To travel Ecuador, people have to take a corona test in their country, which has to be valid for 96 hours. If this test is negative, customers must be quarantined for 7 days. If this is positive, you have to go into quarantine for 14 days and then do a new test. We are fighting to have this done away with now that the Galapagos can be entered and international flights have been re-enabled. (Update March 31, 2021: Quarantine is no longer necessary, you can find an overview here )
We have news about the Galapagos, namely to get the islands back on their feet, the authorities have been working on a pilot project and there are new entry regulations. Here are the most important provisions:
- Guests must take a Covid test, which can be done in Quito or Guayaquil, and this certificate must be presented before arriving in the Galapagos. This corona test must be negative and be valid for 96 hours.
- Guests must have travel and health insurance.
With this pilot plan, as the authorities call it, we expect that the trips in Galapagos will strengthen and that we will get more tourists from the end of December.
How do the people of Ecuador deal with the situation?
There are still residents who do not always obey the rules, many go out one way or another, and unfortunately a lot of people have become ill in the last few weeks and the number of infected people in our country has risen again, especially in Quito. You also have to consider that many people in Ecuador had no work before and there are now many unemployed people due to the pandemic, so many go out on the streets to sell their goods (fruit, sweets, and all sorts of things), and so to secure their livelihood.
How are you, the partner agency, and all the other service providers (tour guides, hotels, drivers,…)?
At the moment we are trying to survive, unfortunately nothing is happening, we have no income without new trips to Ecuador and we are waiting for a loan from the state. Some hotels have already gone bankrupt or have closed their doors for the time being. Tour guides and drivers also have a very difficult time, even if some try to work in other activities, they have not always succeeded. We are also trying to develop promotions for domestic tourism, but nothing concrete is being achieved at the moment.
What are your hopes & goals for 2021?
We hope that we will soon have Corona under control in Ecuador and that the numbers will continue to fall, so that from January or February at the latest we can travel around the world again and so we can recover.
Are there special projects in Ecuador that our guests can support with donations?
We have a new project in the municipality of ANGLA, which is located near Peguche (northern part of Ecuador). We are currently including this project in our programs to support the community. Perhaps your customers could plant a tree here as this community works with some farmers to reforest the slopes of the mountains.
The other project we have is TOLTE on the Alausi railway line. We continue to support this, and since Trenes del Ecuador has unfortunately gone bankrupt and no one knows whether there will be an investor or whether it will ever go back into operation, we have therefore changed our itinerary and strengthened the visit to the community.