COVID-19 in Ecuador: Here’s What You Need to Know

Your questions about COVID in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands — like border closures, mandatory quarantines and more — answered.
Woman with facemask to protect herself from catching coronavirus in ecuador and during flight
Keeping distance and wearing a face mask remains crucial when traveling. Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay

Anyone who loves to travel is surely getting the itch to take flight to an exciting destination right about now. Ecuador and its magical Galapagos Islands off the coast are treasure troves of natural wonders — and are a travel dream for wanderlusting quarantiners. Like everywhere else on the planet, coronavirus in Ecuador is a central theme affecting the lifestyles of both residents and visitors. The good news is, with strict measures to monitor safety for all, travel to Ecuador is again becoming a possibility.

We at Latin America for Less are here for you to answer any questions about your upcoming trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos. Plus, our expert travel advisors can help you safely and responsibly plan your dream vacation with peace of mind. 

FAQs about COVID-19 in Ecuador

News Updates

October 19, 2020: Individuals 18 years or younger do not need to provide a negative PCR test to enter Ecuador or the Galapagos. Adults over the age of 18 years still need to provide a negative PCR test issues no more than 10 days before arrival, plus an additional negative test taken no more than 96 hours prior to arrival in the Galapagos. 

August 15, 2020: Travelers no longer have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Ecuador, provided that they have tested negative for COVID-19 no more than 10 days before their arrival. More details [below]. To travel to Galapagos, travelers must present a second negative test result from a PCR test taken no more than 96 hours prior to arrival.  

August 6, 2020: U.S. Department of State removed the Global Health Advisory Level 4 in Ecuador. It is now listed as Level 3: Reconsider Travel. US Embassy & Consulate in Ecuador

June 1, 2020: Ecuador borders reopen to travelers, provided that they can present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 10 days before their date of travel. However, they still must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival before commencing their travels around the country.

March 15, 2020: Ecuador closes its borders to foreign travelers. Ecuadorian citizens and residents have an extra day, until March 16, to return to the country. 

What is COVID-19? 

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously found in humans. It was first identified in Wuhan, China in 2019 – hence the name CO (corona),VI (virus) D (disease) 19 (2019). This virus affects the upper respiratory tract, and includes symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches and more. Older adults and those with underlying conditions or compromised immune function are at higher risk for serious symptoms. 80 percent of people get mild symptoms of the virus are are able to heal on their own. The other 20 percent may require hospitalization. 

Is there coronavirus in Ecuador? 

Yes, there are confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ecuador. According to the World Health Organization, as of November 3, 2020 there are 169,562 cases of COVID-19 in Ecuador. This is relatively less than other countries, especially compared to neighboring countries of Colombia, Peru and, above all, Brazil. Brazil has the 2nd highest number of cases in the world, at 3,669,995; topped only by the United States, where there are 5,719,841 cases. 

Is it still safe to travel to Ecuador? 

It is relatively safe to travel to Ecuador, but with caution. On August 6th, the travel advisory for Ecuador was changed from the highest level, a Level 4 Advisory, which states “Do Not Travel,” to a Level 3 Advisory, which states “Reconsider Travel.” Ecuador is taking extensive precautions to ensure the safety of both foreign travelers and citizens, such as requiring proof of negative COVID-19 testing for individuals over the age of 18 years upon arrival to the country, and mandatory quarantine for anyone who does not have a negative test in hand or is exhibiting symptoms. 

What is the mandatory quarantine in Ecuador?

As of August 15, travelers over the age of 18 years who can provide a negative PCR test issued no more than 10 days before arrival no longer need to undergo a 14-day quarantine as was previously required. Travelers 19+ who do not present a negative test will need to:

  1. Undertake a PCR test, at their own expense upon arrival and proceed to quarantine in an authorized accommodation (hotel) for 48 hours or more and wait for the results. If they are negative they are allowed to continue with their trip and if the results are positive they must continue the quarantine and necessary health care will be provided. 
  2. If the traveler chooses not to take the PCR test they must quarantine for 10 days. 

Ecuador border closure

The Ecuadorian borders were closed to foreign travelers starting on Sunday, March 15, 2020; and were closed to citizens and residents starting on Monday, March 16, 2020. Borders reopened to travelers on June 1, 2020, with restrictions and mandatory quarantines, as outlined above, in place.

Are the Galapagos Islands closed due to COVID-19? 

No, travelers may still visit the Galapagos at this time. To visit the Galapagos, travelers 19 years and older must present a second negative test result from a COVID-19 test taken up to 96 hours prior to arrival. Once in Guayaquil or Quito, travelers must proceed to local lodging for at least 48 hours to await test results. With negative test results in hand, there is no quarantine required upon arrival in the Galapagos (nor to return to the mainland of Ecuador). 

How do I safely prepare for my flight to Ecuador? 

A sanitized, socially-distanced traveler is a safe traveler. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the way that air circulates on planes does not cause people to catch COVID-19, as the air is filtered. The bigger issue is that it is more difficult to socially distance on planes and airport security lines; plus there are many high-touch surfaces in airports and aircrafts. Here are recommendations for safe air travel: 

  • Search your airline and see what measures they are taking for social distancing and sanitization on flights. Try to use airlines that are not booking the middle seats on their flights, and/or ones that note their extensive efforts at limiting the spread of the virus. 
  • Keep at least 6 feet distance in the airport and plane at all times. 
  • Where a face mask at all times in the airport and on your flight, a face shield can further protect you as well. 
  • Wash your hands as frequently as possible, or use sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when washing is not possible. 
  • Avoid touching high touch surfaces wherever possible, like handrails, door knobs, kiosks, etc. If you do touch them, sanitize them first and wash or sanitize your hands afterward. 
  • Avoid contact and immediately distance yourself from anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • Completely sanitize your seat, tray table, seat belt and arm rest once you arrive at your seat. 

What do I do if I catch COVID in Ecuador? 

If you contract Coronavirus in Ecuador, follow these guidelines: 

  1. Follow the advice of local authorities.
  2. Call your travel health insurance provider to find a doctor near you.
  3. Make a doctor’s appointment and follow the doctor’s advice.
  4. Call your travel agent to make appropriate arrangements/postponements of your current bookings.
  5. Practice home isolation. Stay indoors, away from other people, and out of public spaces.
  6. Discontinue the upcoming legs of your journey until you are better.

Your Latin America for Less trip 

If you have any questions about a trip booked with Latin America for Less, feel free to check-in with your Travel Advisor for specific information regarding your reservations. If you have questions regarding a self-booked flight, please contact your airline directly.

Disclaimer

Peru for Less does not specialize in healthcare advice. The answers we’ve compiled for the Coronavirus FAQs are based on guidelines and details from reputed institutes cited throughout this article. Some information may not be up-to-date despite our greatest efforts.