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Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

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Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby jjdubs » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:21 am

During the process of reserving rooms at Hostaria Papagayo in Machachi, I was told quite emphatically that the local gov't in Ecuador is cracking down on climbers and insisting that they have an accredited guide with them.

I'll be climbing Pasachoa, Iliniza Norte, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in a month and hadn't planned on hiring a guide. Does anyone have any information?

Thanks very much,

Justin
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby Hotfeet » Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:00 am

That sucks. Hopefully somebody with first hand knowledge can weigh in on this for you and anyone interested. I climbed there in 2009 and had no restrictions. Sounds like a way of generating work and funds.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby MMclimbhigh » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:06 am

You will enjoy your stay at PapaGayo! Great food and atmosphere and well situated for the climbs on your list. As far as restrictions? It was fine last year. My wife and I did get some funny looks at the Cotopaxi hut for having "no guía". A little convincing ($$$) at the border gate and we were on our way. You might want to talk with Fernando from High Andes Tours. He lives close by, is a kick ass mountain guide and a genuinely good person.

mountainguide@high-andes.com

cheers!
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby jjdubs » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:59 am

Thanks so much for these responses! They were exactly what I've been looking to hear. My assumption has been that with a bit of spanish knowledge, some cash, and the proper equipment, the gov't will be able to look the other way.

I appreciate the endorsement of Papagayo as well, it's a little strange wiring money to Ecuador but I've heard they're great.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby jjdubs » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:03 am

If I can piggyback on this post: Can anyone offer current trail / travel conditions in Ecuador? I'll be there mid-January and I'm having a hard time researching up to date trail conditions.

Any and all information is appreciated!

Thanks,
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby eazup » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:33 pm

I will be there at the end of the month and am planning a pretty similar climbing schedule. I would love any more concrete feedback. I was also told that the huts on Chimborazo were demolished last week, and wouldn't be usable for 4 months, though I was unable to find any evidence of this online.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby ajaysomani » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:24 am

I climbed Cotopaxi last month and I was told by my guide that since 4 people died in Illiniza Sur a couple of months ago, the government is little bit more insistent on everybody having an experienced guide to climb the glaciated mountains.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby attimount » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:20 am

We have been in Ecuador last summer in July. At the north gate for Cotopaxi we had quite some problems, because we had no guides and the park officer refuses to let us in.
After almost one hour of conversation with our driver and some cash they open the gate for us too.
Probably is was just for earning some extra money, but reading what others say they might impose to have a mandatory guide with you all the time.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby althegreek » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:29 pm

JJdubs- we had no idea before coming here that you are now required to hire a guide from ecuador to climb any of the high volcanoes! We actually went all the way to the Cotopaxi park border before being turned away. I even went to the Ministry of the Environment to protest, to no avail!
I really wish there had been more information on summitpost about this before we came down. Now we are here for 18 days and either have to hire a guide(which we don´t need or want) or just head to the beach and drink! Either way, I wish we had gone elsewhere due to this policy.
Good luck- hope the policy doesn´t screw you over too!
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby jjdubs » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:12 am

I'm sorry to hear that your trip got screwed up.

I'm in a very similar situation- we don't want or need a guide. Let me know if you found any workarounds. I know that local independant guides can be much cheaper than the big companies that advertise to Americans. If I'm going to pay for a guide, I'd like it to be as affordable as possible (I'm talking <$150/day).

I've written the gov't and hopefully can figure something out.

Keep the info coming if you've got it.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby SeracMac » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:45 am

allthegreek,
Who told you that you were required to hire a guide/what exactly happened?
This has come up enough that I think they do this just to get extra money out of American tourists. When I was there last March, I was with a tour group, and they wouldn't let us into the park without a guide (even though no one from our group was going to climb, me and my friend stayed and did but that was entirely separate from the school group), so we just paid someone $40 to get in the bus and ride with us to Tambopaxi. Then he left and there was no problem after that.
As long as your not solo, I would say that this time of year, there's probably enough people on the mountain (Cotopaxi), that no one would take notice or care about whether or not you had a guide.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby althegreek » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:15 pm

seracmac,
the policy went into place just a few days ago(so you wouldnt have dealt with this in march)...they aren´t just trying to charge gringos extra money. i went to the ministry of the environment and read the law with my own eyes....i also speak spanish, so it wasnt a lack of communication. ive talked to about 20 guides too-this is the new reality for Ecuador...Please dont confuse people into thinking that this isn´t the policy. If you come to Ecuador at the moment, you will have to get a guide regardless of your experience-there are no other options other than sneaking on the mountain.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby althegreek » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:17 pm

jjdubs-good luck with the government, when i spoke with the ministry of the environment they couldnt have been more rude or less sympathetic. let us know how it pans out or if you figure something out. this is unbelievable!
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby mtnjim » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:30 pm

"...they aren´t just trying to charge gringos extra money"

It'll be interesting to see if this new guide policy is being applied to Ecuadorans as well. I can't see that happening but I'm not there and don't really know.

If the accident ajaysomani refers to above is indeed the reasoning behind the requirement, I believe that accident was an Ecuadoran group.

Also interesting that guides are being required for any entrance since so many people just go to Lago Limpiopungo and maybe have a cup of tea at the hut and stroll a few meters up the snow.
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Re: Gov't Restrictions in Ecuador

Postby ywardhorner » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:19 pm

This really sucks. I'd been planning to do some climbing in Ecuador and now I'll just stay away. I have no intention of being forced to climb with a guide. If they're trying to squeeze more money out of climbers, I think they'll find that the plan will backfire. People like me, who would have spent a lot of money locally (ie. on hotels, shops etc), will now simply go elsewhere.
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