What To Bring
For daily life:
- The currency in Ecuador is US dollars, the exchange rates aren’t very good with other currencies but most banks work to withdraw in ATMs at large cities and the nearby towns. Amounts exceeding $10,000 must be declared (source)
- Note that it can be difficult to change $20 bills and higher, bring enough small denominations with you ($5 and $10 bills) until you can withdraw at ATMs.
- Spending: about ~$5 per day on food, which works out to be $150 – $200 per month
- Please register with telegram app as some people have problems receiving text message, we use it for our group messaging for events and general info.
- Claro sim cards work better in our area, they can be purchased in any big city for about $5 and are useful if you plan to travel around Ecuador but not critical since we have WiFi in most community areas and the signal is weak from the cell towers so it would only be more useful in the cities near us.
- Rubber calf-length “wellington”-style boots are necessary (specially in the wetter part of the year however we get rain year round). Local hardware stores near us sell them for around $10 a pair, unless your size is 44 (European size) or higher, in which case you’ll have to look in a bigger city to find that size. For short stays we may have spare ones you can borrow if you have smaller sizes.
- Rechargeable Flashlight or headlamp (something like this)
- Poncho (something like this) or umbrella (can be purchased locally)
- Long-sleeve pants and shirts (good in the evening when there are gnats)
- Work clothes and work gloves (we may have spare ones for short stays)
- Sun hat, bandannas or handkerchiefs (can be purchased locally or borrowed from us)
- 1-2 sheets and 2 thin blankets (nights can get to 15C in wet season, usually are 17-19C). Bedding, sheets, pillows and blankets are included for room renters.
- Please be aware that the humid climate here may cause some lighter clothes and fabrics to get mildew, pack them in dry sealed bags to avoid it.
- If you are volunteering you must bring your own tent, or arrange with us beforehand to use one of ours if we have one available. If interested in renting a room or cabin please check the Room Rental page and ask us about availability.
- Bring a sleeping pad and sleeping bag/bedding. The inflatable camping pads don’t tend to last long. A foam pad may be better, or, the most comfortable pad we’ve seen so far is this style of Thai roll-up sleeping pad. You should be able to find a foam sleeping pad at Mall del Rio in Cuenca for $12, if you are passing through there on your way here. Either at the camping store or the Coral.
- Head bug net (like this)
- Good thick socks (calf-length, otherwise the gnats will bite your ankles in the evenings.)
- Natural fiber clothing performs better here than synthetics. Sometimes, light-colored synthetics get mildew really easily whereas cotton, linen, or hemp don’t.
- Natural and biodegradable soap, shampoo, detergent etc. such as Dr. Bronner’s natural soap
Optional items that could be good to have but not mandatory:
- Seeds/cuttings: papaya (like red lady or other dworf verities), herloom tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, any wet tropical loving plants
- Sewing kit
- Essential oils, incense and natural bug sprays
- A quality daypack/small rucksack for going on long hikes, buying fruit from town etc.
- Basic personal first aid kit (including this for certain insect bites or illnesses, or this which has a longer shelf-life)
- Water-resistant walkie-talkie with standard CB frequencies (FRS/GMRS to be compatible with our radios such as baofeng uv-9r or this or this)
- Quality pocketknife (something like this)
- Personal dishes like spoons, forks, chop sticks, bowls, and glass/plastic tupperwear containers.
- Wood carving tools to make things from wood such as spoons or forks, etc.
- For those interested in alternative currencies: crypto hardware wallets, silver and gold coins from APMEX or Provident Metals, if you are interested in transacting in PMs to move away from the paper money of the corrupt central banking system. See this page for more information.
- Juice/nut milk bags (something like this)
- Enema bags (something like this)
Feel free to bring a book to donate to the Fruit Haven library! We have an extensive collection, but we could really use the following titles:
- Fruitarianism: The Path to Paradise by Anne Osborne
- Any raw gourmet recipe books (i.e. 101 Frickin’ Rawsome Recipes)
- Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner
- Creating a life together
- The Humanure Handbook
- Primative Technology
- Any field guide or nature book (wildlife, birds, insects, herbs, mushrooms etc) related to Ecuador or Southeast Ecuador.
- Any survival or wildcraft books (rope-making, metalworking, basket weaving, emergency first aid, etc.)
- This Is Your Brain On Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe
Fruit Tree Tools
Optional items that will be useful if you want to learn more advanced methods of working with fruit trees:
- “Silky saw“ for pruning fruit trees
- “Fleco” brand pruning shears for nursery work and pruning
- A grafting knife if you want to learn how to graft fruit trees, and grafting tape, thin parafilm kind that works for budding, and/or grafting wax
Long Term Stays
Are you buying land here? Or planning to stay for a few years? Here are some things you might find useful or to bring for those that are.
- Precious metal coins/bars (see above) – for transacting with other community members
- Bitcoin hardware wallet such as the Trezor One, and a stainless steel seed word storage device such as the CryptoSteel or various copycat products.
- A handheld HAM radio (Baofeng/BTECH are affordable brands ) – This can help you maintain contact around the large Fruit Haven properties.
- If you will be building a house with a solar system, it is a good idea to bring an inverter and charge controller with you to avoid import taxes.
- Electronics such as: laptops, cell phones, portable speakers, cameras etc. will likely cost more in Ecuador than your country because of high import taxes.