Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 9 May 2017, 14:29 NZST
  • Still current at: 22 February 2018

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Extreme Risk

There is extreme risk to your security within 20 kilometres of the border with Colombia, except for the official crossing town of Tulcan in the province of Carchi, due to the threat from kidnapping and organised and drug-related crime and we advise against all travel to this area.

High Risk

There is high risk to your security in northern province of Sucumbios due to the threat from kidnapping and organised and drug-related crime and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel.

Some Risk

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in Ecuador due to violent crime and we advise caution.

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Violent Crime
Violent crime, including assault and armed robbery is common in Ecuador, particularly in the major cities, such as Quito and Guayaquil. There have been reports of violent crime, sometimes involving firearms and other weapons, in tourist areas such as jungle lodges and nature reserves. Petty crime including pickpocketing, bag-snatching and distraction theft is also common in transport hubs, markets and other public areas.

We advise all New Zealanders travelling in Ecuador to be security conscious at all times and avoid travelling alone or at night. You should guard your belongings carefully. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery as this could lead to an escalation in violence.

Violent crime is known to occur on public transport and intercity buses. When travelling by bus, do not store anything under your seat or in the overhead compartments. Avoid travel at night and taking intercity buses with a reputation for making stops along the route as criminals have been known to board buses to rob passengers.

There has been an increase in reports of “express kidnappings” in Ecuador, where criminals abduct a victim for a short period of time and force them to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs located inside banks during daylight hours.

Express kidnappings, and other forms of robbery and assault, have been known to occur when using unlicensed taxis. We recommend you only use authorised taxis that display their taxi registration sticker, preferably booked through a radio dispatch service or hotel.

There has been an increase in incidents of sexual assault against foreigners in Ecuador, particularly in the city of Montañita. Visitors, particularly women, should take care, travel in groups and ensure you have reputable accommodation.

Some tourists have had their drinks or food spiked with drugs and have subsequently been sexually assaulted or robbed. We recommend you take care not to leave your food or drinks unattended and be wary of strangers who offer you food, drink, chewing gum or cigarettes.

Civil Unrest
Protests and demonstrations are common in Ecuador, particularly in major cities, and have on occasion resulted in violence. Local laws expressly prohibit political activity by foreigners and participation in such action may result in arrest. New Zealanders in Ecuador are advised to avoid all demonstrations and protests as even those intended as peaceful have the potential to result in violence.

There are unexploded landmines in the Cordillera del Condor region near the Peruvian border. We recommend you remain on well-used roads and paths south of Cuenca, including in the provinces of Zamora-Chinchipe, Morona-Santiago and El Oro.

Seismic Activity
Ecuador is located in an active seismic zone, and is prone to earthquakes with the potential threat of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. There are several active volcanoes on Ecuador’s mainland, including near Quito, and on the Galapagos Islands. New Zealanders are advised to monitor local information sources and adhere to any restrictions and instructions issued by local authorities relating to earthquake or volcano safety.

General Travel Advice
It is a legal requirement in Ecuador to carry identification at all times.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Ecuador should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Ecuador are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Santiago, Chile is accredited to Ecuador

Street Address Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile Telephone +56 2 2616 3000 Fax +56 2 2951 6138 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Chile

Street Address
Isidora Goyenechea 3000, 12th Floor, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile

Telephone: +56 2 2616 3000

Fax: +56 2 2951 6138



Hours: Mon-Fri 0845-1300, 1400-1715 hrs

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