EcuadorOfficial Name: Republic of Ecuador
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page per stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
No, for stays less than 90 days in any 12-month period
Yellow fever, if traveling in the Amazon Basin or to other South American destinations
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Ave. Avigiras E12-170 y Ave. Eloy Alfaro
Telephone: +(593)(2) 398-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(593)(2) 398-5000
Fax: +(593)(2) 398-5100
U.S. Consulate General Guayaquil
Santa Ana St. and Jose Rodriguez Bonin Ave.
San Eduardo, Ecuador
Telephone: +(593)(4) 371-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(593)(4) 371-7000
Fax: +(593)(4) 371-7045
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Ecuador for information on U.S. – Ecuador relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
If you are traveling for business or tourism, you don't need a visa for stays up to 90 days in any 12-month period. You can request an extension through the provincial migration offices.
- If you are planning a visit longer than 90 days, you must obtain a visa in advance. Visit the Embassy of Ecuador website for the most current visa information.
- You must carry identification, including proof of U.S. citizenship. Carry a photocopy of your passport (including the entry stamp and/or visa) with you at all times.
- If your passport is lost or stolen while you're in Ecuador, you should obtain a police report and apply for a new passport at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General. We also recommend obtaining an entry/exit report from an Ecuadorian immigration office before leaving the country. See Mission Ecuador's website for further information.
- U.S. citizens born in Ecuador are required to show an Ecuadorian passport or national ID card upon entering and exiting Ecuador. More information is available on Mission Ecuador's website.
- U.S. citizen children born in Ecuador who are traveling without one or both parents must present a copy of a birth certificate and written authorization from the absent parent(s). If the parent is deceased, a notarized copy of the death certificate is required. For more information, see Mission Ecuador's website.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ecuador.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on the State Department's website.
Safety and Security
Exercise caution when traveling to northern Ecuador, including the provinces of Carchi, northern Esmeraldas, and Sucumbíos. U.S. government personnel may travel to the northern bank of the Napo River in Sucumbíos, where tourist lodges are located, an area approximately four miles wide. All other U.S. government travel to the northern border area is prohibited without prior permission. This region has a high rate of ransom kidnappings. U.S. citizens are not targeted, but have been kidnapped there in the past.
Crime: Crime is a widespread problem in Ecuador.
- Pick-pocketing, robbery, and hotel room theft are the most common crimes. Tourists have been robbed at gunpoint on beaches and along hiking trails. Passengers arriving at the Quito and Guayaquil airports have also been targets of armed robberies.
- Use hotel safes if available, avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that you need. Stay alert in crowds and on public transportation. Be aware that thieves might create distractions to target you.
- Be alert for express kidnappings, in which criminals enter a taxi and force victims to withdraw money from ATMs. Some victims have been beaten or raped. Avoid hailing taxis on the street. Order by phone or use a service affiliated with major hotels. Avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash at one time. Use ATMs in well-protected indoor areas.
- To avoid carjacking or theft from your car while you are stopped at intersections, drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. Don’t leave valuables in plain view.
- Sexual assaults and rapes can occur, even in tourist areas. Travel in groups, do not leave food or drinks unattended, and never allow a stranger to give you a drink.
- Don’t let your credit card out of your sight in order to avoid credit card “skimming.”
- Incapacitating drugs, such as rohypnol and scopolamine, have been used to facilitate violent robberies and sexual assaults.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police by calling 911. In Quito, you can visit an Ecuadorian Tourist Security Service Attention Center. You should also contact the U.S. Embassy at +593-2-398-5000 or the U.S. Consulate General at +593-4-371-7000.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See the State Department’s webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas. Information about victim’s assistance programs in Ecuador is available on the Mission Ecuador website.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.
Civil Unrest: Demonstrations occur frequently. Protesters often block roads and sometimes burn tires, throw rocks, and damage other personal property.
- Police may respond using water cannons and tear gas.
- Avoid demonstrations and prepare back-up transportation plans. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent with little or no warning.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ecuador are severe. Offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
- Never agree to carry a suitcase or package through customs for anyone.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see the State Department’s website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General immediately. See the State Department’s webpage for further information.
