How safe is Ecuador to travel in 2024?

Unraveling the Realities

Ecuador is a beautiful country packed with diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality. For years, it has been a sought-after destination for more adventurous travelers around the world. However, concerns about safety when traveling to Ecuador in 2024 have justifiably cast a shadow on the allure of this South American gem. In this blog post, we delve into the question on many travelers’ minds: Is Ecuador safe to travel?

If we help you and you’re considering exploring Ecuador with Impactful Travel, you might like to read more about Who We Are. Every journey and trip we create is “rooted in authentic experiences with local communities, underpinned by tangible, measurable sustainability.” If you’re interested, check out our Sustainable Ecuador and Galapagos Archipelago Tours

Local Ecuadorian people in colorful ponchos are visiting an animal market where they are trading livestock. Visit the Guamote, Chimborazo area with Impactful Travel in Ecuador.
Ecuadorians in colorful ponchos are visiting an animal market close to Guamote

Your Personal Safety is Very Important

Before we go any further, we’d like to say that there is no perfect state of safety any destination can offer you, and Ecuador certainly has some safety concerns that justify us writing this blog (and you reading it).

Your personal safety as a traveler is important to you, but it’s also important to everyone in Ecuador who wants to see a return to normality and a return of enthusiastic and respectful tourists keen to learn about our beautiful country. There is no shame in waiting a while to book your Ecuador experience; our beautiful scenery and welcoming people aren’t going anywhere!

Travelers are invited to making their own tortillas de tiesto for breakfast in the community of San Clemente in northern Ecuador | Impactful Travel
Agnes and her host Matilda working on the tortillas de tiesto in the early morning

The Issue with Tourist Safety in Ecuador in 2024

Ecuador has suffered huge disruption in early 2024, and this situation will take a while to resolve. This situation didn’t occur overnight but has instead developed gradually as a few internal issues developed. 

The current president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, has made significant pledges to ‘curb violence’ that has quickly ramped up as Ecuador’s drug gangs were emboldened and stirred up by the disappearance from prison of the leader of Los Choneros criminal gang. Adolfo Marias was serving a 34-year sentence and he escaped on January 7th. This escape has caused an uproar in violence in Ecuador, including several hostage situations and a particularly disturbing moment when gunmen invaded a live television broadcast on January 9, holding the presenters and crew hostage at gunpoint. 

The entire picture is very complex, moving far beyond the purview of Impactful Travel as a tour company. The president, Noboa, has declared a two-month state of emergency and has already made considerable efforts to get things in Ecuador back to normal, but it will take some time. To learn more about this, we recommend reading this excellent Reuters article

Painting traditional symbols on a visitor's forehead. | Impactful Travel in Ecuador
Painting traditional symbols on a visitor’s forehead

Advice if You’re Traveling to Ecuador in 2024

Travel advice for Ecuador is a dynamic, ever-changing thing, so don’t take anything stated here as the final word; you should also visit your country’s consulate or embassy website to find out other perspectives. We won’t link to every possible country’s embassy or consulate as that would be far too many links. But let’s look at some of the more savvy perspectives outside of Ecuador…

The UK government, for example, provides valuable insights into the safety conditions of various countries, including Ecuador. According to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s travel advice for Ecuador in January 2024 there are certain areas that require caution due to potential risks, such as crime and civil unrest. However, it’s important to note that the entire country is not under the same level of risk, and many regions remain safe for tourists.

Traveling to the Galapagos in 2024 is Considered Safe

As you might expect, the smaller population and isolation of the Galapagos Archipelago means that none of Ecuador’s current upheaval can be felt on the islands. Anyone who has planned a trip to the Galapagos Islands or is thinking about planning a trip can do so with a fair amount of confidence. If this is what you’re looking for, consider our Multi-day Experiences on the Galapagos Islands

Grunting Sealion in San Cristobal Galapagos

Traveling to Mainland Ecuador in 2024

The mainland of Ecuador is a mixture of safe and less safe for tourists as it is a large country and the gang violence does not extend to the majority of Ecuador.

This map from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office shows the areas that are considered mostly safe to travel and the areas where all but essential travel is discouraged.

As you can see, most of central and eastern Ecuador is away from the lion’s share of the current dangerous situation — this includes Quito, Cotopaxi, Tena, and Cuenca. Of course, things can change quickly, so keep an eye on the news if you have a trip to Ecuador booked in 2024.

