Travelers hit the road for Carnival weekend; government issues El Niño and the Zika virus cautions for those headed to the coast
Hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians are traveling today to Carnival holiday destinations, many of them to the coast.
The ministries of tourism and transportation say the highways are in good condition for the long weekend that begins today and runs through next Tuesday. Work on several road projects were rushed to completion and work has been suspended on others to expedite traffic.
The national health ministry is warning those traveling to the coast and other low-altitude destinations to take precautions against the Zika virus, which they say is spreading in Ecuador. They suggest using mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, even on the coast.
The government is also warning tourists about strong waves and possible heavy rains at the coast as El Niño intensifies. Flooding rains hit several coastal towns on Thursday, forcing dozens from their homes along the northern coast and temporarily closing the airport in Guayaquil. Strong surf over-washed streets in several locations.
“We are expecting very strong wave action on the beaches and ask that swimmers stay close to shore,” a health ministry statement said. At the same time, the transportation ministry asked travelers to be alert to possible road closures due to waves or rains. “Travel delays are possible and we ask that motorists pay attention to signs and avoid driving in areas of deep water.”