How Safe Is Ecuador for Travel?

Ecuador
Safety Index:
55

Ecuador FlagEcuador : Safety by City

Ecuador is a country located in Northwestern South America, sharing its borders with Colombia, to the northeast, and Peru, to the south and east.

It also has a Pacific Ocean coastline which makes it especially interesting for summer lovers, but that’s not the main reason people visit this country in South America.

Its reputation is that of one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with one hundred different types of hummingbirds and thousands of orchid varieties.

There are plenty of reserves and national parks such as Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve, Mindo and San Luis de Pambil where you can spot many types of flora and fauna.

And don’t forget the Galapagos Islands, worldly famous for their wildlife.

But it’s not just jaw-dropping flaura and fauna that this country boasts.

There’s the world’s highest active volcano Cotopaxi and a number of cities and sites in Ecuador that are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the aforementioned Galapagos Islands, and the city of Cuenca.

Ecuador is a place for the real nature loving tourist, and a paradise for visitors trying to immerse themselves in breathtaking beaches like Salinas, Bahia de Caraquez, Manta, Crucita, San Jacinto, and San Clemente.

Warnings & Dangers in Ecuador

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Ecuador is somewhat safe to visit, though it has many dangers. You should be aware that tourist hotspots, restaurants, shops and public transportation are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists on the streets, too.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Transportation is not very safe or reliable. There have been robberies in public transport operating in Quito, Riobamba, and Baños. Most of these robberies take place at night and on interstate buses. Be wary of unlicensed taxis since you might get kidnapped and robbed. You'll know the official cab by the orange license plates or white plates with an orange strip on the top and video cameras inside.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

As for pickpocketing and bag snatching, it is a recurring concern on the streets of Ecuador, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. There are pickpockets on motorcycles passing by and snatching everything they can from your car, so keep your car windows up.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

During the rainy season lasting from December to May, you can expect common flooding and tsunamis. Apart from that volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are to be expected.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Though other South American countries are known for getting stabbed, mugged or kidnapped on the streets, the most common form of crime is petty theft and the weapons criminals use are mostly only there to scare you. However, there are kidnappings in taxis where the robbers keep you hostage until they take everything from you and make you withdraw all your money from the nearest ATM, so be very careful.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

The risks of terrorist attacks in Ecuador are low, but since they shouldn't be ruled out, it is important that you remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in almost any countries, there is a great risk of getting scammed. Always check everything twice and negotiate everything in advance. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Many women have traveled to Ecuador and haven't had any problems at all. However, this country isn't the safest in terms of females traveling solo, especially at night and you should exercise precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations

So... How Safe Is Ecuador Really?

Ecuador is somewhat safe to visit, and though in other South American countries it’s common to get stabbed, mugged or kidnapped on the streets, the most common form of crime is petty theft and the weapons criminals use are mostly only there to scare you.

Since Ecuador is a relatively poor nation, flashing cell phones, laptops, portable music players, cameras or cash is highly dangerous.

Keep in mind that taxi robbery is a danger in Quito, Guayaquil, Manta, Machala, Playas, and other coastal towns.

Typically, a tourist boards a taxi where the driver is the accomplice, and the criminals hop into the cab right after the victim, robbing, assaulting and keeping the victim hostage.

In some cases, they take you to the nearest ATM and force you to withdraw everything from your bank account.

Apart from the pickpockets, muggers and scammers, you should bear in mind that the biggest crooks in this country are the seemingly friendly experts who “just want to help you”, by telling you that they can get you a great deal on the Galapagos islands cruise, and then charge an astronomically high fee compared to the real cost of the cruise.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries do not need a visa to enter Ecuador, for any stays shorter than 90 days. Make sure your passport is valid for six months beyond your arrival date. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - United States dollar is the official currency in Ecuador, though Ecuadorian centavo coins are also regularly used. Even though all bigger towns have ATMs, don’t rely on them and always carry some cash with you, especially if you plan on traveling to rural areas.
  • Weather - The climate in is made up of a number of distinct micro climates. The weather on the coastlines is affected by ocean currents and between January and April, it is hot and rainy. The weather in Quito, the capital, has a fairly constant cool climate, due to its elevation and proximity to the equator.
  • Airports - Mariscal Sucre International Airport is the busiest airport in Ecuador and, at the same time, one of the busiest airports in entire South America. It is located in the Tababela parish, about 18 km east of Quito.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Ecuador, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Ecuador Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 14° C
Feb 15° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 15° C
May 14° C
Jun 14° C
Jul 14° C
Aug 15° C
Sep 15° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 14° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
191919191919192020201919
Low
°C
91091099899999
High
°F
666666666666666868686666
Low
°F
485048504848464848484848

