Ecuador travel advisory.
Ecuador is one of the most wonderful countries to visit around the world, however this South American country is not without its own entry, international and domestic travel policies. Or being affected by epidemics or pandemics such as COVID-19 which has had a strong influence on human activities around the globe. This country has 4 regions: the Galapagos Islands, the Coast, the Andes and the Amazon. It is the result of the tectonic activity that lies beneath the earth’s crust and shapes the landscape of this beautiful country. Its constant activity, typical of Mother Nature, can influence human activities, such as the delay of a flight or a strong storm that cancels a city tour.
If you are planning to travel in Ecuador and tour its wonderful cultural and natural richness, you must check our website. Here you will find fundamental information that will help you to be prepared and to plan your trip with the necessary time in order to avoid inconveniences.
Below you will find enough information to serve you during your trip, however if you wish to delve deeper with more knowledge or have access to more information updated in real time by government agencies and entities. You can find it all within the Trail Forth Journal and be monitoring it constantly.
Travel requirements to Ecuador.
This website shows the general guidelines for the most common travel types. Rules and restrictions may vary depending on your citizenship or place of residence. For this reason we recommend you check your country's or territory's information on departure requirements. For more information you can also contact your embassy, high commission or consulate in the destination country or territory to which you are planning to travel.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to ensure that your passport and other travel documents meet the requirements.
All passengers are required to complete a Health Declaration Form with their itinerary and local contact details.
The land border with Colombia is open for all travellers via the Rumichaca international border crossing, from 8am to 5pm.
The land border with Peru re-opened on 18 February 2022 for all travellers via the Huaquillas and Macará international border crossings, from 8am to 5pm.
Most ports remain closed for travel/tourism activities. As of October 2021, international cruise ship operations are permitted in Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manta and Puerto Baquerizo ports.
International commercial flights are operating to and from Ecuador. However, we highly recommend you to contact your airline/travel company to check your travel itinerary, in case of any last minute COVID-19-related changes.
As of October 2021, international cruise ship operations are authorised at the following ports: Esmeraldas, Manta, Guayaquil and Puerto Bolivar. However, there are strict guidelines and measures to comply with to obtain the relevant permissions.
Entry regulations are set and enforced by the Ecuadorian authorities. Here you can find all the requirements for your entry to Ecuador.
Testing / screening on arrival to Ecuador
Travellers over 3 years old have the option to either present their full COVID-19 vaccination certificate (i.e. both doses for those vaccinations which consist of two doses), received at least 14 days prior the flight date, or a negative laboratory PCR test, taken up to 72 hours prior to boarding their flight.
There are no requirements for travellers under 3 years old.
Passengers arriving from countries whose regulations state that COVID-19 vaccination is available only after 6 months of having been infected, and who are thus unable to show their full vaccination certificate, will be required to present together with their COVID-19 infection certificate, an official document proving the above dispensation and regulation (valid for 6 months).
If, on arrival, a passenger presents COVID-19 related symptoms, they will be evaluated by a Ministry of Public Health (MSP) representative, prior to entering the immigration control area. Suspected cases of COVID-19 will be required to take a rapid antigen test. If the result is positive, the passenger will be instructed to self-isolate for 10 days.
Non-residents must self-isolate in a hotel at their own expense. If self-isolation is required, the passenger must include the contact number and full address where they will self-isolate on the Health Status Declaration Form. Compliance with the isolation requirement and the passenger’s state of health will be monitored via telephone calls.
Local residents can self-isolate at their homes.
The Ministry of Public Health has published more information on coronavirus protocols and direct contact options (Spanish only).
The Government will monitor the situation in other countries with high risk of contagion to prevent incoming flights.
If you’re fully vaccinated
If you are fully vaccinated, you can enter Ecuador. At least 14 days must have passed since your second dose of the vaccine, and the vaccine must be approved by the World Health Organisation.
Proof of vaccination status
Travellers over 3 can present proof that they have been fully vaccinated to enter Ecuador. Alternatively they can show a negative laboratory PCR test result, taken up to 72 hours prior to boarding the flight.
