Don’t wear expensive jewellery when walking around and watch your bags on public transport. Where possible, don’t store anything under your seat or in the overhead storage on buses. Methods of distraction include requests for assistance, staged fights and pushing or shoving. Take care when withdrawing money from a bank or at an ATM.
In Quito, take particular care in ‘La Carolina’ and ‘El Ejido’ parks, the districts of ‘La Mariscal’, ‘La Floresta’ and ‘La Marin’, the bus terminals and the old town including the main square and ‘El Panecillo’ hill.Avoid travelling to ‘El Panecillo’ hill on your own or by foot.Lago Agrio (also known as Nueva Loja), the main town in the border province of Sucumbios, and San Lorenzo, in the border province of Esmeraldas, both lie within the 20km zone.The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the area bordering Colombia in Carchi province inside the 20km exclusion zone.All visitors, particularly women, should take extra care to find reputable and secure accommodation whether travelling alone or as a group.
Avoid travelling after dark and be alert to the use of date rape and other drugs in drinks.
Foreigners, including oil workers, are potential targets.
In 2018, there have been serious attacks within the exclusion zone, in the northern province of Esmeraldas.
Avoid taking interstate buses with a reputation for stopping to pick up passengers at night as many criminals use this means to attack passengers.
Express kidnappings - short-term opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from the victim - also occur, particularly in Quito and Guayaquil.
Armed robbery can be a constant hazard throughout Ecuador, but especially in Quito, Guayaquil and in remote areas.