Ecuador travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Ecuador - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Ecuador due to high levels of crime.
Northern provinces - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following provinces (except within 20 km of the border with Colombia where we advise against all travel) due to violent crime:
Border area with Colombia - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the area within 20 km of the border with Colombia in the following provinces due to the presence of drug traffickers and criminal organizations:
- Carchi (except for the Panamericana International Highway which connects to the official border crossing with Colombia at Tulcán/Ipiales)
Minefields near the southern portion of the border with Peru - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following cantons in the Cordillera del Cóndor, near the Peruvian border, due to the presence of landmines and unmarked minefields:
- Tiwinza in the province of Morona-Santiago
- El Pangui, Nangaritza and Palanda, in the province of Zamora-Chinchipe
Follow the advice of local authorities and respect exclusion zones.
Safety and security
Areas bordering Colombia
Travel to and within areas immediately bordering Colombia is dangerous due to the presence of drug traffickers and criminal organizations. The risk of violence, kidnappings, armed assaults and extortion is high.
Canadian and other foreign tourists and oil workers have been kidnapped in these areas.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
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
Crime rates in Ecuador are high. Arrest and detention rates are low and contribute to high levels of criminality.
Petty theft, including purse snatching, car break-ins and pickpocketing, is a daily occurrence in major cities.
Thieves often work in teams, in which one thief diverts the victims’ attention while the other snatches their possessions. Groups of street children who sell candy are often engaged in this type of team operation.
The hotel zones in Quito are often targeted by thieves and muggers who believe tourists are affluent.
Thefts of backpacks and other small bags are also very common. Luggage theft is prevalent:
- on buses (city and regional)
- at bus terminals
- at airports
- at other transit points.
If you are in Ecuador:
- remain aware of your surroundings at all times
- maintain a low profile when walking in public areas
- avoid walking alone and travelling after dark
- don't show signs of affluence
- keep all valuable items and electronic equipment out of sight
- keep your car windows closed, bags and handbags out of reach, and car doors locked at all times
- ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
Gang war activity in public places has been increasing since the beginning of 2021. There’s a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting caught in the crossfire.
There’s also been an increase in violent crime in Guayaquil since 2020, particularly in the area south of Portete de Tarquí Avenue. Organized criminal groups and gangs are committing crimes such as targeted assassinations and armed robberies.
Armed robberies are frequent and occur in tourist destinations such as:
- downtown areas
- hiking trails
- public parks
Some robberies have occurred during the day at gunpoint. Masked thieves have stolen valuables and belongings from their victims’ person on hiking trails. Thieves have even targeted large groups of tourists at beaches. Random attacks and sexual assaults involving Canadians have occurred.
Car-jacking also occurs frequently. Thieves often target cars stopped in traffic for break-ins.
Violent robberies have occurred outside banks in Quito and Tumbaco valley. The Ecuadorian National Police offer a free escort service to and from banks, which you can use if you need to withdraw large amounts of money. You can request this service by calling 911.
If you’re in Quito, you may contact the tourist police, who can be identified by their grey uniforms and yellow vests. Tourist police officers are more likely to speak some English.
To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime, you can also check with the Ministry of Tourism if tour operators, accommodations, restaurants and taxis are registered.
- Exercise caution at all times
- Avoid isolated areas where travellers have been murdered or threatened with violence
- Travel in groups
- Avoid wandering on deserted beaches, especially at night
- Only use ATMs during daylight hours in busy public areas, such as malls or in banks
- Withdraw and carry only small amounts of money
- In case of robbery, remain calm and do not resist
- Use only reputable companies
Ministry of Tourism – Government of Ecuador
Incidents of attacks and sexual assault against foreign women, including rape and murder, have been reported throughout the country, particularly in tourist areas.
- Never travel alone, especially after dark
- Be aware that even women travelling in pairs have been targeted
- Stay in accommodations with good security
- Avoid hospitality exchange arrangements, such as couch-surfing
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items 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.
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 or blow it into the face of the victim. They often work in teams, with attractive women who ease 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.
Express kidnappings, often in connection with carjackings, is a concern throughout Ecuador. They are a method of abduction where criminals ask for a small and immediate ransom. Thieves usually force their victims to withdraw funds from an ATM or to arrange for family or friends to pay the ransom.
This ploy often involves an innocent taxi passenger and a criminal driver, who stops to pick up associates. To address the problem, the Ecuadorian government has installed cameras and panic buttons in taxis and buses. These panic buttons are linked directly to the ECU 911 Operations Centre. As soon as you press it, someone will be able to monitor a live feed of what is happening in the taxi and track GPS coordinates.
