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The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to areas within 20km of the Ecuadorean border with Colombia, except:

  • the El Angel ecological reserve in Carchi province
  • the Rumachica border crossing, the town of Tulcan, and the Pan American Highway in Carchi province

Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Ecuador’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

Travelling to areas within 20km of the Ecuadorean border with Colombia to which the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to carries significant risks due to the presence of organised crime linked to the production and trafficking of drugs.

On 31 October and 1 November, there were a series of explosions in the north and north-west of Guayaquil, as well as two further explosions in the northern and southern parts of Esmeraldas city. Whilst these incidents were not in the normal tourist areas of Guayaquil or Esmeraldas city, British visitors are advised to be extra vigilant and to monitor local news and official instructions. A 45 day state of emergency (from 1 November to 15 December) has been declared in Guayas, Esmeraldas and Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas provinces, with a curfew being in place from 23:0001:00 to 05:00 local time. See Crime

The security situation in the areas of Esmeraldas, Carchi and Sucumbios provinces, which lie outside the 20km border zone can change quickly. If you are travelling to these areas, including Cuyabeno, the Napo river, and the El Angel ecological reserve where there are a number of eco lodges, you should take local advice, pay close attention to warnings issued by the Ecuadorean authorities and be particularly cautious and vigilant. Illegal armed groups and criminal gangs are present in these areas. Travelling during daylight hours and with a reputable operator with official guides, emergency plans and good communication systems will reduce risks. Some lodges are a long distance from the nearest major hospital and helicopter evacuation may be necessary in an emergency. See Local travel

The nationwide political protests across Ecuador that began on 13 June 2022 ceased on 30 June following an agreement between the government and protestors. The situation in the country has calmed since the agreement.

The nationwide protests in June, and previously in October 2019, caused extensive disruption. Some protests became violent, especially in Quito, and led to a number of fatalities. Avoid any protests or demonstrations and keep up to date with development via official local sources.

It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

Around 2,500 British nationals visited Ecuador in 2021, and 12,400 between January and September 2022. Most visits are trouble free.

Terrorist attacks in Ecuador cannot be ruled out. See Terrorism

Ecuador is situated in an area of intense seismic activity. There is a high risk of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. You should make sure you are aware of the risks and are familiar with the relevant safety and evacuation procedures. In the event of a natural disaster, you should monitor official channels – the Ecuadorean National Geophysical Institute and the National Service for Risk and Emergency Management (both Spanish only) – and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Natural disasters

Cases of armed robbery are increasing and petty crime is common. See Crime

UK health authorities have classified Ecuador as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support may be limited in parts of Ecuador.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.