Ecuador is usually perceived as a safe country and Bahia de Caraquez, the safest city in Ecuador. That said, Ecuador is a developing country and as any other developing country, tourists and expatriates with above average financial capacities are easy targets for dishonest people. Our experience in Mauritius and all the traveling we did, gave us many tips about what to do and what to avoid in order “blend with the locals”. I will certainly talk about that in future blog posts, but respect is, in my humble opinion, the best tool to avoid becoming a victim.
Ecuador returned to a democracy in 1979 after 8 years of military governments (see Wikipedia) and adopted the US Dollar as a currency in 2000.
The economy long time relied on agriculture as Ecuador once been one of the larger banana and cacao exporter on the planet. Agriculture is still a big part of the Ecuadorian economy thanks to his location and different climates that allow to grow a huge variety of fruits, veggies, and flowers. It’s good to note that Ecuador is the second larger producer of fresh cutted roses and the third largest cacao producer. No reason to forget Valentine’s day! ;)
During the early 1970's, Ecuador started to rent/exploit oil fields located in the Amazon jungle. While giving Ecuador’s economy a boost, it also created some ecological and social concerns and it’s still the case today. Many big companies like Shell were sued for destroying nature and avoid respecting their exploitation contract. Despite all these scandals, the petrodollars allowed Ecuador to invest in road infrastructures, education programs, healthcare, etc. The least we can say is that nothing is perfect.
Over the last few years, Ecuador as been acclaimed as a top destination for retirement, gaining the attention of top publications around the globe. It also contributed to an increase in tourist visits. The government looks at tourism as a future growth vehicle for the economy and a way to diversify from the actual agriculture/oil economic engines. The campaign “All you need is Ecuador” reached is peak during the last Super Bowl when this 30-second ad showcasing Ecuador. Price paid? $3,9M!