If you plan to ship furniture or other items to Ecuador, there is a very involved process with rules that change frequently. We chose Mayflower in the US to make a door to door shipment of a 40’ container from North Carolina to our new home in Cuenca. All I can advise is that you check with a reputable shipper in the US to find the latest information. The cost, based on weight for 15,000#, was approximately $12,000 which included insurance, packing in the US and unpacking in Cuenca, land transportation to Charleston, sea transport to Guayaquil, customs charges and land transportation to Cuenca. Guayaquil used to be famous for stealing from containers but with the new government this has lessened considerably. We had nothing stolen and nothing broken. We have heard that it is far less complicated to clear customs in Cuenca than it is in Guayaquil. Choosing what to bring and what not to bring is such an individual question that it will be up to you to decide. We wish that we had brought more and sold less in the US but there are others who arrived here with a dozen suitcases (paying the overweight air charges) and buying what they needed in Ecuador. It may be a tossup in cost but, in our case, we have the things we love. If you have individual packages shipped to Ecuador from the US, they will be either opened or valued according to the customs declaration and import duties will be added. This makes shipping from the US quite expensive unless it is something you need desperately. In the city there are street addresses but in the country there are no street names or house numbers. Some people take out post office boxes for $25 a year that are located around town like in the photo but this has not worked well for us.
We do get mail at our apartment but it is, once again, not like in the US. Getting mail is not common. Letters are delivered by a man on a bicycle to our apartment but if we get a package, we receive a phone call from the post office telling us to come in to pay whatever import duty is due. To get a package at the post office, we have to go downtown between 8:00 and 12:30 on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday and stand on line while a national policeman opens the package, inspects it and announces its value which must be paid on the spot. There are no zip codes in Ecuador. To send a letter to the US, you go to the post office where the letter is weighed and postage of $1.00 – $4.00 is levied. It takes from 7 to 10 days for delivery in the US, depending on where it is going.