Updated 5 Oct 2022.
Life in Ecuador is returning to normal. COVID cases have been steadily falling since mid-2021, the borders are open, and travellers are returning to the country’s iconic tourist destinations.
Ecuador prioritised the tourism industry and the communities surrounding its iconic destinations during the early stages of its vaccination rollout. Visitors to Ecuador’s world-famous Galapagos Islands will be happy to learn the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s adult population boasts an impressive 100% vaccination rate. Over 77% of people in the rest of the country have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Restrictions such as lockdowns and curfews are now a tactic of the past for the Ecuadorian government.
“Life is practically back to normal, no lockdowns and no curfew. The main thing visitors will see, though, is that the entire population wears a mask outside of their homes (matching ties and socks with the same design as face masks, even babies in strollers wear masks).”Marcel Perkins – Latin Trails
Ecuador Has Reopened to International Travellers
Ecuador opened its borders to international travellers in September 2020. After staggering the initial reopening stages, all areas, including the famous Galapagos Islands, are now open to international travellers.
Ecuador was granted the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council to recognise its advanced health and hygiene protocols widely adopted throughout its travel and hospitality industries.
Requirements to enter Ecuador
- Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test – taken within 72 hours before departure.
- Fully vaccinated travellers can present evidence of vaccination against COVID-19 – a complete COVID-19 vaccination certificate completed at least 14 days before arrival. Or, they can show results of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight.
- Submit a Health Declaration Form.
The above requirements apply to all travellers over three years of age. Passengers may be tested on arrival if they show symptoms of COVID-19. If they test positive, they’re required to self-isolate for 7 days at their residence or other accommodation, at their own expense.
Those visiting the Galapagos are also required to complete a Galapagos Transit Control Card issued by the Galapagos Government Council. Visitors can obtain the traffic control card from the Galapagos Government Council counter located in Quito or Guayaquil airports.
Visit Ecuador Travel for further information and updates.
What Happens If I Get COVID in Ecuador?
If you test positive for COVID while travelling in Ecuador, you’ll be required to isolate for seven days at the accommodation of your choice. The cost will be at your own expense, which is why it’s highly recommended to purchase travel insurance that covers COVID before going overseas.
In an emergency, you can contact your country’s consulate in Ecuador for immediate assistance.
Tourism in Ecuador
Marcel Perkins, managing director of Ecuador’s Latin Trails, notes that international travellers are gradually increasing in numbers, particularly in Ecuador’s traditional tourism regions. Perkins suggests North Americans and Europeans make up the bulk of international visitors at this stage, but travellers from neighbouring Latin American countries are also on the rise.
Domestic travel has bounced back and is now up from previous years, with Ecuadorians making the most of the current situation to visit rural areas and off the beaten track destinations.
“Local tourism has increased about 70% from past years. This has allowed rural towns and some off-the-beaten-path destinations to continue offering services for travellers.”Marcel Perkins – Latin Trails
Although locals have been exploring Ecuador’s hidden treasures, international travellers are returning in droves to Ecuador’s traditionally popular tourist attractions. International tourists currently make up approximately 70% of all visitors to the world-famous Galapagos Islands, the Amazon, and the more well-known parts of the Andes. And with destinations like these, why wouldn’t Ecuador be on the top of many international travellers’ lists?
A Healthy Future for Tourism in Ecuador
After a difficult couple of years, the future for Ecuador’s tourism sector looks bright. The boom in local tourism, combined with favourable government policies, has encouraged further investment in the industry. Across Ecuador, new restaurants, hotels, and exciting experiences are opening up for travellers.
Latin Trails’ Managing Director, Marcel Perkins, is recording steady growth and is projecting international reservations will continue to increase. Perkins says the Ecuadorian government has played an essential role in the revival.
“The ministry of tourism has been very active in getting tax reliefs and establishing a promotion fund for the country.”Marcel Perkins – Latin Trails
Perkins recently undertook a trip from Quito to Loja (Ecuador’s southernmost region) to inspect and research the current state of the country’s travel industry and was encouraged by what they witnessed firsthand.
Many of the cities and regions Perkins visited were flourishing with domestic travellers. Exciting new restaurants had opened with a renewed focus on traditional cooking techniques, new hotels were available, and musical performances and cultural events were again running.
Now that Australia is has resumed international travel, Australian travellers can now experience everything Ecuador has to offer. Whether joining the locals and exploring the road less travelled or discovering the incredible world of the Galapagos archipelago, Ecuador is the perfect antidote to the restraints of recent years.
We are incredibly excited to get back out there and explore everything Ecuador has to offer. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about planning your Ecuador adventure. Australian travellers are also encouraged to visit the Australian Government travel advice website, Smart Traveller, for up-to-date international travel information.
This piece is one in a series on travel restrictions throughout Latin America. For information on travel restrictions in South America, please read our dedicated South America Travel Restrictions piece.