Toggle Menu SearchSearch



  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Ecuador due to the risk of violent crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Violent crime, including assaults and armed robberies is common. Kidnappings have occurred, including in major cities such as Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, and places frequented by foreigners. Travellers have been injured when resisting robbery. See Safety and security.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the border province of Sucumbios in north-eastern Ecuador bordering Colombia and Peru as there is a threat posed by armed groups and violent criminal activity, including kidnapping, in these areas.
  • Do not travel to within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia, except for official border crossing at Tulcán, due to the serious risks posed by armed groups in these areas.
  • It is a legal requirement that you carry identification at all times.
  • Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison terms. See Laws.
  • Several volcanoes in Ecuador are active and eruptions could occur at any time. See Additional information.
  • Australia has a Consulate in Guayaquil, Ecuador, headed by an Honorary Consul, which provides limited consular and passports assistance (i.e. conduct passport interviews and issue Provisional Travel Documents). The Canadian Embassy located in Quito, provides consular assistance to Australians in Ecuador. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian Embassy in Santiago de Chile, can also assist Australians in Ecuador.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ecuador for the most up-to-date information.

The Australian Government is unable to provide assistance with visa issues of Australians seeking to enter Ecuador. This includes those who are refused permission to enter or are required to depart.

If you enter by land or sea ensure that your passport is stamped by immigration authorities on entry. Failure to have your passport stamped on arrival can result in deportation or delays in exiting Ecuador.     

If you are travelling to Ecuador through the US, including via Honolulu or another US point of entry, you are required to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa requirements with your nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States well in advance of your travel. Read our travel advice for the United States of America.

Ecuador is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to Ecuador (see Health section).

As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, check the yellow fever entry requirements for Ecuador and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

For children (under 18 years of age) travelling alone or with one parent, local immigration authorities may require a letter of consent from the non-travelling parent(s) and a copy of the child's birth certificate. Both documents should be translated into Spanish and notarised and certified by the Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate in Australia.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Political protests occur across Ecuador. Avoid all demonstrations, pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Protests have the potential to turn violent. Local laws expressly prohibit political activity by foreign nationals while they are in Ecuador. This includes participation in protests or demonstrations. Such activity may result in detention or deportation.

The government of Ecuador has developed a smartphone application (ECU 911) which allows users to request emergency assistance in English from their smartphone.


Violent crime, including assaults, and armed robberies is common. Kidnappings have occurred, including in major cities, such as Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, and places frequented by foreigners. Travellers have been injured when resisting robbery. Thieves in Ecuador are often armed, and have been known to target even those travelling in large groups.

Assaults, robberies and rape, including some involving firearms or other weapons have been reported throughout the country. In Quito, serious assaults have been reported in El Panecillo, La Carolina and El Ejido parks, La Mariscal, Guapulo, the old town and South Quito. Crimes against tourists have also been reported in the downtown, waterfront and market areas of Guayaquil, Cerro Mandango near Vilcabamba Loja and the Antennas of Pichincha as well as in jungle lodges in the Lower Rio Napo and Cuyabeno National Reserve areas. There have been reports of river tour boats being commandeered and robbed at gunpoint, with passengers left stranded.

The risk of violent crime is heightened when travelling alone or after dark.

Violent crime also occurs on city buses and on long distance and international buses. Transportation terminals are particularly popular locations for criminals to target tourists. When travelling on public transport, do not store anything under your seat or in the overhead storage. Keep your passport and money on your person at all times. Where possible, use a direct bus route without stops. There have been reports of armed criminals boarding buses to rob passengers.

Travellers have been robbed and assaulted when using unofficial taxis. To reduce the risk of violent crime in taxis, the government has installed 'panic buttons' and security cameras in all registered taxis. Use only authorised taxis that display their taxi registration sticker and have security cameras and panic buttons installed. The use of radio-dispatched taxis or those booked through hotels also reduces the risk.

