Health

Health - Acclimatization

During any climbing expedition the golden rule in acclimatization is to climb high and to sleep low. Acclimatizing takes time and there are no safe shortcuts. All our expedition itineraries have been carefully planned in order to avoid altitude problems, although we need to mention that every person reacts in a different way to altitude. We therefore strongly advise you to arrive in Quito two or three days before the start of your program.

Acclimatization Hikes are Extremely ImportantAcclimatization is very important, especially during the initial phase of the trip. Over the years we have found that some of our clients ignore how important it is to be well acclimatized, it determines a big part of the enjoyment of the trip. Acclimatization has nothing to do with fitness, age or gender.

When travelling in the Ecuadorian Andes / highlands it is important to rest the first day and drink lots of fluids (water please!). Two good rules are the following: climb high sleep low; and plan on interval gains of altitude never more than 1.000 m / 3,000 ft per 24 hours.

Acute Mountain Sickness
Altitude illness is primarily a result of a decreased oxygen concentration in the blood caused by the lower atmospheric pressure at high altitude. Medical problems associated with it include normally a number of uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and nausea, which can be described as mild AMS.
However, in some cases mild AMS may develop into severe AMS. There are two forms of severe AMS and they can occur separately or together: HIGH ALTITUDE CEREBRAL EDEMA (HACE), and HIGH ALTITUDE PULMONARY EDEMA (HAPE). Both can be fatal if not recognized and treated in time. Every person who suffers from SEVERE AMS should be taken to a lower altitude immediately. People who rush the acclimatization process are more vulnerable to AMS (see below acclimatization).

Several specialists in high altitude medicine, recommend the use of Acetazolamide (commercially known as Diamox), taken as a prophylactic.
The consumption of Diamox is a personal decision; please talk to your own doctor before taking it.


Safety in Ecuador

Ecuador, in general is a safe country, but we should mention some tips of advice.

Active VolcanoesActive Tungurahua
One of Ecuador's attractions is the many active volcanoes found throughout the country; but their natural beauty could hide some dangers. Andeanface only operates in the authorized volcanoes.
For further information about the state of the volcanoes in Ecuador see the website of the National Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute: www.igepn.edu.ec/ (in Spanish) or the website Smithsonian Global Volcano Program: www.volcano.si.edu/index.cfm (in English).
If travelling in areas of erupting volcanoes, you should follow media reports and the advice or instructions of the local authorities. Some volcanoes such as Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha, and Cayambe are considered active but not currently dangerous. Their activity is closely monitored by the Ecuadorian authorities.

Safety and Crime in Quito
An important tip of advice, applicable to any city large city in Latin America, is not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. While in Quito, we strongly recommend not to walk alone in the Mariscal (tourist) area late at night, neither in the El Ejido Park, nor walk up the hill called Panecillo in the Old Town. If you need to go somewhere during the night, please take a taxi. The standard rate is one dollar within the area.
Whenever you walk in the Old Town of Quito, please leave all your valuables, including your passport, in the hotel. There have recently been a few cases of pick pocketing.
While staying in mountain refuges, remember that these are public places. Please keep all your belongings in one place. Valuables can be placed in a locker.

Travel Documents
Your first step in preparing your trip is to make sure you have all your travel documents in order. Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months beyond the date you plan to enter Ecuador. Normally, you do not need a visa for a tourist stay up to 90 days (this generally applies to citizens of the USA and European countries).
Exceptions:

      • Colombians travelling between Colombia and Ecuador with National Identify Cards and International Embarkation Disembarkation cards;
      • Passport holders from China, Cuba, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam need to obtain a visa for travel to Ecuador.
      • If you are planning a visit of more than 90 days, travelling on business, or have other visa questions, please consult the Ecuador Consulate Page or your local consulate for the latest information and visa requirements: www.ecuador.org.

Andeanface advises you to make and retain copies of all your important travel documents including your passport and airline tickets. Keep copies of your credit card numbers separate from your purse or wallet.
If any of the original items become lost or stolen, having this copied information will make it far easier.

 

 

 

Health - Acclimatization

"It seemed certain that sooner or later we should suffer like the rest of the world, but I proposed to put off the evil day as long as possible; to mount gradually and leisurely, by small stages. So that there should be no abrupt transition."

Edward Whymper
Travel among the Andes of Ecuador, 1892






Emergencies and Communication

In case there is an emergency due to a medical or high altitude related problem we provide a 24 hour back up service, no matter in which region of Ecuador.
We count with an excellent network of medical specialists. Most of them work in Hospital Metropolitano (www.hospitalmetropolitano.org), one of the best and better-equipped hospitals in South America.

In any climbing or trekking expedition an important element of safety is communication. We provide mobiles and Motorola radios. Most of the mountain regions of Ecuador have access to mobile signals. In case there is no signal we provide Motorola radios to enable communication with different parties in your expedition.





Insurance

We strongly urge you to purchase travel and accident insurance. A good policy will include medical coverage - including coverage for emergency evacuation - as well as baggage loss protection.

Most hospitals accept credit cards. Medical insurance is not always valid outside the country where you reside. Medicare and Medicaid do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Many countries' national health care often does not provide for medical service abroad or in South America.
It is wise to check with your health care provider prior to travelling as to coverage overseas. If you are not fully protected, you should purchase traveller’s insurance (supplemental insurance). The cost of the insurance is minimal when compared to the hundreds of dollars in expense you may incur if you do become ill or injured.

Should you become ill or injured; travel insurance offers a variety of coverage including medical expenses while overseas, evacuation to the nearest hospital (or home).