Safety issues in Quito, Ecuador
December 26, 2012 5:59 AM Subscribe
My son is applying to a Junior Semester Abroad program in Ecuador for next fall semester. I am reading that Quito has become more dangerous than it was when we went there on a family vacation 6 years ago, and I am nervous for his safety. I'm looking for first-hand information and advice about how to stay as safe as possible.
posted by DMelanogaster to travel & transportation around Quito, Ecuador (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm quite alarmed at reports of people getting into taxis and finding out that the driver is in cahoots with a gang, who then stops the taxi and demands a ransom from the passenger.
There also seems to be a lot of street crime.
My son will be staying with a host family and then getting to and from classes and anywhere else alone most of the time, I would imagine.
He really wants to go to this program, sponsored by an excellent college (but not his college). Although he himself is a bit concerned about these safety issues, he says that he really wants to go to Ecuador (he loved it when we went there when he was younger, but he was with us (his parents) and nobody told us then that people were hauled out of taxis and robbed (this was in 2006)).
He is about to take his fourth semester of college Spanish and, although he is certainly not fluent, I think his facility with the language will be good enough to get by in most situations. Ethnically he does not resemble any native Ecuadorian I've ever seen. On the other hand, we are from New York City, and not the safest area, either. He's grown up knowing how to navigate subways and "scope out" people who might not have his best interests in mind. But Manhattan is not Ecuador.
Has anyone had experience living in Quito or visiting recently? What were the safety issues? Do you regret going? Is this program a bad idea at this time? (I have suggested a Madrid alternative, sponsored by his college, but this does not interest him.)
I've told him he can ask the program to get him in contact with students who have completed the program so that he can get first-hand reports and ask questions, but is this realistic?
What can he do to make his semester as safe as possible?