes. Bring sweaters and jackets. August/September are the dry seasons
but bring an umbrella just in case.  It rarely rains for more than 10-20 minutes at a time so heavy rain gear isn’t necessary.

Temperatures are spring-like year round. Shorts are always inappropriate unless for the beach. For travel in the country side to the markets, etc. country clothes, khakis, safari clothes are great for the day… then layer for the cool evenings. Don’t forget your bathing suits for the hot springs, pools, saunas and steam baths.

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TRAVEL INSURANCE
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To protect your investment, we recommend you purchase travel insurance. I like http://www.travelguard.com. Or, if you prefer comparison shopping, consider http://www.insuremytrip.com — which allows you to shop from more than 100 travel insurance plans from 16 leading companies.

Lori wrote a 3-part series on travel insurance which you’ll find in our archives here:

*** Part 1 — Travel Insurance: Should You or Shouldn’t You
*** Part 2 – Travel Insurance: You May Already Own It
*** Part 3 — Travel Insurance: Where to Find the Best Buy

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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