“Esto Tambien Es Ecuador” is the latest hashtag being used by Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism to help refocus attention on the beauty and richness of this smallest of Andean Nations. It means, “This Too Is Ecuador” and is an attempt to refocus international attention away from the current drama taking place. In case you missed the news, President Daniel Naboa has declared a 60-day State of Emergency while recognizing that the nation is engaged in “internal armed conflict” with several criminal gangs.

Canceling Your Trip To Ecuador?

When bad news starts coming out of Ecuador, my mind often goes blank. I hate writing negative stories about a country I love. But my reputation as a blogger is closely tied to telling it like it is. Right now, the shit has hit the fan in Ecuador.

Yes, that is an idiomatic expression that won’t translate well. But tourists are cancelling trips, airlines are canceling flights, and travel agencies in Ecuador are scrambling to reschedule visitors for later dates. For good reason. 

For the next few days, at best, or the next couple of months, the security situation on the ground is fraught. While I believe there are places that are less likely to experience problems from this nationwide emergency, arriving in Ecuador becomes more complicated. Airports will become heavily guarded, most likely with armed military. Major routes will likely have more police checks to prevent movement of terrorists and criminal gangs. But these measures can only do so much. We were already suggesting people avoid the land route from Guayaquil to Cuenca after a tourism bus was shot at along the highway. No vacation should include putting yourself at risk.

If I had a trip planned in the next week, I would cancel and attempt to reschedule. If I had a trip within the next month, I would wait and see. If I had yet to plan my trip, I would consider holding off making reservations until we have a clearer picture of what this State of Emergency looks like. In other words, I would hold off making a decision until late February or early March. 

Finding Hope For Ecuador

Writing this article is my attempt to get past the numbness I feel. Taking action, even in a small way, is a step towards showing compassion for the people I care so much about. Even when that action confirms that their chosen profession, tourism, will once again suffer in the face of a national emergency. 

Therefore, I am dedicating myself to write a few positive articles in the next couple of weeks about the places I love. I will join my Ecuadorian friends and use the hashtag #EstoTambiénEsEcuador in hopes to help it trend on Instagram.