Spanish in Ecuador
In an emergency, the telephone number to call is 911. The operator will then connect the person to the appropriate emergency service provider. It is important to know that in a city, it will take an ambulance approximately 30 minutes to arrive. Hospital emergency rooms tend to be very efficient and will treat anyone regardless of insurance status. Even if a traveler does not have insurance, it is likely the fee will not be terribly expensive. For small illnesses, it is best to ask an Ecuadorian for a referral to a local doctor. It is easy to get a same day appointment for a relatively low fee. Often one can go to a private pharmacy and describe one's symptoms to the pharmacist who will offer appropriate medication. This is especially true in the case of common traveler's gastrointestinal disorders.
In a crime emergency, it is usually more efficient to have someone find an officer on foot than to call. With the recent increase in wealth in Ecuador, there has been an increase in robbery and car theft. Both men and women are advised never to walk or drive alone at night, and in many places it is best not to go out at all after dark. Ask local residents for advice about both day and night safety issues for specific areas. In general, everyone must practice particular vigilance in matters of safety and common sense. One should especially be aware of tactics used to distract the unsuspecting tourist. Robberies facilitated by disabling persons with sedatives placed in drinks or blown into the face also occur. It pays to be vigilant and also to seek safety advice from trusted local residents.