2021 Updated Information: Safety tips and advice for traveling Ecuador.
Tourism is one of the main economic sectors in Ecuador, therefore all the touristic zones are active (despite the strikes) and travelers are seizing the opportunity to enjoy the hidden wonders of the country more than ever.
Ecuadorians themselves are as ready as ever to offer visitors the impeccable service and the great warmth that distinguishes them from the rest of the world.
Ecuador is a great place to visit. It’s mountains, volcanoes, beaches, and of course the unforgettable Galapagos Islands. Despite all of the incredible sights and experiences available, it is always important to consider personal safety wherever you go. Because of this, travelers still ask themselves if Ecuador is safe.
After years of experience traveling South America, and taking thousands of tourists around the country we at Ecuador Hop can guarantee that Ecuador is a safe country for tourists.
Like with every country, Ecuador still has a few safety issues to deal with. However, when compared to other countries in the continent the risk you take by traveling in Ecuador is relatively low, particularly in places that are already popular with tourists, and even more so if you choose to travel with Ecuador Hop.
As an example, the northern zone of the country which borders Colombia has serious issues with drug trafficking and organized crime. This is an area that is avoided by all tourism companies and there’s no reason why you should encounter any trouble here. As mentioned, we recommend you to stick to the more popular tourist routes.
In the capital city, Quito, there are several places that are best avoided, such as park La Carolina or El Ejido and the districts La Mariscal, and La Marín. Other potentially sensitive areas are the surroundings of El Panecillo hill (at the top of which you will find a statue of the Madonna). If you want to visit the statue then it’s best to go with a taxi or with a tour, never on foot as even though there are police stationed on the hill, robbers are known to wait. Remember, Ecuador is safe if you take the right precautions.
In the case of Guayaquil, the largest city of Ecuador, you should be very careful in the districts of Kennedy, Alborada, Urdesa and Malecón Simón Bolívar. Not because these are dangerous zones, but they are very crowded and you should pay close attention to your belongings at all times.
Other important areas to be aware of in terms of safety are bus stations, where thieves and muggers are known to wait for opportunities. Avoid traveling with unsafe or unreliable transportation services and try not to be in stations late at night. Be aware that many bus companies overwork and underpay their drivers, which can make crashes more likely. Try to book only with reputable companies such as Ecuador Hop, as we avoid areas such as this completely.
At Ecuador Hop, safety is our major concern. Not only can you enjoy the peace of mind of GPS tracking on our buses, but you can also rest easy knowing that we have worked hard to ensure that you are not left alone in unsafe bus terminals at anti-social hours.
We do this by offering a hotel and hostel drop off and pickups in almost all locations. You are also accompanied by a local bilingual guide for all of your journeys. We ensure that our drivers change every five hours, and don’t impose unrealistic time limits on them, meaning that you arrive at your destination safely.
If you keep within the established tourist routes then you are far less likely to become a victim of criminal activity. This advice is specifically in reference to the touristic zones of the main cities like Quito and Guayaquil. On the Galapagos Islands, there are no reports of trouble with citizens’ or travelers’ safety.
While you are in Quito and Guayaquil make sure to only use taxis that are registered with the municipality. You can recognize these cars because of their white and orange plates and their identification numbers engraved on the doors and windows. These taxis also have cameras inside to help prevent crime.
Other incredible, and safe, places to visit in Ecuador are Baños and Cuenca, two cities with impressive tourist attractions and a window into Ecuadorian culture. In these two cities, you’ll be able to explore Ecuador safely without the risks associated with larger cities. You can access all of these places and more using Ecuador Hop.
In Cuenca all taxis use a taximeter and have a strict radio system which is monitored. While in Baños crime is very low and the reports of crimes against tourists are even less.
Montañita is a beach town that is full of foreigners who are eager to have fun. The town itself is full of good vibes, thanks to it being a hot spot for surfing. However, you must pay attention to your belongings and to other risks associated with the permanent parties and backpacker culture that is synonymous with Montañita. Always be attentive to your possessions and don’t lose sight of your drinks in clubs.
Robberies on public transport in Ecuador have increased, especially on night trips and in unregistered taxis. When you travel around Ecuador, make sure to use only responsible and reliable bus companies who take precautions with your safety, from obeying the speed limit to not making risky or unscheduled stops while traveling. The only company with a 100% safety record in Ecuador is Ecuador Hop.
At Ecuador Hop, we make sure that our passenger’s experience is safe. Our buses are monitored by GPS, ensuring that there are no unauthorized stops and that the buses never go over the speed limit.
Our drivers also change shifts every five hours to avoid fatigue. They are rewarded for their good driving, not for arriving faster at the expense of being reckless in the road. That’s why we can say with certainty that it is safe to travel to Ecuador with Ecuador Hop.
Let common sense be your guide: for example, walking alone at night is not a good idea in most parts of the world. That’s why we made a list of tips for you to ensure a trip without troubles.
Remember that Ecuador, like most of South America, has seismic zones and is susceptible to tsunamis and has active volcanoes. In the case of any natural disaster, follow the instructions of the authorities to keep yourself safe.
The weather in Ecuador is changeable and, at times, unpredictable. This is particularly true in the rainy season, which runs from December to May. Have this in mind and prepare yourself if you are traveling during these months.
In Ecuador, you can expect a much higher standard of safety in comparison to other countries in Latin America. However, it is still expected that you remain aware of your surroundings, keep your personal belongings with you at all times, and follow safety advice and recommendations from guides and locals alike. Despite this, Ecuador is a safe country and a great opportunity to get a taste of the real Latin America.