- Use only reputable taxi companies through establishments such as hotels or ride-hailing apps
- Booked your ride in advance when possible
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs frequently in Ecuador. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
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
- report the incident to the National Police
National Police – Ecuador (in Spanish)
Driving in Ecuador is hazardous and unpredictable. There are all types of vehicles on the road that don’t meet acceptable safety standards. Drivers involved in accidents causing physical injury are immediately detained. In many cases, detention lasts until responsibility for the accident has been assigned and all parties are satisfied.
Road conditions have improved but road travel is slow. If driving in Ecuador, expect:
- unmarked speed bumps
- large pot holes
- traffic lights on major highways
- heavy traffic (especially on weekends and statutory holidays)
- police and military road blocks
Heavy rain and mudslides also often close or wash out roads. Heavy fog occasionally poses hazards in mountainous areas.
Robberies and assaults continue to occur regularly on intercity and Guayaquil’s urban buses. Bus drivers often make illegal stops to pick up passengers.
The Ecuadorian government has installed GPS units on many buses to track their routes in an effort to improve security. These installations often include panic buttons issued by ECU 911 Operations Centre.
Registered taxis have orange licence plates and an orange and white registration number on the side of the car and on the windshield. Official taxis are also equipped with cameras and panic buttons which are linked to the ECU 911 Operations Centre.
- Only use registered taxis
- Do not hail unofficial taxis on the street
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.
Be aware that most beaches lack consistently staffed lifeguard stations.
Trekking or Mountaineering
Mountain activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous, especially if they are not well-organized. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly.
There is also a risk of avalanches, which can be fatal, even with light snow accumulations.
If you intend on trekking or mountaineering:
- never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- high altitude can have significant effects on fitness levels and susceptibility to ailments; know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard, including avalanches
- carry an avalanche beacon, a mobile phone and a fully charged battery pack to generate your position in case of emergency
- register your presence with the park rangers where the service is available
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out, and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
- always follow the advice and instructions of local authorities and park rangers
- dial 911 for emergency assistance
Ministry of Tourism – Government of Ecuador
Spiritual cleansing and ayahuasca ceremonies, offered by shamans and other individuals, have led to serious illness and even the death of several tourists. Ceremonies involve taking substances that can cause medical complications and severely impair cognitive and physical abilities. Tourists have also been assaulted or injured while participating in such ceremonies.
Ayahuasca ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical facilities and limited communication with local authorities. They are not regulated and there is no way to assess the safety of any of the services, the operators or the shamans.
The government of Ecuador has developed an app for your smartphone if you plan visiting Ecuador. It allows you to ask for help in the case of an emergency and to be located through your phone’s GPS. It is available in English.
You can also contact the Ministry of Tourism if you have a complaint to make regarding your trip to Ecuador since the authorities have set up a tourist complaint management system.
- To install the Ecu911 app- Integrated Security Service, Ecuador government (in Spanish)
- To make a tourist complaint - Ministry of Tourism, Ecuador government (in Spanish)
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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 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.
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.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: not required
Student visa: not required
You must have a visa to enter Ecuador if you wish to stay longer than 90 days per year, from July 1 to June 30. If you decide to extend your stay while you are in the country, you must obtain the visa before the entry stamp you received upon arrival expires. If you remain in Ecuador past the entry stamp date, you may be deported. Local authorities may add your name to the immigration records. This would result in you having to request a visa at an Ecuadorian embassy or consulate before re-entering the country. Attempting to re-enter Ecuador without a visa pre-issued by Ecuadorian authorities in Canada will result in an entry ban and you will be returned to your port of embarkation.
If you enter Ecuador by land from Colombia or Peru, you must register with the Ecuadorian immigration office at the border. You must provide your passport and indicate where you are going and how long you intend to remain in Ecuador.
Ensure you receive an entry stamp in your passport to avoid significant problems when exiting the country.
- Migration Ecuador – Government of Ecuador (in Spanish)
- Virtual Consulate of Ecuador - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Ecuador government (in Spanish)
To enter the Galápagos Islands, you must present the Galápagos Transit Control Card (Tarjeta de control de tránsito, or TCT).
You can apply for the Galápagos Transit Control Card online or obtain it at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil. Your tour operator may also request it for you. The maximum stay for tourists is 60 days in a 1-year period.
