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Ambato is a small city in Ecuador, home to some 200,000 people, but with a very metropolitan feel to it. The city is a market town in its own right. The city explodes on Monday which is market day where the businessmen from the high rises walk the streets with the indigenous folk from the country. Ambato is a perfect city for those looking to escape the tourist trail. Walking around these streets is a blast and you'll never run into another gringo. Carnival is a huge deal which is celebrated by the festival of the fruits and flowers.
See also International Telephone Calls
The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops.
Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!
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