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.
BOOKING THE PLANE TICKET
I booked my plane tickets a month in advance. My itinerary was Paris-Madrid-Quito, and even though I didn’t leave the airport in Madrid, I had to fill in a Spain Health Certificate online two days before departure. The flight attendants also gave this same form on the plane to Madrid in case someone didn’t fill it in online. So, if you don’t take a direct flight to Ecuador, I recommend checking the requirements to enter the connecting country as well you will have a stop in as well. Luckily, the airline 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 done 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 always be aware of potential changes in requirements regarding Covid-2019.
Finally, before planning your travel plans, 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 airplane) and try to walk around as little as possible. During boarding, we were given disinfecting wipes that I used to clean my hands, 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 in with my personal information, the places I visited in the past 14 days, my symptoms and addresses of stays 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 there on. I was asked to hand over the health certificate I had filled in 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 of Quito!
I didn’t need to go in 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 old town 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 hydro alcoholic 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), due to this I had some trouble getting used to the altitude at the beginning. The symptoms differ per person , but symptoms usually consists of 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 your trip in Ecuador 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 to go smoothly and I have not had any trouble at all during my travels. Every trip needs a little planning beforehand and this was part of it: I would have needed to do some research even in normal circumstances. 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 travellers 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