Staying Safe in Northern Ecuador

Previously, the US State Department had a travel warning for Ecuador's northern border region, including the provinces of Sucumbios, northern Orellana, Carchi and Northern Esmeraldas (from Esmeraldas to San Lorenzo). Kidnappings and crime were a big threat. Although those threats have lessened, you should still stay alert in this region. Top tips to stay safe include the following:

  • Cross the border to Colombia from San Lorenzo with caution, if at all.
  • Walk in groups – especially at night. Better yet, take a taxi.
  • On the coast, do not leave the central tourist district (the strip with all the booming bars) at night.
  • Avoid cocaine. Dabbling in drugs is particularly dicey in these parts.
  • Take limited amounts of cash and leave your camera and other expensive items locked up in your hotel.
  • As a general rule, if you see women and children around, it's safer.