Ecuador travel advice

Latest updates: Safety and security – updated information on the state of emergency

Last updated: ET

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Risk level

Ecuador - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Ecuador due to high levels of crime.

Border areas - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the area within 20 km of the border with Colombia in the following provinces due to drug trafficking and criminal activty:

  • Carchi (except for the Panamerican Highway which connects to the official border crossing with Colombia at Tulcán/Ipiales)
  • Esmeraldas
  • Sucumbíos

 

Minefields near the southern portion of the border with Peru - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to within 2 km of the border with Peru in the following cantons in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe, due to the presence of landmines and unmarked minefields:

  • Chinchipe
  • El Pangui
  • Nangaritza
  • Yantzaza

 

Esmeraldas province, parts of El Oro, Guayas and Los Ríos provinces
- Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the following areas (except within 20 km of the border with Colombia where we advise against all travel) due to risks of violent crime:

  • the province of Esmeraldas
  • in the province of El Oro:
    • Machala
    • Huaquillas
  • in the province of Guayas:
    • Durán
    • Milagros
    • the following areas of northern Guayaquil:
      • Bastión Popular
      • El Fortín
      • Flor de Bastión
      • La Florida
      • Las Orquídeas
      • Monte Bello
      • Monte Sinaí
      • Mucho Lote
      • Nueva Prosperina
      • Paraíso de la Flor
      • Pascuales
    • the following areas of southern Guayaquil:
      • Esteros
      • Portete
      • Sur
  • in the province of Los Ríos:
    • Babahoyo
    • Quevedo

 

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Safety and security

State of emergency

A state of emergency is in effect in the following provinces and county:

  • El Oro
  • Guayas
  • Los Ríos
  • Manabí
  • Orellana
  • Ponce Enríquez County in Azuay province
  • Santa Elena
  • Sucumbíos

There is no curfew in these areas.

The state of emergency is in response to gang violence. While the state of emergency is in effect, security forces have the power to:

  • enter private homes
  • read private mail and phone records

If you are in Ecuador:

  • expect an increased police and military presence
  • carry your ID at all times
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

State of internal armed conflict

On January 9, 2024, the Government of Ecuador declared a nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” to allow security forces to better respond to a sharp increase in gang violence across the country, including in Guayaquil and Quito. There are reports of small explosions, attacks on businesses, and car burnings.

If you are in Ecuador:

  • expect an increased police and military presence, especially near prisons
  • carry your ID at all times
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Border areas

Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence.

Colombia

Criminal groups are active in the border area with Colombia. Criminal activities include:

  • drug trafficking
  • extortion
  • armed assault
  • kidnapping

Peru

Work to clear landmines in certain areas near the border with Peru is still ongoing. See the Regional Risks, above, for specific locations.

Criminal activity has been reported near the border crossing at Huaquillas, where we advise against non-essential travel. If you do cross the border by land from Peru, do so during daylight hours and ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

Crime

Crime rates are high in Ecuador.

Arrest and detention rates are low and contribute to high levels of criminality. Infiltration within the security forces by local gangs weakens law enforcement even further.

Violent crime

Violent crime is a significant concern throughout Ecuador. Drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and street gang activity is prevalent. Violent incidents include:

  • murders
  • armed robberies
  • kidnappings
  • extortion
  • home invasions
  • sexual assaults
  • car-jacking

These crimes occur even during the day in tourist destinations. Tourists, including Canadians, have been assaulted:

  • in downtown areas
  • on hiking trails
  • at beaches
  • in public parks
  • outside banks

While you're in Ecuador:

  • be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • avoid travelling after dark, and in isolated or deserted areas
  • avoid showing signs of affluence
  • avoid carrying large amounts of cash
  • be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs
  • don’t resist if you’re threatened, hand over your cash and valuables immediately

Tourist police officers are present in major cities, including Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.