Keep the card in a safe place, since you must also show it when departing the Galápagos Islands.
Step by step TCT online – Government of Galápagos
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.
Dual citizens may enter Ecuador on an Ecuadorian passport and stay indefinitely. A dual citizen entering on a Canadian passport will be considered a tourist and only be granted a 90-day, non-extendable visa.
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
Ecuadorian immigration authorities do not allow children born in Ecuador to depart only on a Canadian passport.
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Unaccompanied minors (under 18) holding dual citizenship (Ecuadorian and Canadian) and travelling with both passports, or who are landed immigrants in Ecuador, should 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 a consulate in Canada
Canadian unaccompanied minors travelling as tourists with Canadian passports do not need this authorization letter.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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.
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.
- 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.
- Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
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 is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
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 is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
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 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 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.
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.
- 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 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.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
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.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk 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’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
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
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
Health care is available but the quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. In Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, private hospitals offer medical services comparable to those in Canada. In smaller towns and in rural areas, however, health services are below Canadian standards.
Serious medical cases in the Galapagos Islands will likely require medical evacuation to the Ecuadorian mainland or Canada for treatment. Surgical and cardiac services are extremely limited. As there are no air ambulance services based on the islands, the wait time to be evacuated can be 48 hours or more, depending on weather conditions.
Medical evacuations can be extremely expensive.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe.
Individuals may be found guilty by association if they have criminal associates. Drivers should not accept hitchhikers, as they could be held responsible for them as well as for the content of their luggage.
Monitor your luggage at all times when travelling, especially at airports, and never agree to carry items for another person.
Ecuadorian law requires all individuals to carry identification at all times.
Pedestrians should cross streets only at designated crosswalks. Jaywalking and walking off the sidewalk are punishable by a fine.
Curfews and states of emergency
Authorities may declare curfews and states of emergency in regions affected by civil unrest, natural disaster or other disruption.
During a state of emergency, authorities have expanded powers to restore order, including suspension of some constitutional rights and expanded detention powers.
There is a traffic restriction based on the last digit of the vehicle licence plate number in Quito.
You may be heavily fined if you fail to respect the restricted areas on the weekday corresponding to your plate number.
You can drive up to 3 months with your valid Canadian driver’s licence.
You should carry an international driving permit.
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.
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.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency in Ecuador is the U.S. dollar (USD).
Credit cards are accepted by many businesses.
Natural disasters and climate
Heavy rains at various times of the year trigger landslides in many areas, particularly in mountainous areas. This causes road damage which contributes to traffic accidents.
During flooding, disruptions may happen to essential services such as:
- emergency and medical care
- food, fuel and water supplies
Water- and insect-borne diseases may also become a threat.
If you are already in the affected areas, monitor local media for the latest developments, verify your travel plans with your airline or tour operator, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Ecuador is located in an active seismic area. Earthquakes and tremors occur regularly. Dangerous landslides are frequent following even minor earthquakes.
There is a risk of tsunamis when earthquakes strike along the Pacific coastline. In Esmeraldas and Manabí provinces, authorities maintain an early warning system of sirens to alert the population of an approaching tsunami or a sudden dam overflow.
ECU 911, the Integrated Security Service - Ecuador government (in Spanish)
Ecuadorian authorities are monitoring the Cotopaxi volcano, which is showing signs of activity.
Volcanic ash has fallen south of Quito. Access to the Cotopaxi National Park could be restricted at any time without notice.
There are several volcanoes on the mainland and on the Galapagos Islands, including around Quito and the tourist communities of Baños and Riobamba. Many of these are active, including:
- Chiles-Cerro Negro
- Sierra Negra
Some have erupted over the past years. Further eruptions could occur at any time and without warning.
Volcanic ash fall may disrupt domestic and international flights and cause the closure of major highways. Exposure to falling ash and toxic fumes from active volcanoes can also 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
- be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice
- monitor local news and pay careful attention to all warnings issued
- avoid restricted areas
- follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Public alerts for volcanoes displaying increased seismic activity - Ecuador Secretariat of Risk Management (in Spanish)
- Instituto Geofisico - Ecuador’s geophysical institute (in Spanish)
The complex weather phenomenon called El Niño happens at irregular intervals of 2 to 7 years and can last 9 months to 2 years. El Niño generally generates heavy rain falls, which could cause flooding, landslides and mudslides and could severely disrupt travel.
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.
Dial 911 for emergency assistance
Quito - Embassy of Canada
Guayaquil - Consulate of Canada
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.
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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