Ecuador

Packing List

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.

Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers

General Clothing

  • 1 or 2 pairs of nice pants (TEFL volunteers may need more professional wear)
  • 1 to 3-4 pairs of jeans heavy work pants or leggings (As stated above TEFL Volunteers will need more professional wear, but Community Health and Youth and Family volunteers can dress business casual) (
  • 6 shirts or short-sleeved polo shirts (T-shirts are readily available in Ecuador unless you need something larger than XL)
  • 1 or 2 formal outfits for occasional meetings
  • 3 or more long-sleeved shirts
  • 2 to 4 pairs of shorts (not too short) or capris (quick dry are the best option)
  • 12 or more pairs of cotton underwear
  • 1 or 2 pairs of long underwear or other clothes to layer (bring items that are easy to wash by hand)
  • 12 pairs of good-quality socks (lower-quality socks are available)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of heavy wool socks
  • 2 or more sweaters or fleeces
  • 1 warm jacket
  • 1 waterproof jacket or poncho
  • Athletic clothing for working out
  • 1 or 2 bathing suits
  • 1 or 2 hats or visors
  • Gloves and a warm hat (if you hike)

Women

  • 6 or more bras
  • 1 or 2 nice dresses or modest sundresses (read above)
  • 2 or more modest tank tops
  • Skirts can be a great alternative to shorts, as shorts are often culturally unacceptable outside of sports and the beach. Also keep in mind that longer skirts are more acceptable.

Men
For swearing-in and occasional semi-formal events:

  • 1 sports coat
  • 1 or 2 neckties

Shoes

  • 2 pairs of tennis or running shoes
  • 1 pair of good-quality hiking/work boots
  • 1 or two pairs of comfortable dress shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals (easily purchased locally for $2-5), or sturdy sandals (for beach or free time, not for training or professional settings)
  • 1 pair of rain/mud boots (sizes under 10 available locally and are inexpensive)
  • It is difficult to find men’s shoe sizes over 10 and women’s shoe sizes over 8

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • 3-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring 2 pairs (contacts are not recommended due to the elevated rates of eye infections and because contact solution is hard to find)
  • Contact lens solutions and extra cases and travel bottles 
  • Tampons/menstrual cup
  • Cosmetics (high quality makeup is expensive)
  • Shampoo and other toiletries are readily available in Ecuador

Miscellaneous

  • Knapsack or day pack (very important)
  • Medium-size backpack or duffel bag for weekend travel (available locally, but expensive)
  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S.
  • Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures of family and friends (to show host family), books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away
  • Small portable USB drive/memory stick
  • Sleeping bag & backpacking mattress (Depending on the Volunteer and if he or she travels a lot, sleeping bags can be helpful, but are far from necessary. They are, however, expensive on the local market.)
  • Sheets (full size is recommended) and pillowcases (available locally, but are expensive and low quality)
  • One shower towel (expensive on the local market)
  • Towels (note: camping towels fold up small and dry quickly and are very useful for travel) 
  • Camera and film (expensive locally)
  • Portable music player and good quality headphones
  • Charger and rechargeable batteries
  • Sunglasses (important that they have with UV protection)
  • Wide-colored markers and other art supplies (available locally, but expensive)
  • Decorations for your room or apartment (e.g., posters, maps, tapestries and postcards of your hometown)
  • Favorite books and “how-to” books with illustrations (some Volunteers teach English formally or informally)
  • Flea collars, if you plan to have a pet
  • Equipment for hobbies, such as sewing patterns (expensive and hard to find in Ecuador) and musical instruments (you can buy a good handmade guitar in Ecuador)
  • Favorite games, Frisbee, foam footballs, word games, etc.
  • Pillow, if you have a favorite one
  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Small pocket calendar or daily planner
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool (highly recommended)
  • Good quality water bottle
  • Duct tape
  • At least one good quality kitchen knife (they can be expensive in country)
  • Ethnic spices (e.g., Indian) from the States if you plan to cook a lot
  • Travel alarm and watch (nothing flashy or expensive)
  • Small tool kit (available locally, but expensive so only bring if you would normally use one)
  • Hair dryer (if you use one frequently in the States)
  • Laptop (useful for work purposes and tracking progress and activities throughout service, but not required)
  • Extra charger for laptop or phone in case one breaks (they are expensive and hard to find in country)

Remember, after training you will have to get all of your luggage to your site by yourself, so if you bring it, you will have to carry it! Big suitcases with wheels don’t work too well on dirt or gravel roads. There will also be many Volunteers completing their two years of service about the time you begin your service, so they may have many items to sell.