Safety Tips for Travel in Ecuador
Large cities around the world always have a bit a crime, and the cities in Ecuador are no different. Guayaquil, the capital, is definitely more dangerous than Quito, which is probably the most popular expat destination in Ecuador, and Cuenca, a spot growing in popularity, is safer than Cuenca! The authorities are starting to do a better job in certain districts to provide a bit more safety, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t become a target for petty crime.
- Don’t walk at night alone, and avoid badly lit areas.
- Be suspicious of anyone who comes extremely close to you. (Personal space is less important in Ecuador, but don’t let your guard down – pickpockets abound!
- Whenever you are sitting at a coffee shop, internet cafe, or restaurant make sure to keep your personal belongings on your lap or right next to you.
- If you are carrying a backpack, carry it in front.
- I know it sounds silly, but don’t take candy from strangers!
- If you need to use the ATM, make sure you do it in the day, and also use caution.
- Leave valuable travel documents and items in the safety deposit box at the hotel.
- Don’t take accomodations from strangers without checking them out with a local travel agency.
- Get your travel information from an authorized source.
- Don’t visit any town plaza (square or park) too late at night.
- Don’t let your guard down at the airport.
- Be careful not to invite any strangers back to your room.
Most of these are common sense items, and the likelihood that something will happen to you on vacation is not high. However, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
Ecuador is a great place to live, and the crime should not scare you off from coming here. There are plenty of places where I would say it is even safer than the States; cities where neighbors still look out for each other, whether there is a neighborhood watch program of not!
The Office of Tourism Public Prosecutor is there to offer judicial safety to tourists and other visitors for free. Hours are Monday to Friday, 8 – 12 pm and 2 – 6 pm. In Quito call 02 2905–053 for more information.