The lush cloud forests and rain forests for which Ecuador is famous means that your camera gear will be exposed to high humidity. During relatively short tour visits, we’ve never had problems with our gear here in Ecuador and neither have our clients. Humidity is not a reason to miss the rainforest environment. Nonetheless, a three-pronged strategy will help avoid damage to your gear and allow you to concentrate on your photography.
First, pack your gear well in water repellant camera bags. Fungal growth is not critical on short stays in the tropics, but it is cheap insurance to use desiccation units to minimize the conditions for fungus growth. Those little crystal packets that come with cameras and lenses do very little. They have no indicator to tell you when they are saturated and require an oven to “recharge” them. Consider the smaller version of the new “plug-in” units made by EVA. Keep one in your camera case during the night, then leave it plugged into a wall outlet during the day while you’re photographing. Whenever possible, pack each piece of gear into ziploc bags to avoid condensation that might occur when you take your equipment from cooler or air-conditioned indoor settings to the outdoors.
Second, try to avoid actually getting your gear wet. We try to send our photo clients to lodges with covered shooting areas but these are not always available. A good rain cover for your camera and/or a small umbrella can be very useful. Rain showers can come down suddenly when you are out with your camera. Along with a mini-umbrella, it’s good to have a couple large trash bags stored in your camera bag. We like the all-weather camera bags offered by Lowe Pro and Think Tank.
Links for the aforementioned gear which protects your gear from the elements can be found on our Resources for Nature Photographers page. If we experience a rainy day, you may want to have a compact folding travel hair dryer to blow over your equipment when you return to the lodge (using the “no heat” setting). Our wilderness lodges do not provide hair dryers in the rooms.