Where to Next?

40 Reviews on Ecuador

  1. W
    William says:

    So-so place

    It’s not a good thing to have to look at real taxis to make sure you won’t be kidnapped. Not good at all. Nothing bad happened but the tension is in the air. Was here on a business trip and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good either.

    1. O
      Omar James says:

      guayaquil is safer than Miami

      its a lot safer than any big city in America, and if your black you don’t have to worry about getting shot by the police….its not like LA or NYC MIA or Houston is a safe haven…you are 100 % safer in Guayaquil than LA or Miami, Houston or Chicago

      1. L
        Lyle Paulson says:

        “if your black” should be corrected to “if you’re black”

      2. T
        Traveler92 says:

        Miami, LA, Houston and NYC. You just named the places in the US with the highest Latin American/Latino/Latina population LOL. And you added Chicago at the end which has a high black population with a lot of black-on-black crime. I’m not sure if that’s really helping your argument that Ecuador, in Latin America, is no safer than other Latin American places in the US?

        If you’re careful and don’t stand out, you can be okay in Ecuador. If you’re very tall and blonde etc, you’ll stand out as a foreigner so probably will be a bigger target, but keep your wits about you. There is that tension as the OP said, but depending where you are, there can be safer and less safer places.

    2. O
      Omar James says:

      guayaquil is safer than Miami

      its a lot safer than any big city in America, and if your black you don’t have to worry about getting shot by the police….its not like LA , NYC , MIA or Houston is a safe haven…you are 100 % safer in Guayaquil than LA, Miami, Houston or Chicago
      I hate it when you people visit other countries and write that crap…your from America the biggest Banana Republic there is run by a Putin wannabe…you can get rip off anywhere and the taxis are no worse than in the USA

      1. p
        pedro rodriguez says:

        russian hoax is just that.. only communists would believe it….
        many agents have been fired or removed but the geniuses will believe anything because
        marxists are like that.

      2. R
        Roberta says:

        I agree with you Omar I spent 2 years in Ecuador and loved every moment Came back for family reasons and still communicate with friends there. Been back in USA for 7 years now and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I was still there
        The people are wonderful – we lived in coastal areas for awhile then moved to a remote village in the mountains – best neighbors ever in both areas
        I would go back in a flash – however my mom is 94 soon to be 95 and not in the best of shape so I am here and will be here until she goes to be with the Lord
        The cites there are just like here – not a place for a late night stroll.

      3. T
        Traveler92 says:

        Um… Miami? Um… LOL… is that really the comparison? Yeah don’t talk badly about Ecuador or any Latino/Latina country as being unsafe. Those baseball hat wearing, hot dog eating, Mayflower descendant yankees in… Miami… act very similarly… um hahahaha okay well thank you for that.

    3. J
      J'en ai assez says:

      More “whites” are shot by the police by the way, it’s just not reported on. Comply and you
      won’t die as the saying goes. Check the Gov. stats.

      1. A
        Alek Zayas-Dorchak (9 to 5 Voyager) says:

        Okay I know this is a travel forum and not a state of race relation in the US forum but I will jump on what you just said. More white people may be killed but there’s also way more white people. Black people are killed by cops at *much higher rates,* look it up. And they get killed for much more trivial reasons (look up Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter, for example. How are you going to tell me that the police didn’t fill him with lead on the spot? But a black man selling untaxed cigarettes gets put in a chokehold. C’mon). Alright, I’ve said what I needed to say.
        TL’DR: More whites get killed but a much larger percentage of black people are killed by cops.

