Ecuador refusing $100 bills

Ecuador is currently being flooded with near-perfect counterfeit bills, mostly arriving from Colombia. As a result, Ecuador’s commerce and banking sector is no longer accepting any U.S. 100-dollar bills. Even the banks will not exchange these bills, at present.

This might not seem odd at first glance, but the legal currency of Ecuador is, in fact, the U.S. dollar (adopted in late 2000).

All other U.S. bills are still being accepted. While U.S. coins are also accepted, Ecuador does also mint its own coins in the same sizes and denominations as those of the U.S. but with numbers on them. (Take a look at the change in your pocket. Written words like “dime” and “quarter” don’t mean a lot if you don’t speak English, but “10” and “25” are pretty universal.)

Undoubtedly, the current problem with counterfeit bills will be solved in the near future. They already have identified the problem serial numbers that seem to be on the bills.

As always, credit cards and travelers’ checks are widely accepted at most places, although one should have cash for the local markets. Be sure to also have cash for the Galápagos National Park entrance fee ($100).

Meanwhile, Ecuador remains one of the safest and easiest of Latin American countries to visit — no visa requirements, no travelers’ inoculations for visiting much of the country, and no currency to convert upon arrival or departure. Buen Viaje!

, Galapagos Travel, 783 Rio del Mar Boulevard, Ste. 49, Aptos, CA 95003