Organized crime

Criminal gang activity has increased in recent years, particularly in the coastal provinces of El Oro, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí and Santa Elena. Since late 2022, the use of explosives has increased, especially in coastal provinces. Targets have included small businesses, gas stations, government offices, and bridges.

Organized criminal groups and gangs commit crimes such as targeted killings, express kidnapping, and armed robberies. They generally use knives and guns, and occasionally explosives.

Although tourists are not usually targeted, you may find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught in the crossfire.

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching and car break-ins, occurs daily in major cities.

Thieves often work in teams to divert the victims and snatch their possessions. Groups of street children selling candies are sometimes engaged in this type of team operation.

Thefts commonly occur in:

  • popular tourist areas
  • public transportation, especially city and inter-city buses
  • bus terminals and airports
  • shopping malls
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants, including patios

To avoid becoming a victim:

  • be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • keep a low profile when walking in public areas
  • avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items
  • avoid showing signs of affluence
  • avoid hitchhiking
  • be suspicious of recent acquaintances or strangers approaching you
  • avoid accepting rides or invitations from strangers

Kidnapping

The number of kidnappings, especially express kidnappings, has significantly increased since 2022. Kidnappers mainly target locals, but foreigners have also been targeted. Many victims have been rescued by the police. Some victims are released in exchange for ransom.

While you’re in Ecuador:

  • choose accommodation with good security measures
  • keep your doors and windows locked at all times
  • check your car for suspicious markings after leaving it parked on the street
  • if you're kidnapped, comply with the kidnappers’ demands and don’t resist

Express kidnappings

These kidnappings are often committed by organised gangs, sometimes in collaboration with taxi or rideshare drivers. Kidnappers may take their victims to an ATM and force them to make a cash withdrawal, or else hold their victims for a few days and force them to make online bank transfers before releasing them.

  • Use only reputable taxi companies
  • Avoid hailing taxis on the street
  • Use the security features in rideshare apps
  • If you’re threatened, don’t resist

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud may occur. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Extortion

Police officers sometimes try to extort drivers by threatening detention or confiscating identity documents.

If police threaten you with a fine:

  • remain calm and courteous but firm
  • show original documents but keep them in your possession
  • try to cooperate by following the instructions of police to avoid escalation
  • ask for a clear explanation of the offence and a written fine that can be paid at a police station
  • don’t pay a bribe to anyone
  • call 911 to report the incident to the National Police

National Police – Ecuador (in Spanish)

Demonstrations 

Demonstrations occur frequently.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Ecuadorian law prohibits political activities by foreigners. You may face detention if you take part in demonstrations or political activities.

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Women's safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Incidents of attacks and sexual assault against foreign women, including rape and murder, have been reported throughout the country, particularly in tourist areas. Even women travelling in pairs have been targeted.

  • Choose accommodation with good security measures
  • Be suspicious of recent acquaintances or strangers approaching you
  • Avoid hospitality exchange arrangements, such as couch-surfing
  • Avoid accepting rides or invitations from strangers

Useful links

Spiked food and drinks

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery. Incidents can occur in various locations, including buses, nightclubs and bars.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers

Scopolamine

Scopolamine is a drug that temporarily incapacitates unsuspecting victims, who become disoriented quickly and are vulnerable to crime.

Thieves may slip the drug into food and drinks, smear it on papers, or blow it into the face of the victim. They often work in teams, with an attractive woman or man who eases their victim into a false sense of security.

Incidents occur in nightclubs, bars and restaurants, on public transportation and in the streets. They occur most frequently in larger cities.

Use extreme caution when dealing with strangers offering pamphlets, requesting information, or selling street wares.

Indigenous shamanic ceremonies

The consumption of ayahuasca is common during indigenous shamanic ceremonies in Ecuador. These ceremonies are not regulated. The safety of the facilities, services, operators, or shamans cannot be assessed. They often take place in remote areas without access to medical facilities, emergency services or telecommunications.

The consumption of ayahuasca has caused serious medical complications, including cognitive and physical impairment. Several tourists, including Canadians, have died while taking part in such ceremonies. Some have also been assaulted or injured.

