Only a few weeks ago, Ecuador seized the headlines of media outlets across the world. A country that rarely finds itself mentioned in the world news was hoisted into the spotlight as it was struck by the largest earthquake to affect the country in half a century. Hundreds were left dead and thousands were injured. In a mere hour, Ecuador was seemingly transformed from a tranquil Andean nation to disaster zone. However, while the situation is serious, it is far from as bleak as it might have appeared like.
For many future travellers, Ecuador went from an exciting equatorial destination flushed with unique scenery and escapades to an area of tragedy. Hence, one question has hovered above others: is it still possible, and indeed is there any reason, to travel to Ecuador? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding yes. While the tremors of the earthquake left an imprint on the nation’s mind, the physical devastation was highly limited. The damages that did occur were centred on the coastal areas of Manta, Portoviejo and Pedernales. While these areas suffered, the rest of the country was spared from physical harm. Buses run, football is played, shops are open, kids go to school and life is just as before. Hence, as a destination, despite the tragic event, Ecuador remains just as worthwhile as before.
We do not wish to downplay the severity of the quake. Ecuador suffers from its aftermath and the event is in the forefront of our minds. Nevertheless, Ecuador is not broken. Its scenery is still as magnificent, its people just as hospitable and its experiences are just as grand. Sea lions still bask on the beaches of the Galapagos; the coast still offers abode to sleepy fishing villages lolling in the afternoon sun; the shrouded peaks of the Andes still awe onlookers; and the Amazon is still bustling with wildlife. Moreover, those considering Ecuador should not have any moral qualms about visiting the country. To visit Ecuador is not to take advantage of a suffering country. Tourism is increasingly becoming one of the country’s most important industries. Hence, visiting Ecuador in the aftermath of the earthquake is one of the best ways an individual can help Ecuador to recover.