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Is It Safe To Travel To Ecuador Right Now? Latest Travel Advice Amid State of Emergency

by Staff

Ecuador, one of South America’s most popular travel destinations, is currently under a state of emergency after an infamous gang member escaped from prison. There have been reports of violence, explosions and abductions of law enforcement officers in cities like Quito, Guayaquil and Quevedo. 

Understandably, foreigners in the country and those with trips booked are concerned about how safe it is to visit. Here’s everything we know so far about travelling to Ecuador right now.

Is it safe to travel to Ecuador?

While there has been no official advice issued against travelling to Ecuador, a 60-day state of emergency was declared on January 8, and tourists were advised to stay put in their accommodation. That advice has since been lifted, but there is a daily curfew from 11pm to 5am. Travellers are advised to follow updates from Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism on official channels.

What is going on in Ecuador right now?

On Sunday, January 7, notorious gang leader Adolfo Macias escaped from prison, sparking a series of riots and violent attacks across the country. There have been reports of looting, burning vehicles, gunfire, explosions and abductions of police officers. A live TV broadcast was stormed by gunmen in the city of Guayaquil.

President Daniel Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency on January 8. In an attempt to crack down on gang violence, the military has been enlisted to patrol cities and prisons. 

What is the UK Foreign Office advising?

The UK Foreign Office has not officially advised against travel to the country, but it updated its advice on January 10 to advise against all but essential travel within 20 km of the Ecuador-Colombia border. On January 12, this advice was expanded to include the following coastal region provinces:

  • Esmeraldas
  • Manabí
  • Santa Elena
  • Guayas
  • El Oro
  • Los Ríos
  • Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas

What are your rights if you’ve booked a trip to Ecuador?

Until the FCDO issues advice against all but essential travel to the country, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim your money back through travel insurance. If you’d like to postpone your trip, your best bet is to contact your accommodation, flight or trip provider and see what can be done. 

Have flights been cancelled?

While airports remain open, some airlines have cancelled flights. Please check your flight status with your airline or airport website.

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