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Topics include Dining Scene, Ecuador: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Travelers should know that Guayaquil is not considered a "safe city". This is also true for many cities in Ecuador. Visitors should take specific precautions to protect themselves from harm. They should also learn about the reasons behind these safety risks in order to better understand the culture of the area they are visiting.
Jobs are scarce. A person can steal valuables worth $200.00 in just a fews mins. The average salary for an uneducated person is less than $3.00 hour (per month, that's less than $370.00 - which is about the min wage).
The major safety risks in the area are risks of victimization from petty theft and associated crimes. These happen in the form of pick pocketing, purse snatching, cell phone snatching and theft from vehicles. If you have a watch on your left hand and have that hand out the window while you are in traffic, it could be taken off you from the street. Travelers should always keep all valuables locked in hotel safes. This includes credit cards if you are going out at night. Get cash you need from the bank teller or ATM. Leave the credit card at home in the hotel safe and not in your room. Be alert and aware of your surroundings to protect yourself, and know the numbers to local hospitals and embassies in case more serious problems occur.
Women should be particularly careful when traveling alone in Guayaquil. Part of this is due to the fact that until recently nearly all travelers to the area were business travelers, most of whom were men. The area is just getting used to female travelers and women may find themselves at increased risk.
When travelling at night it is not advised to walk around on the
streets even in groups. Keep your car doors locked at all times and windows rolled
up. While not reccomended, it is common to see cars ignoring red lights at night in
the more dangerous areas.
If possible use only hotel-hailed taxis. Get the business card of a taxi service from the hotel desk staff or when you get into the taxi ask the driver for his card.
If confronted by a robber do not resist. Avoid making eye contact and comply with the demands for your property. Don't expect much help from the police.
Socially and historically the main reason that there are travel risks in the area is because it is a poverty stricken area which has only recently seen the influx of tourism and locals with excess money. There is sometimes misperception by locals that the tourists are very, very rich and there is some discontent among them about the disparity between life there and life in America or Europe. Understanding these root causes should help visitors realize that the safety problems in the area are problems which stem from deep roots and which can be addressed to create long term changes in the area.
The best advice for personal security is to keep a low profile and avoid dangerous situations. Leave your purse, credit cards, watches, perfect shoes and jewlery in the hotel room or hotel safe if possible. Most of the crime is not reported to the police. For instance, if you live in a apartment complex with it's own security they do not report crimes to the police. They do not investigate crimes within the apartment community. Their idea against this is that it will increase the rent rates or decrease the sales prices for the houses or apartments.
Do not drink water from the tap. Always request bottled water when at a restaurant or hotel. Also refrain from using unfiltered ice. While not extreme, water purifcation is often substandard in Guayaquil. Cooking with water is okay if it is boiled for at least 10 mins before adding items such as tea or coffee or pasta or veggies.
Flash brownouts are common. Most buildings are not equipped with failsafe lighting.