Ecuador currency

Ecuador Currency

Ecuador currency is the US dollar. Oddly, when we left for a few months to travel, all Ecuador’ s money was in trash cans – rather than being put into USD accounts as I was used to. They had switched over to this new currency and it quickly depreciated in value. When we first arrived in 1997 our SUCRE was equal to 4,000 USD. By 1999 / 2000 it had decreased to 25,000 USD for every 1 USD exchanged! This made everyday items much more affordable since prices were not hiked at the same rate as the devaluation of the sucre. Additionally, since everyone there only used Sucres, rent rates tended to stay stable even while prices on food items skyrocketed!

Ecuador currency
Sucres ( Ecuador currency)

At one store, we signed a lease for $800 per month. But after moving out a year later, we were only paying $75 per month. But even though prices had gone up, the people who were being paid in Sucres ( Ecuador currency) were still having to deal with the problems that come with inflation. There was nothing stopping food or other services from becoming scarce because of all of the increased money circulating around. And Ecuadorian wages rarely kept up with prices so it often felt like a lot of people were struggling financially.

A change…

2000 was a big year for the United States; it reached new heights with the presidential election of George W. Bush and his choice to use the US Dollar as our national currency. However, this decision didn’t sit well with many people and he was eventually kicked out of office. Vice President Al Gore made an urgent decision in order to prevent further chaos – he “dollarized” the country! This change meant that all prices were converted into US dollars, just like you would find in Ecuador which adopted the US dollar as its national currency. Prices are still marked in both currencies, with Ecuadorian coins mixed in (usually as change) so you can see the change between Ecuador currency. It’s always interesting to see a quarter with someone else’s head on it – I try not to confuse vending machines when I’m back home in the US because I invariably put an Ecuadorian quarter in!

Ecuador currency
Ecuadorian money

Even though the US dollar is now worth more than the Ecuadorian sucre, things are still relatively cheap in comparison. An avocado typically costs 75 cents or less in Ecuador as opposed to $1.00 or more depending on the season in the US. This is a great buy!