Ecuador is one the most beautiful countries in South America, with breathtaking views and alluring natural beauty, including lush green mountains and evergreen forests, including the world-famous Amazon forest.
But after all this beauty, a most asked question has been asked worldwide: is it safe to visit Ecuador or not?
It would be unfair to say it’s a completely unsafe place because the country has taken safety precautions. However, the law and order situation in Ecuador makes this place somewhat unsafe for tourists. The high crime rate in this region is the most fundamental reason that it is the most avoidant location.
In this guide we will tell you about the places you should visit and the places you should avoid. Besides that, we will also guide you about the safety precautions you should take before visiting Ecuador.
Why is it Unsafe to Visit Ecuador?
For people who are thinking to visit Ecuador this time, it is important to first grab why this place is a bit unsafe for tourists. Below are the prominent reasons:
Political Situation and Civil Unrest
The political situation in Ecuador is highly unstable. Due to protests, the political conditions have been disturbed. Such incidents badly affect travelers as they are unaware of the local issues.
The occurrence of civil unrest is also very common in Ecuador. Most of the demonstrations turn into violence and being a visitor, you must avoid such problems. Stay updated through social media to avoid problems.
One of the reasons for the rapid increase in crimes in Ecuador is a very low ratio of arrests and a high percentage of crimes. You might experience one or more of the following crimes in Ecuador.
Violent crimes including life-taking crimes are a usual thing in Ecuador. Armed robberies are an example of violent crimes in hiking trails, public parks and downtown areas. Thus, it is better to go out with locals who are well aware of the surroundings.
Snatching purses, pickpocketing and breaking into someone’s car etc. in Ecuador happen in the form of teams. One of the members distracts the victim while others do the remaining work.
Robberies in public transport are a crime that often happens in Ecuador, where drivers make illegal stops to pick up passengers. However, the government has installed a GPS to track the location of the buses and improve security systems.
Kidnapping is a big concern in Ecuador in terms of crimes. Kidnappers usually force the victim to withdraw the funds to pay the ransom. Visitors and tourists are more susceptible to these kinds of crimes.
Scams and Fraud
Fraud with atm cards is commonly used by sneaky people in Ecuador. To avoid fraud, keep an eye on the person handling your atm card, hide your keypad when entering the code, and look for any unauthorized transactions.
Heavy rainfall, resulting in landslides, is a major climate issue in Ecuador, especially in mountainous areas. Due to being located in a seismic area, Ecuador faces earthquakes often. When an earthquake strikes along the Pacific coastline, there is a high chance of tsunami occurrence. However, the authorities have maintained the warning system by using sirens when a tsunami approaches the populated areas.
Volcano eruption is another dangerous disaster in Ecuador. Few of the volcanoes have erupted in the past, and the rest can be ejected at any time without any warning.
Places to Avoid in Ecuador
Areas in Quito
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is known for petty crimes such as pickpocketing, robberies, and theft. Avoid visiting nearby places such as La Tola, La Marin, San Roque, La Ferroviaria, La Michelina, Lucha de Los Pobres, Solanda, Inaquito and Chillogallo. Although the city is beautiful, you should keep your eye open during your stay there.
Areas in Guayaquil
Although the city is safe, the neighborhood is still dangerous. The poorer the area will be, the more chances of getting robbed. Stay alert when traveling there, especially on public transport.
The murder rate has increased as compared to the past year in this region. Besides life-threatening crimes, criminals do not think twice about being violent to anyone coming in their way. Avoid Esmeraldas for a safe trip in Ecuador.
Safest Places in Ecuador
Below are the most-liked and some of the safest places to visit in Ecuador:
While the answer to “Is it safe to visit Ecuador?” is not entirely yes, Galapagos is one of the safest areas. The only thing which can be harmful on the island is the sun. Other than that, everything on the island is safe. There are no crimes and any sort of country warnings there. However, it is an expensive place. But the best choice if you want to spend your time in the country without walking on eggshells.
A great mountain alongside beautiful hotels is one of the safest places in Ecuador. The must-watch activity to see at the place is the volcanic eruption.