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common.

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Most beaches don’t have lifeguards or warning flags.

  • Only undertake scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
  • Don’t swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
  • Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Monitor weather warnings
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

This advice applies to both mainland Ecuador and to the Galápagos Islands.

Water safety abroad

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as snorkelling, diving, surfing, white water rafting, horseback riding, parasailing, hiking, trekking and other adventure activities, can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in the dry season.

Avalanches pose a risk in Ecuador. They can be fatal, even with light snow accumulations. Tourists, including Canadians, have died in avalanches on Ecuadorian volcanoes.

If you intend to practice adventure tourism:

  • never do so alone, and don’t part with your expedition companions
  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company certified by the Ministry of Tourism
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
  • avoid venturing off marked trails
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to tackle the challenges of your activity
  • carry an avalanche beacon, a mobile phone and a fully charged battery pack to generate your position in case of emergency
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary

If you require emergency assistance in a remote area, find an area with a signal and call 911 so that authorities can geolocate your phone and send help more quickly.

Ministry of Tourism – Government of Ecuador

Power shortages

Since 2023, power outages often occur and can last up to several hours.

Power outages can affect the following services and businesses:

  • public lighting and traffic lights
  • telecommunications and security systems
  • stores and food supply
  • hotels and other accommodations
  • banks and ATMs

Useful links

Road travel

Road conditions and road safety vary throughout the country. Accidents causing fatalities are common.

Road conditions

Road conditions are generally in fair conditions in urban areas. However, they remain poorly maintained in rural areas.

Heavy rain and mudslides often close or wash out roads. Driving in Ecuador may be hazardous due to:

  • unmarked speed bumps
  • large pot holes
  • poorly maintained vehicles
  • traffic lights on major highways
  • heavy traffic, especially on weekends and statutory holidays
  • stray livestock in rural areas  
  • heavy fog in mountainous areas

Driving habits

Drivers don’t respect traffic laws. They may drive at excessive speed and be reckless. Drinking and driving is frequent. 

If you drive in Ecuador:

  • always drive defensively and maintain heightened awareness
  • plan your trip ahead of time, especially if you plan to visit a rural area
  • avoid road travelling alone and at night
  • carry a cell phone and a charger
  • always keep your gas tank fullkeep your car doors locked and the windows closed at all times
  • do not leave valuables within reach or in plain sight and unattended

Public transportation

Buses

Many buses are not safe. Some are poorly maintained and often overcrowded. They lack safety equipment. Drivers are reckless. They often make illegal stops to pick up passengers. Robberies and assault occur regularly, especially in the Guayaquil area.

Avoid using local or intercity public buses. 

Taxis

Taxis are generally safe to take during the day. They are easily available in urban areas.

Ride-sharing apps are also popular in Ecuador. They are usually a safe option to move around.

Incidents of assault and express kidnapping have occurred at night.

  • Use official taxis with orange plates only
  • Avoid hailing taxis on the street
  • Never share a taxi with strangers 
  • Make sure the driver doesn’t pick up other passengers along the way to your destination
  • Note driver’s name and plate number
  • Ask the driver to start the meter or negotiate the fare in advance
  • Have small bills ready for payment

Ferries 

Ferry accidents have occurred mostly due to severe weather conditions or poor safety measures. 

Some boats are poorly maintained and overloaded. 

If you decide to travel by ferry:

  • use only a reliable company
  • make sure appropriate safety equipment is available 
  • make sure you have access to a lifejacket at all times 
  • don't board a boat that appears overloaded or unseaworthy

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur.

Take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Power shortages

 

Power outages have occurred since 2023 and can last up to several hours.

