Update From Ecuador: What Travelers Should Know About Visiting Right Now
The country’s Minister of Tourism says visitors can continue with plans to visit unaffected areas.
On the evening of Saturday, April 16, Ecuador suffered a 7.8 earthquake (high on the Richter scale) near the northwest coastal town of Pedernales in the state of Manabí; that region, along with Esmeraldas, were the most affected.
Travel + Leisure reached out to Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism, which reports that the tourism industry in areas including the Amazon, Andes, and Galapagos—including all airports, hotels, tour operators, and ground transportation—“remain open and fully operational.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones,” said Fernando Alvarado, Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism. “Ecuadorians are resilient and hardworking people and have joined forces to help their countrymen in their time of need. We are looking forward to collaborating with our tourism industry partners and friends across Ecuador and from around the world, to help rebuild the areas most affected along Ecuador’s Coast and restore tourism to the region.”
“Visitors traveling to Ecuador or planning a visit to unaffected areas can feel confident that their trip will not be impacted, and can feel secure to continue with their plans to visit the country,” he said.
Here is a summary regarding infrastructure and services across the country’s four regions after the event, so that visitors traveling to Ecuador can know and plan accordingly:
All airports in the area are open and operating normally. The tourism industry here has not been affected.
All airports in the region—including those in the cities of Quito, Latacunga, Cuenca, Loja, and Tulcan—as well as ground transportation and accommodations, are fully operational and spared of any damage. Quito is still evaluating any possible damage to its historical center. Other popular tourism destinations, including Otavalo, Baños, and the areas around the Cotopaxi and Chimborazo volcanoes, have not reported any major damage.
The port city of Guayaquil reports damage to roads, streets, and bridges across the city, though its airport and hotels remain open and fully operational. Guyaquil has asked to limit transit in the city through Monday, April 18, to conduct a thorough damage assessment, which may impact the mobility of tourists.
The cities of Manta, Pedernales, Bahia de Caraquez, and Portoviejo have suffered extensive damage, including the collapse of several buildings, including hotels. Most roads leading into these cities are closed. The Manta airport is closed to commercial flights until further notice, but remains open for flights carrying humanitarian assistance, while the port of Manta is operating.
Located about 847 miles from the mainland, the Galapagos have not been affected the quake. All airports, hotels, and cruises in the area, in addition to guided tours and excursions, are running. A tsunami alert was lifted Saturday, April 16. All parks, nature reserves, and public tourism sites were closed for 24 hours for thorough damage inspections.