Incidences of kidnapping for ransom have occurred. 'Express kidnappings' where victims are forced to withdraw funds from ATMs to secure their release, have increased in recent years. Express kidnappings often involve unofficial taxis. More information: Kidnapping

Incidents of sexual assault have been reported. Travellers have been robbed and assaulted after accepting 'spiked' gifts of food, chewing gum, cigarettes and drinks. Do not leave your drink unattended. Thieves have used drugs such as scopolamine, including through the use of aerosol sprays and paper handouts, to incapacitate, rob and assault their victims. Avoid going out alone at night or alone to isolated locations. More information: Sexual assault

Ayahuasca: Ayahuasca tourism, in which shamans guide visitors through psychedelic rituals (often referred to as ‘spiritual cleansing’), is a burgeoning industry in the jungle regions of Ecuador and Peru. While this is not illegal, there is no way to thoroughly vet Ayahuasca tour operators, and if you choose to participate, please be aware of the potential security and health risks involved. Some participants have been seriously assaulted and robbed. Victims report a range of experiences, from being alert but unable to maintain control of their surroundings, to total amnesia.

Theft, purse snatching, pickpocketing and car break-ins are common, especially on long distance buses and in areas frequented by tourists. Around Quito, the La Mariscal and La Marin districts, and La Carolina and El Ejidoo parks are areas of concern. In general, theft and pickpocketing have increased in public markets, bus terminals, and on crowded streets both during daylight and at night. Backpackers are a common target and distraction ploys are often used (one thief diverts the victim's attention while another snatches their possessions).

Luggage theft is common at airports, bus terminals, internet cafes and other transit places. Be aware of attempts to distract your attention away from your luggage. Methods of distraction include staged fights, requests for assistance, and pushing or shoving.

Travellers have been robbed after using ATMs and when exiting banks. Always be aware of your surroundings and ensure your valuables, including passport and travel documents, are securely kept on your person at all times. Credit card fraud and card skimming occurs. Be vigilant when using credit cards and don’t let your card out of your sight.

If camping, only stay at authorised campsites because of the risk of violent crime.

Border areas with Colombia and Peru

Reconsider your need to travel to the border province of Sucumbios in north-eastern Ecuador bordering Colombia and Peru, as there is a threat posed by armed groups and violent criminal activity, including kidnapping, in these areas. Foreigners have been kidnapped in these areas, including in Cuyabeno wildlife reserve.

Do not travel to within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia, except for the official border crossing town of Tulcán in Carchi province, due to the serious risks posed by armed groups in these areas. This includes the town of San Lorenzo in Esmareldas province


Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide 

Money and valuables

The US dollar is the only legal currency in Ecuador. It is useful to have smaller denominations, especially $1 notes, as many smaller shops and taxi drivers do not change large notes.

Credit card fraud and debit card scams are on the increase. Pay special attention when your cards are being handled by retailers and vendors.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local travel

Ecuador’s main roads have improved in recent years and are of a reasonable standard. Roads in rural areas are not always as well maintained. Driving in Ecuador, particularly at night, can be hazardous due to poorly maintained vehicles and poor driving practices. Bus accidents are also common. More information: Road safety and driving

If visiting eco-lodges or other remote locations in northern and eastern Ecuador consider the adequacy of security arrangements in place and the distance you would be required to travel to hospital in the case of an emergency. Reputable eco-lodges have good security, communications and emergency plans in place.

Areas immediately bordering Colombia are considered dangerous, except the border crossing of Tulcán. There have been cases of tourists being kidnapped in these areas. Armed robberies have occurred at jungle lodges in the areas of Lower Rio Napo and the Cuvabeno National Reserve.

Heavy rains and mudslides often close or severely damage roads. Heavy fog is common in mountainous areas. Be cautious about driving after a volcanic eruption as ash can clog and stall engines. Monitor local media for information on access to the areas you intend to travel to.

The safety standards Australians might expect of tour operators, including those operating in the Galapagos Islands, are not always met. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. You should obtain written confirmation from the travel agent or tour operator that their vessel is certified by the Ecuadorian Navy to meet the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention standards.

Cordillera del Condor region: Unexploded and unmarked minefields are a danger in the Cordillera del Condor region near the Peruvian border. Exercise particular caution in Zamora-Chinchipe, Morona-Santiago and El Oro provinces wh​en travelling off-road. Seek local advice before travelling in this region.

Strikes and disturbances by local fishermen in the Galapagos Islands sometimes disrupt travel and access.

Be aware that piracy can occur in the coastal areas of Ecuador. For more information about piracy, see our piracy page. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.

Air safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Ecuador.

More information: Air travel


You are subject to the local laws, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

It is a legal requirement to carry some form of identification with you at all times. Authorities may detain individuals unable to provide proof of identity.