 

Power outages can affect the following services and businesses:

·       public lighting and traffic lights

·       telecommunications and security systems

·       stores and food supply

·       hotels and other accommodations

·       banks and ATMs

Useful links

·       List of planned outages – Quito Electric Company(in Spanish)

·       List of planned outages – Guayaquil Electric Company (in Spanish)

 

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Ecuadorian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Entry restrictions at land and river borders with Peru and Colombia

On January 11, 2024, the Government of Ecuador announced new entry restrictions as part of the ongoing state of internal armed conflict.

All foreigners entering Ecuador at crossing points with land or river borders with Peru and Colombia must present a criminal record check from their country of origin or residence. Both the original criminal record check and the Spanish translation must be apostilled and cover the past five years. Minors travelling with their family members will generally be exempt.

If you don’t have a criminal record check, you must request an exceptional entry authorization 48 hours before entering Ecuador and send the required information to the Ministry of Tourism.

Useful links

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Ecuador.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days per period of 12 months 
Business visa: not required
Student visa: not required

Entry stamp

Make sure your passport is stamped upon arrival. You may face significant problems if you fail to present an entry-stamped passport when departing Ecuador.  

Many tourists, including Canadians, have not stopped to get their passports stamped when arriving by land from Peru. When they try to leave the country later on, for example by airplane out of Quito, they are often required to return to the Peruvian border to obtain an entry stamp at the place of entry.

Stay extension

You may extend your stay for an additional 90-day period once. If you decide to do so while you are in Ecuador, you must obtain a visa from the immigration authorities before the entry stamp you received upon arrival expires.

If you overstay the initial 90-day period without the required extension or the 180-day period without the required visa, you may face:

  • fine
  • denied entry for one year

Local authorities may also add your name to the immigration records. As a result, you would have to request a visa at an Ecuadorian embassy or consulate before re-entering the country.

Useful links

Galápagos Islands

To enter the Galápagos Islands, you must present:

  • personal identification
  • the Galápagos Transit Control Card obtained online at least 24 hours before time of departure
  • a return ticket

The maximum stay for tourists is 60 days in a 1-year period.

Guidelines for entering Galápagos  - Galápagos Governing Council (in Spanish)

Amazon region

Some Indigenous groups require permits to enter their territory. If you are planning on visiting the Amazon region, ensure that you have the required documentation prior to entering the area.

Children and travel

To leave the country, children born in Ecuador to a Canadian parent must:

  • be registered with the Ecuadorian Civil Registry
  • obtain an Ecuadorian passport
  • present valid Ecuadorian and Canadian passports

Minor dual citizens - under 18 - travelling alone with both passports must have a letter of consent from both parents. This letter should:

  • authorize the travel and stipulate the destination and duration of the intended trip
  • be legally certified and translated into Spanish
  • be notarized at the Embassy of Ecuador or an Ecuadorian consulate in Canada

Canadian minors travelling alone as tourists with Canadian passports don’t need this authorization letter.

Useful links

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*    

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are arriving from Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Uganda, or have transited through an airport in one of these countries.

Recommendation          

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Avian Influenza

Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

  • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
  • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
  • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
  • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
  • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is limited in availability. The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

Public medical services and facilities remain below Canadian standards, especially in rural areas. Medical facilities lack medical supplies.

Private hospitals and clinics offer better health care, but services are often expensive. Doctors typically require upfront payment. They may only speak Spanish.

Emergency services may not be available outside major cities. In the Galápagos Islands, you will likely require medical evacuation in case of a serious condition. The wait time to be evacuated can be up to 48 hours as there is no air ambulance service based on the islands.

Medical evacuations can be extremely expensive.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medications

Some prescription medication may not be available in Ecuador.

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining its legality in the country.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a paper and an electronic copy of your prescriptions

Altitude sickness

Some cities and major tourist attractions are located at more than 2700 metres above sea level. In some parts of the country, you may experience health problems due to high altitudes.

Altitude sickness can range from mild to severe symptoms, which in extreme cases can be fatal. It may require immediate medical evacuation.