        1. F
          FactMan says:

          Alex Zayas-Dorchak that’s not true though. More white people are killed in raw numbers, but ALSO as a percentage when you divide by interactions with police, or rates of violent crimes. You can’t divide by the overall population. Black people in the US may be 12% or so, but if they are committing more than half the violent crimes, and have the highest rate of interactions with police per capita, then you have to divide by that. So in raw numbers AND in percentages white people are killed more by police.

          1. W
            Where is Common Sense? says:

            No matter what white folks and some of the confused Latin people in the U.S. will justify the unjustifiable. The will continue to believe the lies of Fox News and regurgitate what the hear. You can not even argue facts anymore and common sense is no where to be found. These are sad days. FactMan, Alek and who ever is reading this…historically the black family for generations has been harassed and jailed for frivolous reason, while white folks have been committing heinous crimes for centuries against blacks, whites and other nationalities with impunity. Their crime family and organizations get glorified in the movies and on TV shows. If all the white people where arrested or charged for the crimes they’ve committed including white collar and other acts such murder and rape of this would be a very different nation. Just because whites are arrested doesn’t mean the crimes are being committed by them. Equality and Justice are missing many societies in the U.S.

          2. A
            Antonio Alvarez says:

            Finally! Someone using objective numbers. Thank you!

  2. In a group it’s a very nice experience

    I had the chance to visit Ecuador with a few close family friends and we always stayed in a group so nothing bad happened. We had a good time and we might even repeat the experience in a few years.

    1. Ecuador is safe

      Since violent crime in the US is 68 times greater than in Ecuador, Americans at least, should feel safe traveling in Ecuador. I spent a week there a few years back and never felt one bit of danger. Use common sense and you should be fine.

  3. Very safe

    Been there 4 times and have never had a problem. The place is very safe. Any downtown or inner city in any major US city will be significantly more dangerous than anywhere in Ecuador.

  4. M
    Michelle says:

    God

    I love Ecuador, it’s joyful and safe in some places

  5. M
    Michael - BHM says:

    Safe and Beautiful

    I’ve been on mission trips yearly since the earthquake helping people recover. The country is beautiful and the people are very generous and appreciative.

    I’ve traveled throughout the country and never had any problems. There are bad people everywhere in the world and the nationals I worked with always nudged me in the right direction if I tried to do something risky. I advise you to have a local trusted advisor accompany you.

  6. J
    JR Collard says:

    If your black and Haitian, don't bother.

    A friend of mine is sitting at the airport since yesterday. The airport personnel took all her stuff, luggage, passport, American driver’s license, her green card, cuz she was born in Haiti and is black so she can not enter the country. They took everything except her tablet so at least she can stay connected to the rest of the world. She hasn’t been able to eat, drink or sleep since yesterday. They have had other flights coming back to the U.S. but they won’t allow her to get on any of them until tonight…why? We do not know. We are praying that she will be able to come home soon and nothing bad happens in the mean time. So if you were born in Haiti and are black, don’t expect to do any site seeing except of their airport. God Bless her and any other black person that wants to vacation their.

    1. T
      Tuñaña says:

      Thats not true, it doesn’t matter if you’re black, Im from Ecuador you piece of…

      1. O
        Omar James says:

        most racist country I've ever visited

        well I agree with that Ecuador is not very welcoming to Black people and I’ve been going there twice a year for the past 13 years, and you wouldn’t see any black people working at the airport , Banks or the malls the Bus company MetroVia has hundreds of buses but no black bus drivers…supermarkets no black workers to be fair there is a few black police around and the older people are the most racist people you find anywhere on earth especially the older women…sometimes I do feel sorry for the black people living there…there are no signs up but there are lines in the sand that black people are not allowed to cross….