Airline crew members and children under 3 years old are exempt from these requirements.
Ecuador will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
If you are not fully vaccinated you must present a laboratory PCR test, taken up to 72 hours prior to boarding your flight, in order to enter Ecuador.
Airline crew members and children under 3 years old are exempt from these requirements.
If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year
If you are not fully vaccinated but have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last year, you can enter Ecuador. You will need to show evidence of a positive laboratory PCR test (taken more than 14 days and less than a year ago).
Visitors previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and who continue to test positive with a laboratory PCR test after a month, should present a medical certificate issued in the country of origin which indicates that they are non-infectious. This will be accepted as long as they are no longer showing symptoms.
Residents of Ecuador
Travellers over 3 years old must present either their full COVID-19 vaccination certificate (i.e. both doses for those vaccinations which consist of two doses), received at least 14 days prior the flight date, or a laboratory PCR test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to boarding their flight.
If you are resident in Ecuador your passport should be stamped on entry. For further information, see our Living in Ecuador guide.
Children and young people
Children between 3 and 16 years old must submit either their full COVID-19 vaccination certificate, with at least 14 days validity, or a negative laboratory PCR test taken 72 hours before the flight.
See the requirements for travelling with children.
Travel to and from the Galapagos Islands
Travellers over 3 years old must present a full COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative laboratory PCR test taken 72 hours before their flight to the Galapagos.
Any passengers presenting COVID-19 related symptoms will be denied entry to the Islands. National and foreign tourists must also present evidence of a return flight, as well as the Galapagos Transit Control Card, to be filled out online at least 24 hours before the flight. Travel health insurance is mandatory for foreign tourists.
For inter-island travel, all passengers over 12 years must present their complete vaccination certificate.
If you’re transiting through Ecuador
If you are transiting through Ecuador, you are subject to the same COVID-19 requirements as for entering Ecuador, such as a fully vaccination status.
Ecuador’s land border with Peru remains closed until further notice.
Airline crew members and children under the age of 3 are exempt from Ecuador’s current entry requirements (presenting the COVID-19 vaccination certificate and/or negative laboratory PCR test).
Check your passport and travel documents before your travel
Both visitors and residents must have a minimum of 6 months’ validity on their passport from the date of entry.
This is a strict legal requirement from the Ecuadorean government. If your passport does not meet this requirement, you will be denied entry to Ecuador.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
On arrival in Ecuador, you will be allowed to remain in the country for up to 90 days within a 12 month period.
You can extend your 90 days (only once) online by a further 90 days by paying a fee. If you wish to extend your stay, you must begin the extension process before the first 90 day period expires. For general immigration information, please visit the Ecuadorean Migration website. For general enquiries contact: email@example.com.
The MFA is encouraging customers not to approach their offices across the country without a confirmed appointment (including for residence visa renewals and other services). For general guidance contact: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Get the relevant emails for other MFA’s Coordinaciones Zonales here.
The penalty for overstaying is a fine. As with other immigration offences, if the fine is not paid, you will not be able to return to Ecuador for 1 year and your name will remain on immigration records. If the fine is paid, you can return with an official visa issued by an Ecuadorean Embassy overseas.
If you wish to work or study in Ecuador, check visa requirements with the Ecuadorean Embassy in London before travelling.
As of January 2019, permanent and temporary resident visas are issued electronically. Ecuadorean visas are no longer stuck in passports. The online visa is sent by email.
If you enter Ecuador via the border with Peru or Colombia, you must ensure you get an official entry stamp at the border showing the date of your arrival. There have been cases of buses not stopping at the border, which has caused great difficulties for foreign visitors for failing to comply with immigration regulations. Travellers may be requested to return to the border entry point to get the required stamp and entry registration. If there is no exit stamp from the country you are coming from, the Ecuadorean immigration officials cannot give you an entry stamp, thus you will be denied entry.
Although local regulations may not always be implemented, all visitors to the Galapagos Islands should provide a copy of their hotel booking. Likewise, visitors staying with local residents in the islands should have an invitation letter from their host available. The maximum stay in the Galapagos Islands as a tourist is 60 days.
