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Unrest in Ecuador

Unrest in Ecuador

Old Jan 12, 2024, 7:41 pm
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Unrest in Ecuador

We have a trip planned to the Galapagos in mid March. Our flights are dca/mia/gye arriving in gye on3/14. Given the recent terrorist activity in gye do we need to cancel? Our travel agent suggests a wait and see. However, what I have read indicates serious safety issues. We are traveling in a group of 8 who are all seniors ranging from mid 60's to late 70's. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 8:01 pm
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Originally Posted by jmj9905
We have a trip planned to the Galapagos in mid March. Our flights are dca/mia/gye arriving in gye on3/14. Given the recent terrorist activity in gye do we need to cancel? Our travel agent suggests a wait and see. However, what I have read indicates serious safety issues. We are traveling in a group of 8 who are all seniors ranging from mid 60's to late 70's. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Personally, I would definitely take a wait and see. Your trip is still two months off.
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Old Jan 12, 2024, 11:18 pm
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I know nothing about unrest in Guayaquil. Keep that in mind with what I say.

We flew from Quito to the Galapagos, spending a couple days in Quito first. We found Quito interesting and sufficient sights to keep us engaged.

We returned from Guayaquil, spending a couple nights in Guayaquil. There was little of note to see there.

The link below says that some of the Quito flights go via Guayaquil. Ours did not. Still, is there any issue at the airport? Are you able to transit the airport without going into the city?

https://www.galapagosislands.com/tra...n/flights.html
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 12:42 am
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Quito has a ton of things to see and do; Guayaquil has very little. But Quito sits at 9,400 feet elevation, and the altitude adjustment isn't easy for everybody.

The timing of flights to the islands doesn't line up well with international flights. You really are stuck spending at least a night on the mainland, either in Guayaquil or Quito.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 12:59 am
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Looks like this isn’t related to AA or AAdvantage, so I’ll shift it to the relevant Destination forum.

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Old Jan 13, 2024, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by jmj9905
We have a trip planned to the Galapagos in mid March. Our flights are dca/mia/gye arriving in gye on3/14. Given the recent terrorist activity in gye do we need to cancel? Our travel agent suggests a wait and see. However, what I have read indicates serious safety issues. We are traveling in a group of 8 who are all seniors ranging from mid 60's to late 70's. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
i mean i guess things could be a bit more stable by march. hard to say. i had a trip next week to GYE for 2 weeks to visit family, but just now we rescheduled until may. give it a few months. hopefully by then its a bit better.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 6:24 am
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I went to Guayaquil about 15 years ago to give medical lecture. Even then it was the most unsafe place I had ever been.

Armed security guard on the shuttle from airport to hotel.

Told by hotel NOT to walk around the hotel neighborhood.

Armed guard to take me back and fourth to meeting site and to house of the Doctor who had invited me to Guayaquil.

Doctor's house had surrounding wall 8 feet high and top of wall had cut glass pieces lining it!

They also had to Alsatian security dogs.

I was never so glad to leave after two days in my life, I would not even consider going now given the worsening violence with the drug wars.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 1:58 pm
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I like Guayaquil, and the place has really cleaned up its act in the past 10-15 years. I have walked around the downtown area alone, even at night. Maybe I was foolish to do so, but I didn't feel unsafe.

Now, the events of this past week are a different story, but they are not localized to Guayaquil. The gang problem is countrywide but is most pronounced in its two largest cities. There is a sense that Ecuador is headed off the rails if the government cannot take control of problem soon.

To the OP, you still have two months before your trip. I wouldn't make a decision yet.
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Old Jan 13, 2024, 9:14 pm
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I agree with SJOGuy. I have spent a little time in Guayaquil and have friends there. It has a lower homicide rate per capita than a number of major US cities, including Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans but I dont hear any stories of folks saying don't travel to or leave your hotel in those cities. Personal security for US and western European tourists, especially business tourists, is exceedingly common in many cities all over the world. Well-to-do residents in every city everywhere around the world have security around their homes. My in-laws (civil engineer and a private school owner) in Mexico have never had a problem but also have bars on the windows and 8-foot walls with electrified barbed wire and glass on top - and they live in a gated community.

The troubles in ECU are significant. And since they are prominently on the news it seems to define the country. But this is as close to the truth as the US being paved with gold and everyone has multiple machine guns in running gun battles.

