Is Ecuador Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Ecuador’s safety for travelers can vary depending on the region and the precautions taken as it has areas with high crime rates.

Anticipating a surge in criminal activity across the country, the Ecuadorian President issued a 60-day state of emergency (SOE) on January 8, 2024, in response to multiple prison riots and the escape of gang leaders. There is a daily curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. under this new SOE.

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February 2, 2024 – U.S. Warns Against Traveling to Another Area in Ecuador

On February 2nd, the U.S. Department of State updated its travel advisory for Ecuador with information about the current state of emergency and crime happening in the province of Guayas.

“DO NOT TRAVEL to The canton of Duran, in the province of Guayas, due to crime”, says the advisory.


January 24 – Security Alert: Changes to the Peru-Ecuador land border crossing

A 60-day state of emergency was declared by the Ecuadorian government on January 8 in response to attacks by organized crime gangs and internal armed conflict.  

Concurrently, the Interior Ministry of Ecuador declared modifications to the documentation needed by foreign nationals traveling from Peru and Colombia to Ecuador via land.  

All foreign nationals entering Ecuador through land border crossings with Peru or Colombia during the state of emergency must produce an apostilled certificate from their home country, or if they are living overseas, their country of residency for the previous five years, attesting to their lack of criminal records.  These rules do not currently apply to passengers by air.

Areas to Avoid in Ecuador


Reconsider travel to:

  • Guayaquil north of Portete de Tarquí Avenue due to crime.
  • El Oro province outside the cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas, due to crime.
  • Los Rios province outside the cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo, due to crime.
  • All areas south of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.
  • The provinces of Sucumbíos, Manabí, Santa Elena, and Santo Domingo due to crime.

Do not travel to:

  • Guayaquil, south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue, due to crime.
  • The cities of Huaquillas and Arenillas in the province of El Oro, due to crime.
  • The cities of Quevedo, Quinsaloma, and Pueblo Viejo in the province of Los Rios, due to crime.
  • Esmeraldas city and all areas north of Esmeraldas city in Esmeraldas province, due to crime.
  • DO NOT TRAVEL to The canton of Duran, in the province of Guayas, due to crime (added February 22, 2024)

Are the Galapagos Islands Safe to Visit?

The Galapagos Islands are a highly popular tourist destination known for their safety, in contrast to some areas of Ecuador, where crime rates are high. The islands are considered a secure place to visit, with minimal crime.

Official Travel Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory

On January 22, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the country, urging increased caution.

Ecuador has a crime problem. Murder, assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery are examples of violent crimes that are widespread. Where transnational criminal organizations are concentrated, violent crime rates are noticeably higher.

Around the nation, there are frequent protests that are typically sparked by political or economic issues.  Major highways and local roads are frequently blocked by demonstrators, frequently without warning. The length of previous demonstrations has varied; some have lasted for several days or even weeks. Blocked roads have the potential to severely limit access to airports, public transportation, and health services. They can also cause travel delays within and between cities.

Canada Travel Advisory

A nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” was declared by the Ecuadorian government on January 9, 2024, so that security forces could better address a sharp rise in gang violence throughout the nation, including in Guayaquil and Quito. There have been reports of car burnings, small explosions, and attacks on businesses. On January 8, 2024, the Ecuadorian government declared a state of emergency.

There is also a daily nationwide curfew that runs from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. You have to remain inside during the curfew. Travelers can make an exception to get to and from the airport for regularly scheduled commercial flights.

U.K. Travel Advisory

There might be more military and law enforcement officers in the area of important public buildings, bus terminals, airports, and the streets. It is possible for certain public buildings, retail establishments, and popular tourist spots to abruptly close.  Keep an eye on the media in your area and avoid places where there is more security presence.

Always heed the instructions of the police and other security personnel if an incident happens close to you.

Ecuador Launches Its Digital Nomad Visa Program To Attract Remote Workers

Tips for Staying Safe in Ecuador 

  • Upon arrival at Quito or Guayaquil airport, opt for official airport taxis or pre-arrange a meet-and-greet style airport pick-up with a reputable company.
  • Try to schedule arrivals before 10 pm to enhance safety.
  • Pack only essential items for Ecuador, as large and heavy bags can attract unwanted attention.
  • Take a photo of your passport and store it on your cellphone; there’s no need to carry the physical passport with you. Leave it in a secure hotel safe.
  • Avoid displaying your phone openly; instead, take necessary pictures and then stow it away.
  • Refrain from using crowded public transportation, especially in major cities like Quito or Guayaquil.