Stay Safe in Ecuador
Tourists should use common sense to ensure their safety. Avoid problems by not showing large sums of money, not visiting areas close to the Colombian border, staying away from civil unrest and not using the side streets of major cities at night. The biggest threat in most places is probably petty theft: don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach, for example, and pickpockets can be found in some of the busiest areas, including Quito’s trolebus (metro), bus terminals and the buses themselves. Buses allow hawkers to board briefly and try to sell their wares; however, they are often thieves themselves, so keep an eye on them. Hotel staff are usually a good source of information on where to avoid.
You can always ask the tourist police, police officers or the tourist office about dangerous areas.
Ecuador offers great hiking and climbing opportunities. Unfortunately, some travellers have been attacked and robbed in remote sections of known climbing routes – several rapes have also been reported, so female hikers/mountaineers should be extremely careful. Travellers are strongly advised to avoid solo treks and to go in large groups for safety reasons.
Stay Healthy in Ecuador
Ecuador is widely regarded as a developing country and health risks are a major problem. Food-borne diseases are among the most important, but are easily treated with digestive drugs such as antacids or antidiarrhoeals.
Bottled water is the watchword in Ecuador if you don’t want to get sick. This applies not only to foreigners who don’t have the stomach for Ecuadorian food, but also to Ecuadorians who know that they can get very sick if they don’t boil their water or drink it from the bottle. As a result, you can buy water almost anywhere (even in the most remote places) for well under $0.25 to $0.50. Sometimes hostels and hotels provide bottled water that you can use to brush your teeth.
It is advisable to be vaccinated against typhoid and possibly yellow fever, depending on the region you are visiting.
Outside the major cities and tourist areas, malaria can be a problem during the rainy season on the coast.