Miscellaneous Info about Ecuador;
Ecuador is friendly to America and Americans. Ecuador, at least at the time of this writing (Fall, 2014) is politically stable, as stable as South American countries get. Violent crime is relatively rare in Ecuador, petty theft, however is not uncommon. You can't be careless in Ecuador, but there is no reason to be scared of the place either. The same could be said for the United States.
Ecuador is on the Equator, therefore the days and nights are of equal length all year long. That's why they don't have daylight savings time.
Ecuador is in the Eastern Time Zone, same as Florida and the Atlantic Seaboard. Therefore....jet lag won't be a problem.
They use the same "electricity" we do: 120volts, 60Hz and the same prong configuration; two vertical flat prongs. So we don't need to take adapters or tranformers such as are needed when going to Europe or Africa.
The climate in Quito and the Andes, due to the altitude can be chilly, especially at night. In my experience, I have never needed or wanted a coat, but a long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt or light jacket could be useful at times.
The climate at the Arajuno Jungle Lodge, where we are going is warm and humid all year long. By warm I mean upper 80's. While days are hot in the jungle, no one has complained about being unable to sleep at night because of the heat, even though there are no air conditioners at the lodge.
Spanish is the primary and official language of Ecuador, though there is an accent and some dialect, especially in the outlying areas.
Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as it's currency. No exchanges, no exchange rate hassles. Just bring your money and spend it like you were at home.
There are no pirhanas (small man-eating fish) in the Arajuno River.
Bottled water is available pretty much everywhere, and this is true just about all over the world.
Ecuadorians, especially in the metropolitian areas, shake hands upon meeting someone and upon leaving someone. In Ecuador the handshake is not as "firm" as it is in the US, but it is typically longer.