Are you sending mail to Ecuador?
Do you have family or friends living in Ecuador and want to send a care package or letter to them? Or do you live in Ecuador and need something sent to you from overseas?
Here are a few tips for making sure your mail reaches its destination.
Over the years I have received letters and packages from my friends and family. It's always a happy day when you get mail when you're so far from those you love.
In years past, the biggest worry was if the mail would make it through.
Some advised against sending post cards, for some postal worker along the way may admire the nice photo and take it home for their collection.
Others suggested sending mail using religious postage stamps, such as the Christmas mother and child stamps to appeal to the religious nature of the Latin Americans. Hopefully the letter would be seen as "protected" and make it through.
I'm not sure how true either suggestion is, but...
Thankfully I've received all the letters and packages sent to me while in Ecuador...as far as I know.
I suspect a group of letters I sent from Ecuador never made it out of the post office. I paid for the letters and then left them to the postal worker to stamp. I think she just pocketed the money and threw my mail away, since the letters never made it. So another good idea is to stay and watch that your mail gets all the appropriate postage.
Mail usually arrives within two weeks from the US.
When addressing your letter or package include as much information as possible. Most places have no door to door service, but efforts are made to get mail to the people. This is why the more information the better.
The best way to get mail is at a PO Box, but most people do not have one. So the street information (including intersecting street) is very important.
Also a phone number can be invaluable. If the postal worker is unable to find the house they can call and have the person come in and pick up their mail.
My husband worked for a time at a post office in Ecuador. He suggests sending mail from Ecuador via registered mail service. This gives your mail greater visibility and in can be tracked right up to delivery. It is also quite inexpensive to add this service.
When sending mail to Ecuador no special services are necessary and in most places aren't available.
The biggest concern today is not whether you're mail will arrive; the postal system has greatly improved, as has my trust in it. Now the concern is how much you will pay for your package when it arrives in Ecuador. Strict import tax has been imposed on just about everything that comes into the country, including packages.
I sent a package of used clothes to my sister-in-law in Ecuador a few years ago. When it got there she was charged $70 (USD) to be able to retrieve it. I couldn't believe it. Especially since it was just some hand-me-downs from my son to hers. I should have just packed it in my suitcase when I went back to Ecuador. Anyway...
There are some regulations that I've learned of since then. I received a pamphlet dated June 2009 from the Ecuador Consulate in Minnesota. It has these suggestions:
For more information on sending packages you can see the Ecuadorian Customs website, which is written in "lawyer" Spanish, but does give some understandable information on the different categories a package would fall under and the amount of the tax if it exceeds the set limits. For those living in Ecuador, a printout of the info on the above website may be helpful if you are disputing charges at your local post office.
If you are living in Ecuador please share this information with family members who may send you care packages. It can save them a huge headache.
Club Correos is popular service used by many living in Ecuador...as you can see from the Facebook comments below.
This service allows you to have your packages sent to an address in Miami, Florida. From there, Club Correos informs you of shipping and customs fees and sends your mail to Ecuador.
Update 2014. Lately there have been many complaints about Club Correos. One of my friends has had two packages waiting to be sent from their hub in Miami. She has paid all fees, but the packages aren't being sent. She has repeatedly contacted Club Correos, but has yet to hear anything from them. This is only one example of recent problems. It's been about six months now and no package.
These problems are not unique to Club Correos, but seem to be typical of the mail system in general right now. Whenever possible I suggest having visitors bring you any packages you need, instead of mailing them.
Update 2015. The Club Correos service has been discontinued permanently.