The Peruvian navy issued a tsunami alert after the 7.8 magnitude quake struck late last night.
And experts said tsunami waves reaching up to a metre above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Ecuador – which neighbours Peru.
Parts of the Ecuadorian capital Quito were left without power as photos from the city appear to show damage to many buildings.
It is reported the tremors were felt for 40 seconds as terrified residents fled to the streets.
Panicked Quito resident Lorena Cazares, 36, a, said: “I was in my house watching a movie and everything started to shake.
“I ran out into the street and now I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Another local said: “My building moved a lot and things fell to the floor. Lots of neighbours were screaming and kids crying.”
Ecudorian Vice president Jorge Glas said: “Based on preliminary information, there are 16 people dead in the city of Portoviejo, 10 in Manta and two in the province of Guayas.