Adventure gear in Ecuador. Where to go and how the industry evolved
About 10 years ago when I started rock climbing, there was one big store for climbing gear with 2 or 3 offices in Quito, and a couple of travel agencies that were used to sell climbing gear as well. The big store was used to have gear that would expire in the shop windows, because -since it was somehow a monopoly- the prices were absurdly high. In the smaller places, you knew that they would import a dozen of harnesses or a batch of climbing shoes, and you had to pay a “reservation” a couple of months beforehand. Climbing guides were lucky because sometimes their clients would sell their gear or just give the guides as a gift.
Things had changed. Nowadays in Quito you have a wide variety of gear shops such as Monodedo, Mele Sports, Tatoo, Lippi, and the traditional chain “Equipos Cotopaxi“, each of them has a certain variety of brands. There are some other smaller shops, that are usually resellers where sometimes you find interensting stuff as well.
Because of the competition among these stores, and also the fact that there are official dealers of certain brands -like petzl-, the prices are lower than they were years ago. But some stuff -specially clothing and shoes- are still expensive compared to the prices in the US (I wouldn’t say Europe because of the euro). And that is why I still buy most of my gear in the internet, ship to a friend’s address in the US, ask him to keep my gear at his place until a friend comes to Ecuador. It is funny, sometimes I buy something on sale, but I have to wait almost 2 months until I have it in my hands.