Despite what the guidebooks say, cashing a traveler’s check in Quito, Ecuador is a royal pain-in-the-ass. Take it from the guy who wasted a day walking all over the ‘Centro Historico’ and La Mariscal (affectionately referred to as ‘Gringolandia’) in an almost futile attempt to find a place to cash his checks. Here’s what I found, from big banks to tiny cambios…fees, lines, and limits.
Banco de Pichincha (Venezuella Street near Plaza Grande, Centro Historico) – Lines from hell; crowded, loud, and confusing but no indication of the “tarife” board that cashing traveler’s checks was even an option.
Banco de Pichincha (Quayaquil Street near Teatro Sucre) – Same as at Plaza Grande only longer lines, didn’t even try.
Banco Bolivariano (Garcia Moreno at Mejia, Centro Historico) – “No. Try Banco de Pichincha.”
Unibanco (Near Plaza Granda on Garcia Moreno, Centro Historico) – Yet again, “No. Try Banco de Pichincha.”
Banco de Pichincha (Avenida Amazonas, La Mariscal) – A nice young man at the front said basically, “no aqui” (‘not here’).
Banco de Quayaquil (Avenida Amazonas and Ventimilla, La Mariscal) – Every damn guidebook says Banco de Quayaquil will cash your checks for a low fee, but don’t believe them. Not only will they not cash them, but the tellers will give you bad directions to the main branch.
Banco de Quayaquil (Cristobal Colon and 6th of December) – The ‘edificio’, the real deal, the main branch; up three flights to the ‘international section’ (you won’t find it without help), and the disdainful woman there tells me, “…we do, but the not right now”. When they do cash traveler’s checks is not clear since the sign says “8:30 – 4:00”, and I’m there at 2:30p.
Banco del Pacifico (Avenida Amazonas near Ventimilla, La Mariscal) – My savior…a 2.5% commission, but a $200.00 limit per transaction (maybe per day). Head upstairs to your right for the international section.