Quito Warnings and Dangers
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador in South America. Nestled in a valley in the Andes mountains, it has many different natural and man-made attractions, but there are some dangers that travelers to Quito should be aware of.
If you have issues with altitude problems, you should be careful when visiting Quito. At 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the highest capital city in the world above sea level. Visitors risk getting altitude sickness while in Quito if they aren’t prepared for it. Altitude sickness can cause headaches, drowsiness, and shortness of breath because of the lack of oxygen that high up. It is something that most people acclimate to after they are in the city for a couple of days. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to drink as much water as possible and even take a nap during the day. A nasal decongestant could also be required to help clear your sinuses at that altitude. Altitude sickness isn’t extremely dangerous, but you should be aware of it and give yourself a buffer day when you get there so you can enjoy your vacation.
Taxis and Public Transit Can Be Dangerous
There are instances of people being kidnapped via the taxi system. This has happened to both tourists and wealthier locals. It’s rare and not something to constantly worry about, but when getting a taxi you should be aware of your surroundings and not get in a cab with anyone that seems suspicious.
It’s not uncommon for people to be pickpocketed or robbed while using public transportation. The key is to never let your guard down and never leave valuable items unattended. One great way to avoid these kinds of problems is to only take transportation previously arranged with your hotel consierge.
One common issue that visitors have had with crime in Quito is robberies. Avoiding this type of crime works in the same way as the taxi system: Just use common sense. Avoid doing or saying anything that makes you a target, like taking out your wallet or giving money to strangers. Also, don’t carry around valuables or large amounts of cash.
South America is an unbalanced region politically, and Ecuador is no exception. There may be political demonstrations to avoid while you are staying in Quito. An employee at your hotel can tell you where they are being held. Most of them are not held in areas where tourists frequent. If you do get caught up in a political demonstration while in the city, you should be safe as most of them are nonviolent.