Local laws expressly prohibit political activity by foreign nationals while they are in Ecuador. This includes participation in protests or demonstrations. Such activity may result in detention or deportation.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison terms served in local jails. The minimum sentence for trafficking or consuming 'soft drugs' (i.e. marijuana) can be between one to two years imprisonment. More information: Drugs 

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Dual national males are subject to compulsory military service and should seek advice from the nearest embassy or consulate of Ecuador well in advance of travel.

Minors under the age of 18 years who have dual nationality must travel with both passports.

More information: Dual nationals


Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities provided by private hospitals in Quito and Guayaquil is reasonable. Outside these areas and in the Galapagos Islands facilities are very limited. Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care. In the event of a serious illness or accident on the Galapagos Islands, medical evacuation to the mainland would be necessary. Costs would be considerable.

Decompression chambers are located at Protesub (Sub-aquatic) Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island of the Galapagos Islands and the Ecuadorian Navy base (San Eduardo Naval Base) in Guayaquil.

Many areas of Ecuador are above 2,500m, including Quito (2800m). Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2,500m, particularly if the ascent is rapid, or who at higher altitudes make further rapid ascents, are at risk of developing altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting (acclimatising) to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If you plan to travel to altitude, you should see your doctor prior to travel and get advice specific to you and your situation.

Ecuador is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Ecuador. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.

Malaria is a risk in all provinces below 1,500m elevation, as are other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever, chikengunya, Chagas' disease and leishmaniasis). There is less risk in Guayaquil. Consult your doctor or travel clinic about prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

There is widespread transmission of Zika virus in Ecuador. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas. Further advice for both females and males is available from the Department of Health. Also see our Zika virus travel bulletin.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases are common during the rainy season. Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water with intact seals, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. Phone numbers for police and emergency services vary by region. In Quito and Ibarra, dial 911. In Guayaquil, Cuenca and Loja, the number is 112. Elsewhere, dial 101 for police. Always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:

Australian Consulate, Guayaquil

Edificio SBC Office
Center - Oficina 1 - 14
Primer Piso
km 1
.5 Via, Samborondon
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Tel : +593 959811614 (Monday to Friday 8:00 to 13:00/13:30 to 1630)
Email :

For all after hours emergencies please contact the Australian Embassy in Santiago de Chile for assistance.

By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Quito, provides consular assistance to Australians in Ecuador. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. Contact details are:

Canadian Embassy, Quito

Av. Amazonas 4153 and Union Nacional de periodistas
Eurocentre Building, 3rd Floor
Quito, Ecuador
Telephone: +011 593 2 2455 499
Facsimile: +011 593 2 2277 672

You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in Chile.

Australian Embassy, Santiago de Chile

Isidora Goyenechea 3621
13th Floor, Tower B
Las Condes
Santiago de Chile, Chile
Telephone +56 2 2550 3500
Facsimile +56 2 2331 5960

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 7 day 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305,or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Be aware of specific risks from flooding, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

Severe weather and flooding

The rainy season is from December to May in the coastal region, and from May to November in El Oriente (east of the Andes). Heavy rain often results in landslides and mudslides. Unseasonal rain can cause flooding outside these times.

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

Ecuador is located in an active seismic area. All parts of Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands, is subject to earthquakes.

Several volcanoes in Ecuador are active, including El Reventador (95km east of Quito), Guagua Pichincha (11km west of Quito), Cotopaxi (50km south of Quito), Sangay (40km southeast of Rio Bamba) and Tungurahua (overlooking the tourist town of Baños, 135km south of Quito). Eruptions could occur at any time and without warning. Ash falls can affect air travel.

Before travelling to the areas surrounding Tungurahua volcano, including Baños, monitor local media and check with local authorities for information on Tungurahua’s activity. Australians in Baños should acquaint themselves with evacuation procedures. Information (in Spanish) on seismic activity can be found at

Be aware that falling ash following a volcanic eruption can be distributed over a wide area. Exposure to ash can harm your health, particularly your breathing. The ash, dust and toxic fumes emitted following an eruption represent a significant health risk especially to those with existing respiratory problems. If there is falling ash in your area stay inside with the windows and doors shut and place damp towels at door thresholds and other draft sources. When ash has ceased to fall or you need to go outside, wear a disposable face-mask if available and change it frequently. Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants to protect your skin, and goggles to protect your eyes. Avoid unnecessary contact with ash.


Ecuador is at risk of tsunamis. In the Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional resources