Montanita is lively, especially for those who want to make their trip memorable. It is a vigorous spot for adventurous people who love to surf in the daytime and want to have the best nights of their life by enjoying the nightlife of Montanita. It is also a great place for people who enjoy socializing and meeting people from different backgrounds.
As part of the UNESCO world heritage site, Cuenca is one of the safest places in Ecuador. It is known for its scenic views and captivating festivals. If you want to see more beautiful scenery and have fun activities, visit a nearby place called Banos. It has a variety of fun activities and a bundle of scenic views, including eye-catching green mountains.
Safety Tips to Consider Before Traveling to Ecuador
- As there is a threat of earthquakes in Ecuador, it is suggested to download an earthquake app to let you know when there is an earthquake incoming
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry to avoid attracting snatchers. The best bet is to not wear gold or diamond in Ecuador at all.
- Don’t over-show yourself as a tourist. Tourists are the target of criminals in Ecuador; try to blend in with the public.
- Carry the cash you need and avoid taking all cash you have with you. Taking little money will save you from big losses in any mishap.
- Keep your belongings and purse/wallet close to you when roaming around. The place is notorious for pickpockets and their incredible skills.
- If you want to call someone, head to a nearby shopping mall, cafe, restaurant or any safe place from where you can contact without fearing your mobile being snatched.
- Don’t roam around the country alone, especially in the forest and hiking areas like El Panecillo, where sneaky people are wandering around. Have a trustable tour guide who will guide you honestly.
- Being a foreigner, stay away from drugs because over 90% of foreigners involved in drug-related crimes are in jail.
- Don’t travel at night. Traveling around at night means giving an open invitation to snatchers or sneaky people.
- If you come in contact with criminals, hand over whatever they are asking for. They are untrustworthy as they won’t take time to kill someone.
- Never take an offer to smoke a cigarette from a stranger. Because you never know, it can also be a drug, and being a foreigner using drugs in Ecuador can end up in prison.
- Before visiting, get yourself vaccinated. Yellow Fever is widespread in the region and you might get it.
The Bottom Line
Most people visiting Ecuador for the first time must have heard about safety concerns in the region and their first question is, “Is it safe to visit Ecuador?” Ecuador is not the safest country to visit, especially with family due to high crime rates and the unstable political situation. Criminals in the region do not think twice before killing for crimes. However, you must take precautions when visiting Ecuador by staying in safe areas, avoiding expensive jewelry, keeping minimal cash, and taking a trusted local guide.
Is Ecuador a safe place to live in?
Ecuador is a safe place to live as long as you are not living in the city of Guayaquil and away from the Colombian border. It is advised to choose an area with more foreigners so you can have community support. Also, ask the locals for better insight into unsafe areas.
Is Ecuador safe for families?
Ecuador is a safe place for families as the people of Ecuador welcome family travelers with open arms. However, there are some safety precautions that you should take, such as making your children stay away from wild animals as they carry diseases with them and don’t go to high altitudes. Also, keep the high crime rate in mind when traveling with your family.
Is Ecuador safe for female travelers?
Female travelers can face a number of bad experiences during their visit to Ecuador, such as catcalling, vulgar comments, etc. But this does not happen to foreign female travelers only. Rather it also happens with local women. However, you can still enjoy your trip by avoiding traveling at night and visiting places with risk.
Is Ecuador safe for solo traveling?
Traveling and exploring a place solo is an adventure. But it can also be dangerous depending on the place. In Ecuador, solo traveling is highly not recommended due to the number of crimes there.
Is Ecuador safe for American tourists?
It can be a safe place for the people who visit Ecuador often, as they know the insights into the area, what precautions to take, and how to deal with the problems there. So if you visit the place often and have a local tour guide with you, you will enjoy your time there.
Diana was an active fitness model in the past. She has had numerous shoots done at different locations and found out that her true interest was in exploring the world! Later on, this passion motivated her to write multiple tarvel blogs about whatever place she visited and discovered, and here it is! Enjoy reading a variety of blogs by Diana to get a lively experience of several places.