Unrest in Ecuador: Message to our guests travelling soon to Ecuador

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Background

You will likely have heard by now that there is some social unrest in Ecuador.   Facing significant budget shortfalls, the nation was compelled to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund a few months ago ($4 billion).  One of the conditions for the loan was the adoption of spending reduction measures.  

On 3 October, president Moreno announced that fuel subsidies would be eliminated.   This sparked widespread protests, as reported earlier on this platform.   Roads have been blocked in many places throughout the country, and indigenous groups have marched into Quito, at times accompanied by violent acts and vandalism.   Tear gas is being used in an attempt to control the situation.   The government has moved its executive to the coastal city of Guayaquil, also the country’s economic capital (Galapagos remains calm with no reports of any significant disturbances).

This kind of situation is not new to Ecuador.   In 2000, following the dollarization of the economy, similar protests took place.   Again in 2005, a president was forcefully ousted from office under threat of violence.   In the past, this kind of unrest lasted several days, and up to two weeks.   Typically, after a show of force has been made (such as we are seeing these days), the government will enter into talks with various representatives and an agreement would be reached.    Still, given the political powerplays that often accompany such demonstrations, it’s not impossible to consider that this government might be toppled. 

Either way, it has been our experience that such unrest lasts for several days to two weeks, after which time things very quickly revert back to normal.   In the meantime, it is still completely possible to fly to Quito (or Guayaquil) and catch a continuing flight to Galapagos.   The Quito airport is located 20 miles / 32 km out of town and has not been the target of disturbances.   The Guayaquil airport is similarly quiet.  

This is not to say that things may not briefly flare up, or that the airports may be the target of demonstrations.  It can happen that airlines will cancel flights to / from Ecuador.  Under such circumstances, you will either be prevented from flying there, or may be left stranded in country for a short while.   Last week, some US airlines did cancel flights for 1 day.  

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

For our guests who are preparing for their upcoming trip to Ecuador, we recommend the following:

  • If your travel date is further than 12 days into the future, we suggest that you monitor the situation and plan on things coming back to normal in time for your trip. There is no need to cancel anything.   See:  https://ec.usembassy.gov/news-events/
  • If your travel date is within the next 12 days, CNH Tours will contact you directly to start a discussion on options, and to plan for the possibility of a need to modify your itinerary or to cancel your trip if this is considered necessary.
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