  • Know about the symptoms of altitude sickness
  • Find out how to prevent or reduce the effects of altitude sickness

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Transfer to a Canadian prison

Canada and Ecuador are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Ecuador to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Ecuadorian authorities.

This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

You may also be found guilty by association if they have criminal associates. For instance, drivers could be held responsible for passengers carrying drugs in their luggage.

  • Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
  • Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases
  • Avoid picking up hitchhikers

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Identification

Local authorities may request to see your ID at any time.

  • Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place in case it’s lost or seized
  • Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents

Investments

Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.

If you plan to buy property, or making other investments in Ecuador:

  • seek legal advice in Canada and in Ecuador before making commitments
  • choose your own lawyer
  • avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Ecuador.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Ecuador, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Ecuador.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Ecuador, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Ecuadorian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Ecuador to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

You can drive up to 6 months with your valid Canadian driver’s licence.

There is a traffic restriction based on the last digit of the vehicle licence plate number in Quito. You may be heavily fined and your vehicle temporarily seized if you fail to respect the restricted part of the city on the weekday (Monday to Friday) corresponding to your plate number.

If you are involved in a road accident-causing injuries, you will be temporarily detained, regardless of culpability. Detention may last until responsibility for the accident has been assigned and all parties are satisfied.

You should carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar (USD).

Credit cards are accepted by many businesses.

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Natural disasters and climate

El Niño

The complex weather phenomenon called El Niño happens at irregular intervals of 2 to 7 years. In Ecuador, El Niño generally generates heavy rainfalls for 6 to 9 months, occurring at the same time as the rainy season from October to May.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts before and during your travels, and plan accordingly.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance to cover the consequences of such events, including the disruption of travel plans.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Ecuador is in an active seismic area. Earthquakes and tremors occur regularly. 

Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage.

Tsunami warnings may be issued after a strong earthquake. A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor.

If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Useful links

Volcanoes

Ecuadorian authorities are closely monitoring multiple volcanoes which are active:

  • Chiles-Cerro Negro
  • Cotopaxi
  • Fernandina
  • Guagua Pichincha
  • Reventador
  • Sangay
  • Sierra Negra
  • Tungurahua

Access to the Cotopaxi National Park could be restricted at any time without notice.

There are several volcanoes on the mainland and on the Galápagos Islands, including around Quito and the tourist communities of Baños and Riobamba. 

Eruptions could occur at any time.  They sometimes lead to evacuations of surrounding areas on short notice. Volcanic ash fall may also disrupt domestic and international flights and cause the closure of major highways.

Exposure to falling ash and toxic fumes from active volcanoes can affect your health.

 If you are planning to travel near active volcanoes:

  • consult a physician in advance to determine associated health risks if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • familiarize yourself with local emergency plans
  • avoid restricted areas
  • be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice

In the event of a volcanic eruption:

  • pay careful attention to all warnings issued for national parks
  • monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from December to May.

Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged. Underpasses may fill quickly with water.

  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor weather reports
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links

Wildfires

Wildfires are common between June and September.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation

National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology – Government of Ecuador (in Spanish)

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Need help?

Consular assistance

Quito - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressAv. Amazonas N37-29 and Union Nacional de Periodistas, Eurocenter Building, 3rd Floor (one block north of the Supreme Court Building, near Amazonas and United Nations), Quito, EcuadorPostal AddressP.O. Box 17-11-6512, Quito, Ecuador, EC170514Telephone593 (2) 245-5499Fax593 (2) 227-7672Emailquito.consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-EcuadorFacebookEmbassy of Canada to EcuadorTwitter@CanadaEcuadorAppointment Book your appointment online
Guayaquil - Honorary consul of Canada
Street AddressAvenida Francisco de Orellana, Number 234, Blue Towers Building, 6th Floor, Office 604, Guayaquil, EcuadorTelephone593 (4) 263-1109Emailguayaquil@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-EcuadorFacebookEmbassy of Canada to EcuadorTwitter@CanadaEcuadorAppointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Ecuador, in Quito, and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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