Information on vaccination cases and COVID-19 in Ecuador.
Commercial flights and cruises are operating to and from Ecuador, however due to the cancellation of flights to and from countries including those with transit cities for Ecuador, we strongly recommend that you check with your travel company/airline for the latest information.
Here are some suggested tips to help you be prepared in case your plans change.
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries can further restrict travel or introduce new rules at short notice. Although the current government of Ecuador has stressed on many occasions that it will not revert to the measure of confinement. And this has been met. Possible variants of COVID-19 may change the scenario. For this reason it is recommended that you check with your travel company or airline for any changes in transportation that may delay your trip to visit or return home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure to::
- Being able to access the money.
- Understand what your insurance will cover.
- You can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned.
The authority to impose traffic restrictions, curfews and controls on social gatherings rests with local municipalities and other competent authorities, in conjunction with Ecuador's National Emergency Operations Committee (COE).
The general nationwide biosecurity measures include:
- mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for Ecuadorean nationals and foreign residents
- as of 28 April 2022, the use of masks is no longer mandatory in public spaces (both indoors and out). However, private establishments may impose their own biosecurity rules and request the use of masks. We recommend you carry a mask together with your proof of vaccination
- the land border with Colombia is open for all travellers via the Rumichaca international border crossing, from 8am to 5pm
- the land border with Peru re-opened on 18 February 2022 for all travellers via the Huaquillas and Macará international border crossings, from 8am to 5pm
- most ports remain closed for travel/tourism activities. As of October 2021, international cruise ship operations are permitted in Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manta and Puerto Baquerizo ports.
All people over 12 (including foreign tourists) must present their COVID-19 vaccination certificate (showing 2 complete doses) to enter establishments providing non-essential services (for example, but not limited to, shops, supermarkets, restaurants, transport, etc). This rule has also been enforced at airports. This will not apply to public sector institutions and for essential services such as health and education. COVID-19 vaccination certificates are also mandatory for all passengers over 5 years old for all inter-district, interstate, urban and tourist buses.
Please note that Ecuador’s National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) only makes recommendations, but the power to impose these restrictions rests with local authorities. As a result, you may see some discrepancies between local areas. Municipality authorities will decide whether to enforce the COE’s announcement of 28 April 2022 regarding the optional use of masks in public spaces. Quito municipality has stated they will align to the COE’s resolution on the use of masks, but highly recommend its use in public indoor spaces. Further local restrictions, including vehicle circulation restrictions, are responsibility of each local authority. The most up to date information can be found via the local authorities’ social media channels:
Quito: @MunicipioQuito; Guayaquil: @alcaldiagye; Cuenca: @MunicipioCuenca; Galapagos: @CGGalapagos; Loja: @MunicipioDeLoja
Ecuador’s National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has a website with their official resolutions (Spanish only).
During the national health emergency, the Ecuadorean Ministry of Health will continue to issue the required health prevention measures, including PCR tests and any mandatory self-isolation (Aislamiento Preventivo Obligatorio – APO) requirements.
Visit the Quito “Mariscal Sucre” International Airport website for details on their COVID-19 protocols and health measures for passengers.
Visit the Guayaquil “Jose Joaquin de Olmedo” International Airport website for general information on COVID-19 measures and related FAQ (in Spanish).
Healthcare in Ecuador
If you present symptoms while in Ecuador, you should call 171 (Spanish only) and you will be assisted by trained Ministry of Public Health (MSP) personnel. You can also call 911, which has some English-speaking operators. For further information (in Spanish), follow the Ministry of Public Health official social media channels @Salud_Ec.
Private COVID-19 tests are carried out in laboratories approved by the Ministry of Health.
Most private labs offer testing at home or at hotels; the tests are easy to arrange at an extra fee. Quito and Guayaquil international airports also have private labs in place for COVID-19 tests.
The Ecuadorean government recommends the “SaludEC” app, a new platform to support the COVID-19 response. It can provide general reports, official announcements and information to evaluate potential COVID-19 symptoms. It also allows online medical checks and scheduling appointments at Ministry of Public Health centres for non-coronavirus needs.
