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Packing Advice: What to Bring to Ecuador's Sierra

November 23, 2017

It's the age-old question: What do I bring??


We have found that wherever we may be adventuring, we are the most reassured with the contents of our luggage when we can talk to a friend that has already been to the destination. Let us here at Quito Street Tours be that friend for you! We have compiled a list of essentials for Quito itself and a few other nearby locations, all within the Sierra.





"Summer [spring, summer, and fall] in the city." Layers, layers, layers. Locals love saying that while Ecuador doesn’t really have seasons; Quito experiences every season in one day. Layering is the best way to explore while matching your outfit to the "season."

  • Raincoat and small foldable umbrella

  • Sweater or fleece 

  • 2 undershirts

  • 2 t-shirts

  • 1 button up

    • Something like a light flannel that protects from the sun or chilliness 

  • 1 or 2 pairs of your favorite jeans or kakis

  • 1 “going out” outfit

    • This might borrow from other items on the list too. Example, a nicer shirt that dresses up your favorite jeans

  • Pajamas

    • Obviously personal preference, but think layers for sleeping options too

  • Comfortable shoes for walking around the city

  • A lightweight pair of shoes you can dress up (a little bit) for restaurants, dancing, etc.


  • Smart phone or camera

    • These days smart phones take such good pictures that a full camera isn't necessarily essential. Whichever device your snapping pics with, use extra safety precautions in places you might get distracted – like negotiating with a street vendor – or in crowded places – like the bus

  • Headphones

    • After taking our free walking tour of La Floresta, wander the colorful streets on your own as you listen to our customized music playlist:

  • Sunhat 

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • A day bag

    • A small backpack, comfortable purse, sling, or canvas bag 

  • A refillable water bottle 

    • While it’s not always advisable to drink the tap water when first arriving, many hostels, hotels, and B&Bs have water jugs. Our tried and true durable recommendations are Nalgene and Klean Kanteen. 


Going Pichincha! In addition to the city list, consider bringing the following if you plan to hike Pichincha while you are in Quito:

  • More layers

  • A puffy jacket that packs up small, or something similar in warmth

  • Warm hat

  • Warm and comfortable socks

  • Hiking boots

  • Avoid cotton!




Land of llamas (and alpacas)! Whether you’re heading to Otavalo for shopping, hiking, or checking out condors, you’ll want to be sure that your warm layers are accessible. Don’t have a good warm layer? That’s ok! You’re going to the right place to buy a cozy Andean sweater...and hat...and gloves....and poncho.



So close yet so far. While Mindo is just two hours away, the lower elevation and cloud forest landscape makes for a whole different world...and much different packing needs. In general, Mindo is warmer and more humid, although it can get a little cooler at night or if it’s rainy.


  • Swimsuit

  • Sandals

    • Flip-flops are great, something like Tevas or Chacos are even better

  • Towel 

    • Your hostel will provide one for showering, but it’s good to have one for the waterfall hike or if your hostel has a pool

  • Binoculars (birds, birds, birds!)

  • Headlight

    • If your hostel is off the main road, it’s nice to have a headlight walking to and from town. But make sure to turn your light off periodically on your stroll so you have a chance to see some lightning bugs!

  • Insect repellent

    • We have found a winning combination with Tea Tree oil and sunscreen applied generously. Luckily, the elevation of Mindo is high enough that you don’t have to worry about malaria.



In addition to what to bring, you might be deciding on what to put it in, too. Many travelers choose between a backpacking backpack and a roller bag.


- Will you be taking taxis to and from your home(s) away from home?

- Will you be staying for at least 2 or 3 nights in each location?

- Do you experience back, neck, hip, leg, or arm pain?


Yes? Then a roller bag is for you!


- Will you be taking busses to and from your home(s) away from home?

- Will you be location-hopping frequently?

- Do you love running like a madman through airports or bus terminals?


Yes? Then pack everything in a backpack!



Happy packing, and even happier traveling! Keep an eye out for our coast and Amazon packing lists too. 






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