Definitely wait until your cancellation drop dead date. Even then, you are going to the Galapagos so how much time will you actually be spending in GYE? Probably not more than a day or so. If things stay as they are, the likelihood of being involved in anything untoward is very, very low. Just like going to Chicago, or Washington DC, for a day or two.

Last edited by Section 107; Jan 13, 2024 at 9:24 pm
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Old Jan 14, 2024, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
I know nothing about unrest in Guayaquil. Keep that in mind with what I say.

We flew from Quito to the Galapagos, spending a couple days in Quito first. We found Quito interesting and sufficient sights to keep us engaged.

We returned from Guayaquil, spending a couple nights in Guayaquil. There was little of note to see there.

The link below says that some of the Quito flights go via Guayaquil. Ours did not. Still, is there any issue at the airport? Are you able to transit the airport without going into the city?

https://www.galapagosislands.com/tra...n/flights.html
We fly into Guayaquil arriving about 1p.m.local time and spend the night at the Wyndom. We are picked up the next morning and fly to Baltra in the Galapagos. We then board our ship. At the end of the cruise we return to Guayaquil for another overnight. The next morning we fly out.
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Old Jan 14, 2024, 4:29 pm
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Thank you all for your positive reviews. The current situation is quite different. Drug gangs took over a prison and a local television station. The president has declared a state of emergency and is bringing in the Military to fight the drug gangs. I am very concerned about the safety issues. However, the trip is 2 months away, so I will wait and see. Thank you all for your prompt responses.
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Old Jan 14, 2024, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by jmj9905
Thank you all for your positive reviews. The current situation is quite different. Drug gangs took over a prison and a local television station. The president has declared a state of emergency and is bringing in the Military to fight the drug gangs. I am very concerned about the safety issues. However, the trip is 2 months away, so I will wait and see. Thank you all for your prompt responses.
You're right. These are disturbing developments. They go way beyond questions of crime, and it doesn't matter that Guayaquil has less of it than it used to have. This goes to the very future of Ecuador. If the government can't take control of this problem, the country in general will become dangerous to visit.

Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid at least one night on both ends in Quito or Guayaquil. The timing of international flights does not mesh with domestic flights to the Galapagos. I'm sure direct international flights to the islands will never be allowed for environmental reasons.
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Old Jan 15, 2024, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by Section 107
<snip> It has a lower homicide rate per capita than a number of major US cities, including Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans but I dont hear any stories of folks saying don't travel to or leave your hotel in those cities.
Look... I'm not at all an "alarmist" when it comes to travel and we go just about anywhere including places that might be considered less than safe.

But the argument you have attempted to make here is just beyond silly. Long term crime averages, over time, have literally nothing to do whatsoever, with what is happening in a moment in time (i.e. right now, today). Yes, historically crime in this destination has been lower than the citieis you are quoting. But that does not mean, ipso facto, that exogenous events cannot occur that change the "norm" even if just for a few weeks or months. Would I travel to Ecuador? Yes. Am I scared to go to Ecuador? No. Would I travel there right now for vacation? No, probably not. Why? Because I go on vacation to relax and enjoy myself and frankly, right now, it just doesn't seem that fun to me. I don't go to places I won't have fun in just because I have non-refundable tickets or something. There are plenty (and I mean plenty) of cool places to go in this world so, for the moment, I see know real reason to travel to Ecuador at this moment. Would I go in the future when this blows over? Sure, but that decision, frankly, has exactly zero to do with the long term homicide rate in New Orleans.

I think the media does have a tendency to lead with fear mongering articles, that attempt to paint a place as being more scary/dangerous than it really is, just as you've pointed out. But I also think there are some FTers that suffer from a similiar (but they think "honorable") malady in the other direction and attempt to paint a picture that there is never anything bad going on, again in a moment in time, that might be worth pause or reconsideration.

And for the record, if what was happening in Ecuador which, without question, is different that what is happening in Baltimore, Detroit, or New Orleans, on a daily basis was happening in those cities I probably wouldn't visit them either, unless I had to.

Regards

P.S. For the record, I do agree with the consensus advice to the OP that given their trip is still months out, I'd likely wait it out a bit as things could change/stabilize quickly.
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Last edited by scubadu; Jan 15, 2024 at 6:45 am
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Old Jan 18, 2024, 7:14 pm
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The latest news from Guayaquil is not good. Apparently the prosecutor who was named to prosecute the gang that took over the TV station was assassinated. Not good news.
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Old Jan 18, 2024, 7:48 pm
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What is the timetable for having to make a decision?
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