Why You Should Think Twice Before Taking That Picture in Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Picture by Liliana Amundaraín/Flickr CC

There are definitely many opportunities for picture-taking in Ecuador.  But, you may want to think twice before pulling out that camera.  There are many robberies in Quito, especially, and many tourists have had their cameras stolen right out of their hands while taking pictures.  Most people who visit Quito are victims of a crime during their visit. In fact, Quito is known to be the capital of robberies and scams. It is best not take public transportation in Quito and to never walk the streets at night.  People are even known to blow a drug called “devil’s breath” in tourist’s faces which can cause a person to become helpless.  They will still be conscious but unable to stop a robbery.  People are also known to put this in food or drinks as well.

Taxis can also be dangerous in Quito, as many people are robbed in them, too.  It is  best to stay at hotels where you can arrive private transportation to and from your hotel.  Kidnappings also are pretty common in Quito. Unfortunately, the police in Ecuador don’t step in to intervene in these situations either. In fact, you will often see groups of them standing around, and the running joke is that Quito is too dangerous for the police to leave each other’s side.  Also, the government doesn’t prosecute for thefts that are less than $600, so it’s easy to see why robbery is so common.  The most dangerous area in Quito is La Mariscal.

Fortunately, there are safe areas to visit in Ecuador.  The most dangerous areas of Ecuador are Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca.  Also, solo hiking or climbing in remote areas is often known to be dangerous. If you avoid these areas, your travels in Ecuador should be safe and without incident.  You, as a tourist, get to decide where to spend your money.  A clear message needs to be sent to the governments of the dangerous areas that until they start taking safety seriously that these dangerous cities will lose precious tourist dollars.