Ecuador Travel warnings
Use common-sense precautions when traveling to see the blue-footed boobie in Ecuador. (Photo: fous des galapagos image by nathalie diaz from Fotolia.com )
Ecuador is rich in natural and cultural diversity, equally suited to nature, history and adrenaline conoisserus. Its topography includes everything from a tropical Amazon cloud forest filled with exotic plants and animals to an Andean volcano, Spanish colonial architecture and the creatures of the Galapagos Islands. Although you'll need to take certain precautions before and during a visit to Ecuador, you can overcome all of the travel warnings associated with this country with common sense.
Insect-related diseases, particularly malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and leishmaniasis, are present whenever your travel includes areas of the country lower than 4, 500 feet in elevation. That being said, the U.S. State Department considers the Amazon basin to be the most high-risk area with regards to these diseases. You need proof of yellow fever vaccination whether coming or going from the Amazon basin.
Minimize your chances of contracting any insect-related disease by beginning a treatment regimen prior to leaving your home country. In addition, to avoid insect bites, in particular mosquitoes since they are most likely to carry these diseases, wear a strong insect repellent together with long sleeves and pants to cover arms and legs. Should you become ill with a fever or flu-like symptoms while travelling to any low-elevation area in Ecuador, seek medical attention promptly.
While armed robberty is rare in Ecuador and petty theft is more common, certain parts of the country are considered dangerous. In particular the border region between Ecuador and Colombia has become dangerous thanks to organized crime and illegal drugs and arms trafficking. The U.S. Embassy in Quito advised extreme caution in 2010 when traveling to the northern border region, in particular the areas of Sucumbios, Orellana, Carchi, northern Esmeraldas and southern Esmeraldas south of Atacames. Since 2000 at least 11 U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in the border region and one murdered.
When travelling to other parts of the country, precautions should include watching your belongings when in crowds, keeping expensive watches or jewelry at home or in a safe deposit box, and staying clear of unlit or deserted areas. Also, avoid areas where political demonstrations are underway, as these peaceful parades can turn violent with little warning. Should you become a victim of a crime, contact the U.S. embassy.
H1N1 and Embassy Visits
U.S. citizens traveling in Ecuador are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain updated information on local travel and security. However, due to the 2009/2010 outbreak of the H1N1 virus, those with flu-like symptoms are asked to postpone visits to the embassy or contact the embassy by phone for assistance.