On its updated travel information website, the US State Department ranks Ecuador as a Level 1 country, safe to travel taking normal precautions. However, there are a few caveats.

Travel Advisory Ecuador

At the top of the travel advisory Ecuador information page, just to the right of the Travel Advisory Level, hover your mouse over the letter C icon to read: 

Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.

The warning goes on to explain that you should not travel to the northern border of Colombia due to a high rate of ransom kidnappings. Although Americans are not specifically targeted, they have been victims in the past.

Other advisories include other types of crime, from petty theft to express-kidnappings. Please follow the common-sense precautions that we have suggested in the past:

The US State Department also warns about the dangers of natural disasters. Ecuador lies on the Ring of Fire and has a high incidence of earthquakes and volcanic activity. Currently, there are 3 volcanoes listed at the highest level of activity just on mainland Ecuador. Sign-up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive text advisories while traveling in country. Ecuadorian government agencies, like the Instituto Geofisico, also provides warnings in Spanish via their Twitter account. To learn more about volcanic eruptions in Ecuador, please check out:

Other South American Travel Advisories

Ecuador joins several other South American nations in the Level One ranking, the safest:  Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.

Colombia and Brazil are Level Two rankings, worthy of exercising “increased caution.”

Venezuela is the only South American country where the US State Department recommends that travelers “reconsider the trip.” No nation in South America received the dreaded Level 4 warning of no travel.


US State Department New Travel Advisory System, January 2018