Are Americans Safe In Ecuador?

“I’m planning on going to Ecuador in October, but a recent public speech by Correa raised my concern about whether an American should feel safe there. Is Ecuador–particularly Quito, Cuenca, and the coast–safe for Americans to visit? Your opinion would be appreciated!”

Joel M., United States

Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison, who spends extended time in Ecuador, responds:

Generally speaking, Ecuador is safe for Americans. In fact, American expats are made to feel very welcome in Ecuador.

That said, each of the major cities of Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil have bad sections that should be avoided…as you’d find in most cities around the world. On the coast, I don’t feel safe in much of the city of Esmeraldas, but am comfortable elsewhere.

Overall, I find that violence and extreme violence are more of a problem in the U.S. than in Ecuador…while non-violent crimes–such as theft, pickpocketing, auto-break-ins, short-changing–are more common in Ecuador. For example, you may leave your car doors unlocked in Vermont…but your radio will disappear like magic from an unlocked car in Ecuador.

And, don’t be concerned about the political shots taken by President Correa at the U.S; it’s just politics as usual. In fact, President Correa has been good for expats, who now enjoy far less civil unrest, and a remarkably better infrastructure.

Continue Reading: The Stranger At The Party Said He’d Go, Too…

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