Below you can review information on the current status of the infection curve and the level of vaccinated people in Ecuador.
Natural events in Ecuador.
Ecuador is located in an area of seismic activity. All the beauty that can be seen in its mountains is years of movements under the surface that we observe. There are natural events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.
Some people have never experienced this type of event before, either in their usual places of residence or on previous trips. For this reason it is recommended to be familiar with the relevant safety and evacuation procedures of the place you are going to visit. In case of a natural event, you should monitor the official channels - the Instituto Nacional Geofísico del Ecuador - IGEPN and the Servicio Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos y Emergencias - and follow the advice of local authorities.
You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures and, in particular, with the instructions of your accommodation. More information on what to do before, during and after an earthquake is available on the US Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
It is recommended to consult official sources for accurate information and news, such as the Servicio Nacional de Riesgos y Gestión de Emergencias, the Instituto Geofísico Nacional and the ECU911 emergency services. Always remain calm, follow local instructions and keep your emergency backpack handy.
The last major earthquake (magnitude 7.8) was on 16 April 2016, which caused extensive damage and hundreds of deaths. The coastal provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas were the worst affected, although the quake was felt strongly in the rest of the country.
The Servicio Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos y Emergencias (National Risk and Emergency Management Service) and the Instituto Geofísico Nacional (National Geophysical Institute) are the only official channels responsible for providing information and instructions.
Tsunami risk is present along the coast and in the Galapagos Archipelago. There is a network of sirens in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabi that will sound in case of a tsunami warning. You should familiarise yourself with evacuation route maps and follow the advice of local authorities.
There are numerous active and potentially active volcanoes in the highlands of Ecuador and the Galapagos Archipelago, some of which are currently erupting. Ash fall from active volcanoes can disrupt domestic and international flights throughout the country and can also present health risks, especially for travellers with existing respiratory problems.
Ecuadorian law stipulates that anyone wishing to climb a glaciated mountain must be accompanied by an officially accredited guide.
Information from the Instituto Geofísico Nacional del Ecuador ("National Geophysical Institute of Ecuador") and the Servicio Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos y Emergencias ("National Service for Risk and Emergency Management") are the responsible entities that can issue information on natural events related to volcanoes.
There are currently alerts and access restrictions for the active volcanoes Reventador (amber) and Sangay (yellow). Airports are allowed to alter flight schedules in advance, only in case of ash fall in the area of the volcano.
The Sangay volcano located in the Amazon region (Morona Santiago province) has experienced several eruption cycles recently, some eruptions have emitted ash reaching the provinces of Chimborazo, Bolivar, Los Rios, Guayas. And with less intensity the provinces of Manabí and Santa Elena. Yellow alerts remain in effect for the provinces of Morona Santiago and Chimborazo (issued on 5 December 2019 and 16 June 2020 respectively).
You should follow the instructions issued by the local authorities, which include, for example, wearing masks and goggles, and staying away from the volcano and the Upano River.
The Wolf volcano, located on Isabela Galapagos Island, started a new eruptive cycle on 7 January 2022. However, local authorities have not issued a warning as there are no populated areas nearby.
On 4 October 2017, the summit of Cotopaxi volcano was reopened after more than two years of restrictions following the August 2015 eruption. You should closely monitor official sources of information before considering a climb.
The rainy season usually runs from December to May. The irregular weather phenomenon 'El Niño/La Niña' occurs every few years and can cause unusually heavy rainfall, widespread flooding and warmer weather across Ecuador. The risk of landslides is higher in times of heavy rainfall.
During heavy rainy seasons, you should monitor local media and discuss your itinerary with your tour operator to avoid disruption. You should also avoid river crossings due to possible strong currents and take care in affected areas. If you plan to undertake climbing and high mountain climbing, seek official advice from local authorities and tour operators. In the coastal region, you should seek local advice on tidal activity and take appropriate precautions.
Forest fires occur in many areas of Ecuador, but especially in the province of Pichincha. This is due to high temperatures, strong winds and little rain, but also to people lighting bonfires. If you see a fire, call 911.