Travel in Latin America
Ecuador is a generally safe country, but as with all countries, certain areas should be avoided by travelers. The country has many attractions for the savvy traveler, and those who stay aware of their surroundings and keep an eye on their possessions shouldn't have any problems.
Ecuador is a Spanish-speaking country in South America that uses the U.S. dollar as its currency. Ecuador has a variety of geographical features and tourist attractions, including the Galapagos Islands, which are touted as one of the top diving destinations in the world.
Ecuador has a developing economy, and accommodations are generally adequate but can vary in quality, according to the U.S. State Department. When booking a hotel or hostel, inquire about secure storage such as lockers or a safe in which to keep your passport, cash and other valuables when you are away from your room.
Political demonstrations, protests and rallies occur often in Ecuador, and can sometimes be dangerous. According to the U.S. State Department, protesters "may burn tires, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails, engage in destruction of property and detonate small improvised explosive devices during demonstrations. Police response may include water cannons and tear gas."
Drug traffickers have a strong presence in the northern border area of Ecuador. That area should be avoided, especially the areas of Sucumbios, Orellana and Carchi, northern Esmeraldas and southern Esmeraldas, south of Atacames. Crime in these areas is often violent, and traveling alone or staying overnight is not recommended.
Identification should be carried at all times in Ecuador. Photocopies of your passport are a good alternative to carrying your original. Passport theft is on the rise in Ecuador, so carrying a copy will keep your real passport safe as well as suffice for police and other officials.