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 to send something oversees?
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 (this is still true even in the age of social media).
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 I'm pretty sure I've received the mail sent to me...except for one package (mentioned in the comments) that I eventually had to pick up in the US.
When sending mail to Ecuador no special services are necessary and in most places aren't available. Mail used to arrive within two weeks from the US, but recently it's been taking a month or more.
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.
Once I paid for a pile of letters to be sent from Ecuador 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.
The biggest concern today is not whether you're mail will arrive; the postal system has greatly improved. 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.
To avoid added fees when mailing packages or when ordering things online, follow these guidelines:
For more information on sending mail and 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 the post office in Ecuador.
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.
Whenever possible I suggest having visitors bring you any packages you need, instead of mailing them. I will go on an online shopping spree before my family comes to visit and have everything sent to their house. Then they just throw everything in their suitcases.
Club Correos was popular service used by many living in Ecuador...as you can see from the Facebook comments below. This service allowed you to have your packages sent to an address in Miami, Florida. From there, Club Correos informed you of shipping and customs fees and sent your mail to Ecuador.
As of 2015, the Club Correos service has been discontinued permanently.