Pedestrians in Ecuador do NOT have the right-of-way, which is common in most Latin American countries. You need to be especially careful when crossing the street, even at crosswalks and even when you have the green “walk” signal.
Of all the cities and rural towns we’ve visited in Ecuador, Cuenca is bar far the worst offender when it comes to disregard for pedestrians. Not long before we moved away from Cuenca in early 2020, an elderly expat was hit by a car and killed while crossing the street in Gringolandia to the west of El Centro.
Following that incident, the police started placing crossing guards at major intersections to stop traffic for pedestrians. Hopefully, pedestrian safety has improved since we left.
In the smaller towns, especially on the coast, drivers tend to be more tranquilo so they are more likely to stop for pedestrians. However, on weekends and holidays when tourists visit from the larger cities, all bets are off so it’s best to always be aware of your surroundings and be extremely cautious while crossing the street.
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