Ecuador

Ecuador

Use High Level of Caution
Avoid Travel to the following provinces: Esmeraldas, Zamora Chinchipe, Morona Santiago, El Oro, Carchi, and Sucumbios

The Republic of Ecuador is located in western South America between Colombia and Peru, and borders the Pacific Ocean at the Equator. The Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean are also part of Ecuador, about 1000 kilometres west of the mainland. Ecuador's population is about 15 million.

The government of Ecuador is a republic with a president as chief of state and head of government.

Ecuador is known for incredible diversity with Amazon rainforest, the Andes Mountains, volcanos, cloud forests, and the Pacific coastline. Ecuador was the first country to include legislation in its constitution to protect the ecology. The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Currency USD: US dollar
Language Spanish. Some Amerindian languages also spoken.
Capital Quito
Recent Alerts 6
Latest Alert November 30, 2019 - Malaria in Ecuador

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Ecuador. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands through contaminated food or water. 

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. The risk is higher when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever

There is a risk of yellow fever transmission.

Malaria

High risk areas for malaria in Ecuador include all areas at altitudes less than 1,500 meters (4,921 ft). There is no malaria in the cities of Guayaquil, Quito, and the Galápagos Islands. In 2016, the four provinces with the highest number of malaria cases were Morona Santiago, Pastaza, Orellana, and Esmeraldas.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks occur in tropical and semi-tropical areas of Ecuador.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a public health problem in rural areas in 23 out of the 24 provinces in Ecuador, especially in the regions of Costa, Sierra, and Oriente.

Chagas Disease

American trypanosomiasis (“Chagas disease”) can occur in rural Ecuador. The risk of travellers acquiring this disease is low unless staying in very poor quality housing or camping.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in this country. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Ecuador.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

This country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Brazil, including travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Brazil. Travellers in transit in Ecuador are exempt. However, the vaccination is recommended for all travellers aged 9 months or over going to the following provinces east of the Andes at altitudes below 2300 meters: Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios and Zamora-Chinchipe. The vaccination is generally not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to the following provinces west of the Andes and at altitudes below 2300 meters: Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Rios, Santa Helena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas and designated areas of Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha and Tungurahua. The vaccination is not recommended for travellers whose itineraries are limited to all areas above 2300 meters altitude, the cities of Guayaquil and Quito, and the Galápagos Islands.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Ecuador.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Except for the cities of Guayaquil and Quito and the Galápagos Islands, there is a risk of exposure to malaria at elevations less than 1,500 meters (4,921 ft). Recommended anti-malaria medication includes atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anti-malaria drug resistance for chloroquine is present.

Safety and Security in Ecuador

Emergency Numbers

911
+593-2-254-3983 Tourist police

Personal Safety

Petty crime and violent crime are common in urban areas, especially busy transportation hubs. Criminals sometimes target stopped cars in traffic for carjackings. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, keep valuables out of sight, and avoid showing signs of affluence, such as expensive clothes or jewellery. Ensure your travel documents are secured at all times, and carry photocopies of your identification documents with you. Avoid carrying large sums of money. Avoid walking on deserted beaches. Only use reputable radio taxi companies, as taxi drivers have been involved in kidnappings.

Travellers should be wary when their credit cards are being handled by others during payment, particularly in restaurants and bars, as credit card fraud is increasing in Ecuador. Ensure that the automatic banking machine you use has not been modified by criminals.

Travellers, particularly women, should avoid walking alone and walking at night. Sexual assaults against female tourists have been reported throughout the country. Travel in groups and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Never accept food or drink from strangers or new acquaintances and do not leave your food or drink unattended.

Due to its location, Ecuador is at risk for earthquakes. Ecuador is also at risk of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. In case of a natural disaster, always follow the evacuation procedures of local authorities.

Always carry a copy of your passport and visa.

The incidence of road accidents is high in Ecuador. Road travel may be dangerous due to poor road conditions, poor vehicle maintenance, debris on roadways, and reckless driving. Exercise extreme caution in rural areas where roads may be unpaved and unlit at night. Avoid travelling after dark; robberies and car-jackings may occur. Heavy rainfall may washout roads and cause severe travel disruptions.

Exercise extreme caution when participating in outdoor adventure activities as safety standards may not be adequate. Also exercise caution when swimming as currents may be strong and unpredictable. If hiking in Ecuador, exercise caution due to the rapidly changing climate. Don't stray from hiking trails and always travel with a guide or group. Always wear proper clothing; warm, waterproof clothing is necessary, even on a clear day.

Be aware that the use of traditional hallucinogens (known as Ayahuasca or San Pedro) are marketed to travellers as 'spiritual cleansings' and have lead to serious illness or death. Exercise caution.

Exercise caution in the coastal waters of Ecuador as piracy has been reported.

LGBTI travellers should note that although same-sex sexual relations are legal in Ecuador, same-sex marriage is prohibited and local attitudes may not welcome same-sex open displays of affection.

Areas To Avoid

Travellers to Ecuador should avoid travel to the regions bordering Colombia - Esmeraldas, Carchi, Sucumbios - due to the risk of violence from organized crime, drug trafficking, demonstrations, kidnapping, armed assaults, and extortion.

Travellers should also avoid travel to the provinces of Zamora-Chinchipe, Morona-Santiago and El Oro due to the unpredictable safety and security situation and the presence of landmines.

Do not travel to the El Panecillo hill by foot, do so only by vehicle with a reliable tour group.

Political Unrest

Always avoid demonstrations as they can become violent without warning. In Ecuador, foreigners are prohibited from participating in demonstrations and can be arrested for doing so.

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