Wondering what it is like traveling to Ecuador from Europe in this pandemic time? Let me share with you my experience on how I went from Paris to Quito in April 2021!
BEFORE TRAVELING: HOW I PLANNED MY TRAVEL
As a European citizen, I didn’t need to apply for a visa. I just needed to have a passport valid for 6 months. Once I entered the Ecuadorian territory, I was given a 90-day tourism visa. This applies to most countries, such as the USA, Canada or all of Europe; only 30 countries are required to get a visa before entering the country, the full list can be found here.
BOOKING THE PLANE TICKET
I booked my plane tickets a month in advance. My itinerary was Paris-Madrid-Quito, and even if I didn’t leave the airport in Madrid, I had to fill a Spain Health Certificate online two days before departure. The flight attendants also gave this same form on the plane to Madrid in case I didn’t fill it online. So, if you don’t take a direct flight to Ecuador, I recommend checking the requirements to enter the connecting country as well. Luckily, the plane company I booked with, Iberia, gave me a lot of information by email on requirements to enter Spain and Ecuador.
As of the 26th of April, the day I got to Ecuador, it was required to have a negative PCR test made in the past 3 days or a vaccination certificate to enter the country. My PCR test was written in both French and English, I didn’t need to have it translated to Spanish to enter either Spain or Ecuador.
In order to stay up to date on the requirements to enter Ecuador, I would suggest checking regularly on your country’s embassy website or on the IATA website which gives an overview of the restrictions for each country and is regularly updated. Indeed, when I first started looking for requirements to enter Ecuador, a PCR test done in the past 10 days was enough, but a few weeks later the regulations changed. So, try to always be aware of potential changes in requirements.
Finally, before planning your travel, you should also be aware of your own country’s travel restrictions, some European countries might not allow trips outside the EU for example or might need a compelling reason to explain your travel.
ON THE WAY: MY EXPERIENCE AT THE AIRPORT AND ON THE PLANE
On the plane, it was compulsory to wear a surgical mask during the whole flight (cloth masks are allowed in the airport but not on the plane) and to try to walk around as little as possible. During boarding, we were given disinfecting wipes that I used to clean my hands, but also my tray table and my touch screen. Apart from this, the flight didn’t feel very different from regular pre-covid-19 flights: we were served food and beverages and the flight crew was available at all times!
On the plane to Ecuador, I was given a Health certificate (written in both Spanish and English) that I had to fill with my personal information, the places I visited in the past 14 days, my symptoms and address of stay for my first 14 days in the country.
JUST LANDED: MY FIRST TASTE OF ECUADOR
After spending 10 hours on the plane, it was finally time to land in Quito, and everything went quite fast from then on. I was asked to hand over the health certificate I had filled on the plane and to show my negative PCR test. Then, I got a stamp in my passport and it was already time for me to get my luggage and step foot outside the airport!
I didn’t need to quarantine once I got to Ecuador because my covid-19 PCR test was negative, this also applies to vaccinated people.
After walking around in the oldtown of Quito, I noticed that almost everyone was wearing a mask, and when entering bigger stores or supermarkets I had my temperature checked and was given hydroalcoholic gel. It was reassuring to see that people are respecting distancing measures.
On another note, Quito is one the highest capital cities in the world with an elevation of 2850m (9,350 ft), so I had some trouble getting used to the altitude at the beginning. The symptoms can differ from a person to another, but it usually consists in headaches, tiredness or shortness of breath. Personally, I got out of breath faster than usual, especially when walking with my mask on, so I would recommend taking it easy at the start, and not start a trip with hiking activities.
It might have taken just a little bit of research on my part before embarking on this journey, but it helped the trip go smoothly and was no trouble at all. Every trip needs a little planning beforehand and this was part of it: I would have needed to do some research even in normal circonstances. And to be honest, getting to Ecuador was not as difficult as I thought it would be!
I’m hoping these insights will help you future travelers get ready to start your adventure in Ecuador with no fear! I feel like this is the perfect place to start traveling again because of all the outdoor activities. Moreover, you’re in very good hands with the team of Ecuatraveling who will do everything it takes to make your trip safe and memorable!
Written by Lucille Thorel–Delille