        1. Damn, I going to move there!

    2. m
      manfred meissner says:

      very safe place

      reply to jr collard what you are telling us is not in anyway correct .the authorities especially at the airport anywhere in Ecuador are very friendly and helpful and upsolutely correct. If you are been held by any authority the first thing done is immediately report you to your country’s embassy or consul. If you are in possession of illigle drugs or protected artifacts/antiques or have broken the law only then will the authority be able to hold you -your passport can only be held/taken by the immigration officers or a judge. I been visiting Ecuador many times and got pic-pocketed only ones in the Quito transit and by talking to the driver with help of just every one the tam was stopped and nobody was to leave until the police arrived and the police did all necessary work to assist me so much to treatment of visitors in Ecuador most anywhere-never did i notice discrimination manfred meissner

  7. Did she make it back to the U.S. ? Sounds like a nightmare. Poor girl. My heart goes out to her.

  8. C
    Christian O. Jordán says:

    The US is much more dangerous than Ecuador. Too many people carries a weapon. Far right people are the worst and they are the 46% of the country.

    1. Yeah we carry weapons to keep criminals like you honest. Also we are more than 46%

      1. R
        Ronald Reagan says:

        your words are amusing Jack! child much?

      2. Hillbilly!

        How gross Jack! You are part of the reason people want to leave the States! Ignorant

        1. Nah it’s the high taxes. I’m an immigrant and am planning on renouncing my US citizenship. There isn’t all the much here anymore. The guns are one of the nice things those.

        2. People are leaving the US too due to the “diversity”. With 1.5 million immigrants coming in every year, plus millions more on different visas, and millions more foreigners on top of that buying homes (because you can sell them to foreigners not just Americans) prices for everything are through the roof. So it’s making it unaffordable. Plus it’s a loss in home/culture/community for a lot of long-time Americans, it’s sad really how people are pushed out. But then you go to a place like Ecuador, and it’s cheaper, and you might still not fit in but there is still (it’s changing sadly too) a homogeneity to the place. I mean I think if someone can make it work in the US if they are American, and that’s their home, that’s the best, but I get how people are being pushed out and that’s sad

  9. A
    Anonymous says:

    Been to Equador great place been to the USA the worst place you ever want to visit. The USA was a great country but now it is the worst in the world, stay away.

  10. D
    Donna H says:

    It has the right stuff plenty, bad stuff little.

    Ecuador is safe for gringo women. I did have a snafu at the airport but it was due to not reading the spanish signs and I walked into the wrong area. Um. That was not fun. Foods great, so fresh, so lacking preservatives. Green, flowers, neat animals, pretty sounds, smells good, clean dirty -farmers hands have dirt on them, fishermen hands have salty water on them, they are all cleaned up for supper, they love their families and often live in multi generational homes, they smile a lot, hard working people. Love a good meal with them. Homes are neat, no American horder sloppiness. Clean even in the homes with dirt floors, which are rare. Intelligent, and social, communicate about fair labor, fair tax, women are not marginalized, European influence hundreds of years ago created gorgeous rchitexture and landscapes. The people are creative. I love it. My daughter loves it. My daughter calls it Hawaii hit Arizona and it got dropped in Malaga Spain.

  11. The hidden jem

    I lived and worked for almost two years in Ecuador…no, let me correct it, I have enjoyed of Ecuador for two years. It is a beautiful country, I traveled around mainly by car , often from Quito to Guayaquil including in the night and never had issues. And the people are great too ! There are some unsafe areas but it is normal to check a bit where you want to go (normal for many European cities as well). If you like hiking, Ecuador it is a paradise , from Cuenca a city with long history and a beautiful colonial style architecture or modern in the new neighborhoods and very safe you can go to Cajas National Park at over 4000m altitude, having well marked pathways or you can go to Ingapirca , Inca ancient ruins.
    Also, you can visit the beautiful Quito from which in about 40 min you can reach 4000m altitude and visit the closest volcano (Rucu Pichincha) or have days trip to Quilotoa crater lake or to visit Chimborazo. If you are in Quito, remember that you have the chance of putting one leg in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern one so visit the Middle of the World city, you won’t regret it.
    On the other hand, Ecuador is not a cheap country either, the prices for accommodation/food/transport are very comparable with European countries or US.