Woman viewing Quito from lookout

Ecuador Crime and Safety Advice in General

Ecuador, like any other destination, has its share of challenges, particularly in urban areas. Crime rates can vary, and travelers should exercise common-sense precautions such as avoiding poorly lit areas, keeping belongings secure, and being vigilant in crowded places. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, tourists can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering any issues.

Planning a trip to the Amazon or otherwise far away from big cities is probably significantly safer than a trip to one of Ecuador’s more built-up areas.

The majority of our Multi-day Tours and Experiences in Ecuador take visitors off the beaten path, to the areas that have fewer people, to local communities that practice more traditional lifestyles. All airports currently have reinforced security and are considered safe, so you can count on Impactful Travel to plan an Ecuador tour that avoids the current tumultuous situation. 

Vicunas in Ecuador Chimborazo

Word on the Street in Ecuador

Beyond stats and official statements, there are the people of Ecuador, who we talk to every day. The people on the street, long-haul truck drivers, and even police officers are observing that the safety on the roads and streets of Ecuador has improved recently. Gangs seem to be hiding more than before, and this seems mostly down to the swift and large-scale answer by the authorities and the wide support from the population. 

The situation is already improving and it may take a while before this information finds a more official form to send out to hopeful tourists. 

Explore the streets of Ecuador's Capital on foot, on our Quito Walking Tour | Impactful Travel
On our Quito Walking Tour you’ll explore the city streets with your guide.

Supporting Local Communities and Tourism in Ecuador

Ecuadorians are known for their warmth and friendliness. Engaging with local communities, respecting their customs, and being mindful of cultural differences can enhance your travel experience. Many areas in Ecuador thrive on tourism, and your visit contributes to the livelihoods of local communities.

While we would never encourage people to endanger themselves, Ecuador has never enjoyed the best safety stats, and yet so many visitors each year champion our culture, our people, our rich tapestry of ancient sites and natural beauty. 

A trip to Ecuador might not be as safe as a trip to Iceland, Switzerland, or the UK, but you can avoid most of the problems if you are especially enthusiastic about coming here. If you’d like any advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

The achimamas, midwives, welcoming visitors to their Amupakin center to teach and share their wisdom about childbirth with ancient techniques and medicinal plants. | Impactful Travel in Ecuador
The achimamas, midwives, welcoming visitors to their Amupakin center to teach and share their wisdom about childbirth with ancient techniques and medicinal plants.

Safety by Comparison: How safe is Europe?

No destination is entirely safe, and accidents, crimes, and tragedies occur all around the world, so it may be helpful to consider the safety of Europe right now as many European countries are currently on terrorist attack level 4 (out of a maximum of 5) and yet people travel to European countries every day, enjoying fun, enriching experiences. 

We are not saying that the safety levels between the average European country and Ecuador are identical, and we are not discouraging anyone from visiting Europe; we are simply saying that the conditions are never perfect to travel, but we do it anyway — because, for some of us, travel is the greatest way to enjoy ourselves, meet new people, and have new experiences. 

We sincerely hope that anyone dreaming of an Ecuador trip in 2024 aren’t discouraged by the current tumult. There are a few problem areas, but if you avoid them, your trip will be more than safe enough. 

So, Is Ecuador Safe to Travel in 2024? 

Like many destinations at the minute, Ecuador presents a blend of challenges and delights. By staying informed, exercising caution, and embracing the unique experiences the country has to offer, travelers can navigate Ecuador safely.

As with any journey, preparation is key, and an adventure awaits those who are willing to explore our enchanting South American nation.

But if you’re a very cautious traveler, perhaps you can spend 2024 planning your dream trip to Ecuador in 2025 or beyond. You can book things in advance and spend this time reading and learning about everything you’d like to do when you finally do visit. If this sounds like your situation, we’d like to inspire and inform you with our Ecuador Travel Guide

Spectacular geography at the Manto de la Novia Waterfall near Baños, Ecuador | Impactful Travel
Spectacular geography at the Manto de la Novia Waterfall

ABOUT IMPACTFUL TRAVEL 

Impactful Travel's mission is to empower transformative journeys through sustainable and responsible experiences, we are committed to enriching lives - both for travelers and local communities in Latin America.

We seek to connect meaningful tourism experiences with a committed global audience, enhancing communities and encouraging sustainable choices.

Together with you, we improve day by day, on the always-demanding path towards sustainability.

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