Local laws and customs

Drug production and trafficking has spread into Ecuador from Colombia and Peru. Any involvement in the trafficking or use of illegal drugs is a serious crime. The penalties are harsh and prison conditions are very basic. Over 90% of foreign prisoners are in jail for drug-related crimes.

It is a legal requirement to carry ID. You should keep a photocopy of your passport pages including your photograph and Ecuadorean immigration entry stamp with you at all times.

Until November 1997, homosexuality was still a criminal offence in Ecuador. Following its decriminalisation there have been other positive changes. The Ecuadorean Constitution of 2008 recognises homosexual relationships and gender identity, while the 2014 Criminal Code sanctions any kind of hate crime on the basis of sexual orientation. The Quito Gay Pride parade in July 2017 passed off without incident and showed a greater turnout and higher level of support than in previous years. However, in reality there is still some level of discrimination. Public displays of affection may be less tolerated than in the UK and may attract negative attention, especially in small towns. This may be the case for transgender people in particular. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.