Seismic Activity: There are numerous active volcanoes, and earthquakes are common. Earthquakes can trigger deadly tsunamis. Visit Ecuador’s National Risk Management Secretariat and the Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute for more information.
- Mud or lava flows from Tungurahua volcano could pose a significant and immediate threat to travelers in Baños.
- The town of Latacunga is directly in the path of potential mud or lava flow from the Cotopaxi volcano. Even small emissions from the volcano can trigger avalanches and landslides. Low lying areas in the greater Quito area could also be affected if Cotopaxi erupts.
- In the event of a natural disaster, pay attention to the news media for updates.
- See the Center for Disease Control website for information on emergency preparedness and response.
Ayahuasca: The active ingredient of ayahuasca, DMT, is illegal in the United States and Ecuador. Tourists engaging in recreational use of ayahuasca have died from its effects and been victims of robberies and assaults.
Galápagos Islands: Be aware of the following challenges:
- Many Ecuadorian tour vessels operating in the Galápagos do not meet international safety standards. Inquire about safety features when boarding vessels.
- The two hospitals, on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands, do not perform major medical procedures.
- Serious injury or illness in the Galapagos typically requires medical evacuation to the Ecuadorian mainland or the United States. This can cost $60,000 or more and take significant time to arrange. We strongly recommend you purchase traveler’s health insurance that includes air evacuation.
- There are limited decompression facilities for scuba divers.
Retiring in Ecuador: In recent years, Ecuador has become a top overseas destination for retiring U.S. citizens.
- U.S. citizens have reported unethical practices by lawyers, real estate agents, and others, resulting in costly losses and little hope of remedy through the local judicial system.
- Ecuadorian rules governing visas and customs are subject to change with little notice. The Ecuadorian government publishes little information in English. The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General cannot give detailed advice about Ecuadorian immigration law.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report
- Human Rights Report
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Ecuador. Same-sex marriage is prohibited, but civil unions are allowed. LGBTI individuals may face discrimination.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Travelers with disabilities might have difficulty accessing buildings. Sidewalks in some areas are narrow and poorly maintained.
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Adequate medical and dental care is available in major cities. In smaller communities and in the Galapagos Islands, services are limited, and the quality is generally well below U.S. standards.
- Ambulance service is limited.
- Specialized medical care can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- Pharmacies are widely available. However, some medications might not be offered, and brand names will differ from products in the United States.
- Exercise caution if you explore herbal and folk remedies.
- Quito is 9,400 feet above sea level. Some other tourist destinations in the mountainous region may be higher. Consult your doctor for recommendations concerning medication and lifestyle tips at high altitude.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See the State Department’s webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Ecuador’s National Customs Service to ensure the medication is legal in Ecuador. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are present:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Some roads are poorly maintained and may lack crash barriers, guard rails, signs, and streetlights. Heavy fog and rain make conditions more treacherous.
- Due to a lack of sidewalks, many roads are also used by pedestrians.
- Slow-moving buses and trucks frequently stop in the middle of the road unexpectedly.
- In rural areas, you may encounter livestock in the road.
- Many vehicles are poorly maintained and breakdowns are common.
Traffic Laws: You may use your U.S. driver’s license for up to 90 days. If you are staying in Ecuador longer, you should contact the National Transit Agency to obtain a valid driver’s license.
- Drivers often disobey traffic laws and signals. They rarely yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
- If you are involved in an accident, even if you are not at fault, you may be taken into police custody, especially if there are injuries or if you do not have insurance. If the injuries or damages are serious, you may face criminal charges.
- You might encounter intoxicated drivers. Chances of a drunk-driving accident are higher on weekends and Ecuadorian holidays.
- If you want to import a vehicle, contact Ecuador’s National Customs Service for local regulations. You must pay for local liability insurance, called SPPAT.
Public Transportation: Intra- and inter-city bus passengers are often targets of crime, including robbery and sexual assault.
- Armed criminals have been known to board local city buses and rob passengers.
- Numerous bus accidents occur every year in Ecuador. Many buses are overcrowded, poorly maintained, and lack safety features such as seat belts.
See the State Department’s Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Ecuador's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ecuador’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ecuador’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.