Upcoming trips in early 2024 & Latest info on the FCDO updates
We understand you might have some questions or concerns about travelling to Ecuador in the coming weeks, so please take a look at these FAQs below and contact us or your host if you have any questions:
1. What has been happening?
Recent international news coverage and FCDO updates have raised the profile of existing drug gang-related issues in Ecuador. Civil unrest in early January 2024 has been concentrated in Guayaquil, a large city on the Pacific coast of the country (which does not feature in any trips being sold via the MBA Platform).
A 60-day ‘State of Emergency’ was announced by the Ecuadorian authorities on Monday January 8th. This included the requirement for a nighttime curfew (11pm - 5am) to be observed. The curfew requirements have since been relaxed/changed and are location-specific.
There has been an increased military presence on the streets of cities, including Quito which is our start and end point for trips. Airports and road infrastructure are fully operational.
2. Are trips in Ecuador going ahead?
Yes, they are, based on the information currently available. We have been in regular contact with all of our host partners in Ecuador to gather local information and discuss the ground operations. Opinion has also been sought from our external risk management partner in the UK. We are receiving regular updates from Ecuador's Ministry of Tourism.
January & February Departures: After review and discussion with the hosts, we have had successful departures of all 5 of our trip itineraries: Galapagos Adventure, Avenue of Volcanoes, Amazon Rainforest Adventure, Trek across the Ecuadorian Andes, and Ultimate Galapagos & Amazon. All have operated as per usual without any disruption.
Upcoming Departures: For anyone booked on upcoming Ecuador trips commencing, or considering doing so - please note that we are closely monitoring the situation in the country and how it continues to evolve. Our current message, and that of our host partners, is that we expect the trips to run as planned. We do however recognise that situations of civil unrest are dynamic and can potentially change quickly. Should any changes or disruptions to your itinerary be anticipated then we shall write to you asap.
If making independent travel plans pre or post trip, then we advise extra caution regarding how and where you travel within the country, and to keep an eye on FCDO updates. You should follow any announcements or instructions made by official local authorities. In addition, our hosts may be able to answer some destination-related queries if you message them within the platform.
3. What does the FCDO travel advice say?
UK government travel advice for Ecuador can be read here. The main headline FCDO advice remains unchanged "FCDO advises against all but essential travel to parts of Ecuador".
On Wednesday 10th January the FCDO Advice page for Ecuador was amended in response to a 60-day ‘State of Emergency’ being announced by the Ecuadorian authorities. Initially, tourists in the country were advised to stay in their accommodation however this advisory has since been removed. A nighttime curfew is in place from 11pm - 5am (which has since become location-specific. We are informed that this is not applicable in the Galapagos Islands.
There is longstanding advice against travel to the northern border region with Colombia. In addition to this, on Friday 12th January the FCDO travel advice was updated to advise against travel to all coastal provinces of the country, including the city of Guayaquil (although transits within Guayaquil Airport are an exception).
None of our trip logistics conflict with the advice published. Quito, the Highlands, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands do not have any FCDO travel restrictions.
4. Is there still a chance that the itinerary may have to change at the last minute?
Contingency plans in response to dynamic events are always a possibility on all of our trips. The hosts and guiding teams in Ecuador continuously monitor events and conditions and can make late adjustments to plans/logistics on the ground for practical or safety-related reasons. When we are informed about any planned adjustments prior to a trip starting then these are communicated with customers via messing within the MBA Platform.
5. What happens if the FCDO advice changes?
If the FCDO advice changes and advises against all but essential travel to Ecuador (to destinations due to feature in a trip itinerary), we will be forced to cancel trips. In these circumstances, we will issue cancellation documents for you to make a claim on your travel insurance.
6. Can I cancel or postpone my trip?
Trips are continuing to operate so cancellations or date changes are possible but subject to the usual booking terms and conditions and therefore may incur fees.
Any further updates will be posted to this page. Our customer service team are always here to help: you can contact them at email@example.com.
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Last update: Wednesday 21st February 2024