Is it Safe for Americans to Travel to Quito, Ecuador?

Is it Safe for Americans to Travel to Quito, Ecuador?
Quito -- pronounced KEE-toh -- is the capital city of Ecuador. With a location just 15 miles south of the equator, Quito is situated on the slope of an active volcano and the city's elevation is above 9,000 feet.

Travel Safety

With most violent crime occurring along the Colombian border, travelers in Ecuador and, in particular Quito, are fairly safe. Still, with an unemployment rate that's higher than 10 percent and a monthly minimum wage of less than $200, petty crime--in particular pick-pocketing--is not uncommon.

Hiking and Trekking

Quito is a great hub for those looking to explore Ecuador's natural beauty. Some of the more popular trails include those in the Los Cedros Cloudforest, in Cotopaxi National Park and at the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. The Quito Visitors Bureau can provide a trail guide called "La Avenida de los Volcanes."

Rafting

With most of Ecuador's rivers fueled by snowmelt from the Andes, there are dozens of river-rafting choices for the Class II to Class V rafting enthusiast. The Río Quíjos, located 2.5 hours outside Quito, was the host site for the 2005 World Rafting Championships.

Sustainable Tourism

Ecuador has, in recent years, initiated a "best practices" policy as it relates to sustainable tourism, including a partnership with U.S.-based Rainforest Alliance.

Fun Facts

In spite of its name, the Panama hat originated in Ecuador.

The Chimborazo volcano is the Earth's closest point to the sun and the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere.

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