Quito is safe to visit and is considered a leading destination in South America, where there is a growing influx of tourists every year due to its majestic historic center, which was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. The city also has multiple tourist places in its surroundings, a delicious and varied gastronomy, and a privileged climate since it is located in the middle of the world. This unique Latin American city is safe to travel to. However, as in any other tourist destination, it is crucial to consider safety. This is why, in this note, we tell you a little about Quito and what it has to offer. We provide you with basic safety recommendations and answer frequently asked questions that travelers usually ask regarding safety in the city.
Cover photo by Raman Oza in Pixabay.
Quito, a leading destination in South America
Quito is a city located in the Andes mountain range, specifically in the Andean mountains of northern Ecuador, at an altitude of 2,850 meters (9350 ft) above sea level. Because the city is located near the equator and due to its height, it has a climate that is characterized by mild, spring-like temperatures throughout the year. The little seasonality throughout the year that occurs due to Ecuador’s location on the equator makes Quito an excellent tourist destination. If you want to know the best time to travel to Quito, we recommend you read our note.
Quito has the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. The city, also known as “The Cloister of America, ” has over 60 churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, and chapter houses (Ministerio de Turismo del Ecuador, Camino Quiteño: Arte y Fe; 2017). Among the most important buildings are the Basilica of the National Vow, La Compañía church, and the San Francisco de Quito convent. These sites stand out for their architectural wealth and enormous historical value.
Quito is also an ideal starting point to visit more destinations in the country. A few hours from the city, you will find national parks, ecological reserves, protective forests, and towns near the Amazon, all places of abundant nature and unique landscapes.
Remember that the official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar, which facilitates transactions for international visitors. At the same time, Spanish is the primary language, although you will also find people who speak English in tourist areas.
Read our note about the best activities in Quito to make the most of your stay in this leading destination in South America.
Basic safety recommendations for tourists in Quito
Like any city in the world, Quito is not immune to insecurity, so there are certain areas to avoid and precautions to take. Below, we provide you with some basic safety recommendations for tourists in Quito:
- Important documents
If you are going to walk around Quito, we recommend leaving your essential documents, such as your passport, at the place where you are staying. You can carry digital copies of your documents or minor identification cards with you when going out. Remember that to make any trip, you must have digital and physical backups of your essential identification documents.
- 💵 Money and valuables
We suggest that you refrain from carrying large sums of cash with you, as generally, this will not be necessary in considerable amounts. In the city, you can always use your credit or debit cards. Likewise, we recommend that if you go to very crowded places, do not use valuable objects, such as jewelry, since pickpockets are usually found in areas of this type.
- 🚕 Transport
We recommend looking for reliable transportation on any excursion you take outside or inside the city. Also, when you go out at night, remember that you should always take official taxis, which can be recognized by their orange badge, and under no circumstances should you walk alone.
Uber operates in Quito and is a safe and convenient option. Using this transportation app, you can share trip details with someone you trust. Another option you could use is the formal yellow taxis and the Quito Metro, the first underground transportation subsystem in Ecuador that has served the country’s capital since December 2023 and has 15 stations that cross the city from south to north.
Our main recommendation is that when visiting the city, you use verified tourist transport, an alternative that offers multiple advantages, especially those linked to security. By hiring specialized tourist services, you will always have conditioned transportation to travel comfortably, you will be accompanied and assisted by technical guides, and you will find yourself surrounded by people attentive to your well-being and who will not hesitate to help you in the event of any setback.
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Frequently asked questions about Quito security:
What is the safest area in Quito?
As we have mentioned, the capital of Ecuador is a safe place to travel. If you are wondering which is the safest area of Quito, we tell you that there are areas where it is safe to walk, such as La Carolina, known as the financial sector of the city; Bellavista, a place that has a privileged location and considerable security; La Floresta, one of the safest, most colorful, warmest and most exciting neighborhoods in Quito, among others. However, we cannot fail to mention the area most desired by tourists due to its privileged location, the historic center of Quito, considered the heart of the city.
If you want to know everything about the best areas to stay in Quito, please read our note.
Is it safe to walk around Quito?
Walking around Quito is safe if you do it in tourist areas, preferably during the day. Like any other city, Quito has areas that could be more unsafe than others; however, remember that most safety problems in Quito can be avoided by using common sense and taking precautions. Therefore, we recommend avoiding lonely alleys or areas with few people. In addition, we suggest you avoid walking through its streets late at night; if you do, it is more prudent to move around by vehicle.
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Is Uber safe in Quito?
Uber operates in Quito and is a very convenient and safe option to get around the city. This transportation App offers the possibility that a person you trust can verify where you are and how long it takes to reach your destination address. Additionally, the company has a security system that includes GPS tracking of vehicles and verification of drivers.
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Are taxis safe in Quito?
Yellow taxis are an acceptable option to get around the city of Quito. However, if you take a taxi on the street, it will be a little tricky to distinguish which is an official taxi and which is not. Therefore, if you are going to order a taxi, we ask you to do it directly from where you are staying. For this reason, our most recommended option for moving in and out of the city is to do so through a company with experience in the tourism sector, especially in tourist transportation.
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Is the historic center of Quito safe?
Yes, the historic center of Quito is safe, especially during the day and in busy and touristy areas, and since it is a trendy area with tourists, you will find them everywhere. Although it is preferable not to walk through its streets at night, it is recommended to take a night tour that takes you through the impressive illuminated historic center, an activity you must attend during your visit to the city.
Is Quito safe at night?
The city is safe in tourist areas, especially during the day. If you are going to walk at night, you should avoid low-traffic regions, while it is advisable to look for reliable transportation that will take you from where you are staying and take you back there.
Is Quito insurance for female travelers?
Quito is relatively safe for female travelers, especially in tourist areas. Therefore, we recommend following the same safety precautions as in any other city. We suggest you use safe transportation, be cautious, use common sense, and avoid risky situations.
Where can I get tourist information about the city?
You can find the San Francisco information point in the historic center of Quito. At this site, you can access free WiFi, lockers (to leave your belongings while you walk through the center), toilet services, free maps, a place to rest, and a person who thoroughly knows the historic center and can give you the best recommendations. The San Francisco information point is located on Benalcázar Street, next to the La Capilla restaurant, and opens from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In short, you must ask if Quito is worth visiting, and we must say yes. Quito is a destination that deserves to be seen. In fact, “the capital of Ecuador has positioned itself as a leading destination thanks to the growing influx of tourists who choose it every year for its heritage historic center, its beautiful and colonial churches and temples, its traditional neighborhoods, its exquisite and varied gastronomy. , its impressive landscapes and unique natural spaces” (Empresa Pública Metropolitana de Gestión de Destino Turístico Quito Turismo, Quito Alcaldía Metropolitana, Quito es el destino líder en Sudamérica, 2023).
Quito is safe to travel to, a city that offers the largest and best preserved historic center in Latin America and a series of natural wonders in its surroundings, cultural attractions, and fantastic gastronomy. And, because safety should always be a priority, if you follow these basic recommendations and stay in safe areas, you can enjoy your trip to this incomparable city.
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