Let me 1st qualify this with I only spent 16 days total in Guayaquil, Salinas (which includes Libertad and Montañita.
I don't want to bemoan the fact that GENERALLY Ecuador is getting less safe by the day and Colombia is doing better (I never felt at risk when I followed common sense in Colombia). That said, I heard many stories in Ecuador, by people affected and 2nd hand of friends affected by robbery and shaky medical care. One hostal owner told me "If you don't use something for a while most workers don't consider it stealing if they take it". Theft is a constant problem, employees generally take little stuff daily worth a dollar or 2.
The stories are endless. By the way a "hostal"is not necessarily a hostel, in Ecuador it is usually a small hotel.
The Hostal where the guests were robbed just up the coast (gangs 4th similar hit) shows how much of a sitting duck you are.
A side note: Mama Llenas hostel, Panama City, in a bit of a shaky area and was hit with armed gunmen 2 weeks before I arrived in 2010. La Jungla hostel in the Cangrejo zone was better for me.
The article in the local paper shows in detail the invasion by the gang.
4 guys leaving for the airport with me who spent a week in Salinas said they were very disappointed. There is just not a lot there for the average person.
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