Shipping, Mail & Muling Packages to Ecuador

Shipping things to and from Ecuador is not a straightforward process compared to the United States and other countries.

In this article, we’ll share the best ways to ship packages to Ecuador, and how to mail packages in Ecuador.

Shipping Options

Amazon-BoxShipping things to Ecuador is not cheap or easy, but thanks to a new law that went into effect on June 15th, 2021, it is cheaper and easier than it used to be.

If you want to ship a package to Ecuador, your best option is DHL. While FedEx also has offices in the larger cities and UPS has offices in Quito and Guayaquil, DHL offices are much more common and the prefered choice by the majority of Ecuadorian businesses and residents.

As of June 15th, the $42 courier import fee has been lifted, which means it’s no longer cost-prohibitive to ship items to Ecuador.

Under the previously existing 4×4 import rule, you were required to pay a $42 courier fee on any package shipped to Ecuador, including document envelopes and small boxes, in addition to standard shipping fees and other import taxes.

Now, under the 4×4 import rule, you’re allowed to ship items to Ecuador without paying additional customs fees and import taxes as long as the package weighs less than 4 kilograms and has a value less than $400.

This means it will be much more feasible to purchase items on Amazon and have them delivered to Ecuador, although the shipping rates will still be quite expensive.

We priced a 1 pound (.45 kilo) bag of spice that costs $10 on Amazon and the shipping cost was $30. However, prior to July 15th, 2021, the shipping cost was $72, so that’s quite a reduction in shipping fees!

Tiendamia is an easy option for ordering products from Amazon, Macy’s and Ebay.  The website is similar to shopping on Amazon although some products are prohibited per Ecuadorian regulations.  The nice thing about Tiendamia is that they calculate all the tariffs and taxes for you and provide real time shipping information.  It is a reliable resource that we’ve used several times to order hard to find things in Ecuador.

 

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Muling Products

Mule services in Ecuador are a popular way to get hard-to-find items delivered from the U.S. to Ecuador, especially from online shopping sources like Amazon.com.

Ecuador Fee-based Mule Services

The people who offer this type of service will provide a shipping address in the U.S. where you can mail packages. Then they’ll retrieve the packages, usually on a monthly basis, and bring them to Ecuador for a fee.

Here are 3 fee-based mule services and their fees (as of this writing):

  • USAValet.net – $10 up to a pound, $10/pound after that; electronics have additional fees
  • APShipping.us – $10 up to a pound, $9/pound after that; high cost items have additional fees
  • CuencaExpress.com – $10 handling fee + $10/pound after that; no additional fees for electronics or other high cost items

Ecuador Free Muling Options

You can also find friendly expats who are willing to take things back to the U.S. or other places, as well as bring things back to Ecuador for you. Sometimes, they’ll ask for an exchange or a favor, but other times they’ll just do it for the good karma.

Here are two places to post your muling requests:

Mail Services

Mail service in Ecuador is nothing like the U.S. Postal Service. There are no door-to-door daily deliveries by postal carriers in mail trucks. You can get home deliveries in some areas, but you’ll have limited options and several obstacles to overcome.

We use a mail service back in the United States called TravelingMailbox.com for all our US-based mail. They have lots of physical addresses in different states so we have all our mail delivered to them. Then they scan it and post it to their secure portal where we review it and either download it, forward it to our parents, or have it shredded and deleted. We’ve been using them for many years, even before we moved to Ecuador, and love the service.

Correos del Ecuador

Correos del Ecuador was the official national mail service, but they went into full liquidation in May 2020 and were scheduled to be completely shut down in November 2020.

However, that date was pushed to February 2021 when the Moreno government officially shuttered the mail service by executive decree and transitioned it to a new entity called Servicios Postales del Ecuador (Postal Services of Ecuador).

This new service essentially privatizes the postal service by engaging “strategic partners” such as DHL and Servientrega to provide mail delivery.

Servientrega Courier Service

DHL, FedEx and UPS do not offer home delivery in Ecuador so you’ll need to use a service called Servientrega for home delivery. This is the most popular courier service in Ecuador that’s used by banks and businesses to deliver documents and packages.

When our Toy Poodle left us, the vet took her remains to Guayaquil for cremation. The crematorium in Guayaquil shipped her ashes back to us in Olón via Servientrega. Since we didn’t have an exact address in Olón, the delivery driver messaged us when he arrived at the park in the center of town and we walked up to meet him.

Exact addresses are uncommon in Ecuador, and most streets don’t have signs, so home delivery is quite challenging. You’ll need to provide detailed directions to your home with the nearest cross streets, and even then, you’ll likely get a call from the driver asking where you live and you’ll need to go out and meet him on the street.

Couriers will not leave packages outside your gate or door so you’ll need to be home in order to receive delivery. Or you can go to the nearest office to retrieve your package.

In Manta, our address was the neighborhood where we lived plus the condo building name. Amelia ordered some beauty products from a store in Guayaquil and the package was successfully delivered to the guard desk about 3 days later. Shipping was included in the purchase price so we don’t know what the cost was.

We haven’t directly paid to mail any packages using Servientrega, but we’ve heard documents cost between $1 and $3, while package cost is based on size, weight and distance.

Final Thoughts

Mail service in Ecuador has a long way to go before it’s anything like the U.S. Postal Service or the home delivery offered by UPS and other parcel services.

The entire country would need to adopt a universal addressing system, as well as install street signs in standard formats and locations so they’re easy to see. Since this would be a costly and massive undertaking, we don’t expect home delivery outside the major cities to improve anytime soon.

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I grew up in the Chicagoland area and spent most of my career working as a sales rep in the commercial lighting industry. I still work online for a company in Denver doing sales CRM administration. YouTube is my part-time gig, but I'm so happy we can share our Unconventional Life and hopefully inspire you live yours!

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