  12. T
    Tom thumb says:

    Itsly

    Stay away. Period. The drugs are coming through there. U don’t wanna be around that. Go to Italy instead. It’s got better food. Accommodations and sights. Lol

  13. Honest

    Being black I blended in Esmeraldas I was scared to death but I made and yes I was robbed but it was my fault because I left my purse in a friends car but that’s it really. Just watch your stuff at all times pack lightly and Keep important stuff at your hotel or in your inside pockets..

  14. C
    Caroline says:

    Research before you go & prevent petty theft, heed local advice, and have a great & safe experience!

    I have a long but informative post for any solo women or men looking to explore Ecuador but wondering about safety.

    I lived in a residential valley outside of Quitó called Sangolquí from August-December 2019, at 20 as a female. In that time, I traveled solo by public bus into the city, used the equovía transit, and traveled by public bus both in the day and at night alone to travel across the country. And yes I did reside in Quitó during the 14 day manifestaciones that halted travel across the entire country and had a curfew instated while the capitol city was changed to Guayaquil and the airports shut down, so I’ve experienced Ecuador at what felt to be very unstable time.

    Short story: it’s a very safe place for people who are smart, and for those who aren’t so street smart but have a little luck. You should speak spanish if you travel alone but if not you will make it by. Most public transit between regions is entirely secure, as are accommodations in smaller towns. In big cities you must heed warnings from locals to stay away from certain areas. I went to Quitó, Riobamba, Salinas, Guayaquil, Montañita, Manabi, Cuenca, Orellana, Tena, Baños, and Cotopaxi solo all by public transit and saw beautiful places, sweet people, ate INCREDIBLE food, and learned a lot. It truly has everything. Volcanoes, beaches, Sierra, Amazon. If you plan your trips ahead and take all heed of warnings you will most likely not run into a single problem.

    My host family explained scams and safety to me, although they recommended a few options to me that I myself do not recommend others trying such as riding the public bus at night (unless it’s an overnight bus ride from one region to another) the equovia/bus station itself in historic Quitó and the equovía at night.

    Living in the outskirts of the city, I felt safe walking through parks, 1 mile to the big mall, through a market alone in the day. I was advised by my host family to walk the mile and a half to the bus stop every day for fresh air. At night, my host sister and I walked together to restaurants. This was not the city itself though, but rather like a neighborhood.

    Spanish is my learned language, Without it I would have been quite lost, as very very few people speak English, but I met many travelers who did fine without it. I traveled to every region except Esmereldas because my embassy said it was a level 4 do not travel.

    I prepared for my trip by reading up on common scams, pick pocket schemes, and strategized worst case scenarios. I was polite with strangers who genuinely seemed nice but I was always vague about who I was, where I was staying, and for how long.

    I say I never was pickpocketed or mugged but there were 2 definite times I escaped it by having awareness of my surroundings. I’d like to note I was in the wrong place for a sola gringa to be in both of those situations and I had been warned of the risk before. I did have a friend robbed at knife point because he walked down a street with headphones on and an iPhone out. I never indulged people in conversation who jumped out at me in the streets.

    Advice from me (the most paranoid traveler who prepares like crazy): Don’t be vulnerable. Prepare for the worst so if it does happen, you will have done everything in your control to be fine. Read up on preventable incidents so you can be prepared before you go. Understand that the less you reveal and the less you carry, the lower your risk is of dealing with anything serious.

    Another note: Uber exists but cannot be counted on outside of Quitó. For all my preparations, I took a few too many risks as a solo traveler such as arriving at bus stations after dark in new cities and having to take the only taxi available even if it wasn’t official because I had anticipated Uber to be available.

    I observed that while many Ecuadorians are carefree with their cell phones and devices, never assuming to be mugged or pick pocketed, it still happens. When a local tells you to have caution in an area, not to mention -extreme caution- just listen to them!

    With the internet, you have all the information you need to be safe in Ecuador from whatever preventable crime that could befall you- and you will absolutely fall in love with the place.

  15. I consider Ecuador not safe

    In one month, I got robbed twice. One pickpocket and once from hostel.
    In most of the cities it is not safe to be alone outside after 10pm.

Rated 4.03 / 5 based on 40 user reviews.

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