Quito

Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is also known as San Francisco de Quito. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin; it’s between two mountain ranges. UNESCO declared the historical center a World Heristage Site in 1978, and it’s the largest historic center in the Americas. You can explore this beautiful area and admire its colonial buildings, museums, and churches like La Compañia de Jesus Church and the neo-gothic Basilica del Voto Nacional. However, the city is much more than a beautiful colonial historic center. It counts with many neighbourhoods that have a character of their own. You can visit the largest urban park in South America, Parque Metropolitano, where you can hike in the maze of forested trails. Below, you’ll find more information on safety and precautions you can take, so you can enjoy your trip.

SAFETY INDEX

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Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Taking standard safety precautions are recommended in Quito. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation, especially on the Trolébus (Metro) in Quito. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : HIGH

There have been reports of muggings throughout the country, but especially in Quito, Guayaquil, and in remote areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark. Although kidnapping is not common, express kidnapping involving tourists have occurred in Ecuador. Victims are abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs in order to be released.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : HIGH

As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

There has been an increase in robberies on public transportation, especially in Quito. Most incidents take place at night and on interstate buses. There are unlicensed taxis in Ecuador, so make sure you pre-arrange a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible. Official taxis have orange license plates or white plates with an orange strip on the top and video cameras inside. If you take one in Quito and/or Guayaquil, make sure the vehicle has the municipality registration number sticker displayed on the windscreen and doors.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Expect earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Rainy season runs from December to May.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Ecuador. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women travel safely without any issues. However, if you are traveling alone, it is important to exercise particular care in crowds, on public transportation, in rural areas, and in isolated sections. Avoid traveling alone after dark. Women may get some unwanted attention from men. There has been an increase of attacks and serious sexual assault in the city of Montañita.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

Quito is not immune to crime, so you have to use common sense and be vigilant at all times. Like in any other major city, there are some areas that you should avoid. Many neighbourhoods to the north and south of the city are infamous for their gang activity like la Ferroviaria in the south and la Bota in the northern part of Quito. Don’t go wandering off the main streets in La Mariscal, especially at night.  

Old Town

Old Town is located to the south of downtown. It is also known as El Centro Historico (Historic Center), and it is the colonial-era heart of the city. This neighbourhood is home to Quito’s classic old churches, theatres, monasteries, and convents. Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza de Santo Domingo, and Plaza del Teatro are also found here.

New Town

This modern neighborhood is located south of Parque La Carolina and north of Parque El Ejido. Many of the best hotels are found here. La Mariscal is a subsection that belongs to this area and popular among tourists; it’s also where you’ll find many clubs, bars, and restaurants.

North of New Town

Quito’s industry is located to the north of the city. This area is for the working-class and has little interest to most tourists, and it is also considered somewhat dangerous.

Useful Information

Most countries may not need a visa to enter Ecuador for short stays (less than 90 days). Visitors from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia are required to obtain a visa in advance. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your arrival date. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD). ATMs are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in main cities, but be careful of possible scamming and never leave your card out of sight.
The weather in Ecuador varies, and it is determined by altitude. In the mountain valleys, the weather tends to be mild year-round, while the coastal areas have a humid subtropical climate. You’ll find a tropical climate in the Pacific coast, and a temperate and dry climate in the Andean highlands.
The Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and the José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil are Ecuador’s major airports. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page