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Everything You Need to Know About Ecuador’s Culture and Traditions

Planning a vacation to Ecuador? Excellent choice. To prepare for your trip, it’s useful to know a little about the way of life there and how things are done. No matter where your travels take you, it’s always useful to know a thing or two about your destination. Understanding Ecuador’s culture and traditions ahead of time will help you to get along well with the locals and to make the most out of your time there. If that sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry. We’ve put together this simple guide to Ecuador’s culture and traditions, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

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Ecuador’s culture and traditions: 3 basic facts

Arm yourself with a couple of basic facts and figures about Ecuador, at the very least. Understanding these basic points about culture and traditions in Ecuador is a good start:

  1. Ecuador is located between Peru and Colombia in western South America. It borders the Pacific Ocean along the Equator.
  2. The majority religion in Ecuador is Roman Catholic, accounting for 95% of the population.
  3. Speaking of population, it is estimated that Ecuador is home to somewhere in the region of 15,654,000 people. 

Knowing these tidbits is useful, but it’s only the beginning. If you really want to immerse with the locals, read on.

Ecuador’s culture and traditions: Language

Never underestimate the importance of knowing something of the local language. Just as any trip to Santiago, Chile will be improved by knowing a few words in Chilean Spanish, understanding the language in Ecuador will be of huge benefit.

Speaking Spanish in Ecuador

There are over 20 different languages spoken in Ecuador, though the official language is Spanish. Perhaps not surprisingly, Spanish is also the most commonly spoken. If you can speak Spanish, you’re way ahead of the pack. If not, you might want to carry a phrase book (or Google Translate) to help you get by.

Other languages in Ecuador

Beyond Spanish, they speak various other languages in Ecuador. If you’ve already mastered Spanish and want a bigger challenge, why not learn a few words in another language? Some of the other languages they speak in Ecuador are:

  • Achuar-Shiwiar
  • Cha’palaachi
  • Colorado
  • Cuaiquer
  • Quichua
  • Siona

Sound like too much? Don’t worry, you should get by just fine with some basic Spanish phrases. Popular areas with tourists will also have English speakers on hand.


More of Ecuador’s culture and traditions

Greeting people in Ecuador

The most popular form of greeting in Ecuador is a handshake. Look the person in the eye, smile, and give the appropriate greeting for the time of day:

  • First thing in the morning, you should say “Buenos dias!
  • If it’s the afternoon, go with “Buenos tardes!
  • In the evening, “Buenos noches!” is best.
  • If in doubt, or if you forget, you can always go with a simple “Hola!”

Don’t use the person’s first name unless they do the same with you first. Instead, address them as either “Senor” or “Senora”.

Dining in Ecuador

Ecuador’s culture and traditions relating to dining are not overly complicated. Understand the most important aspects of etiquette and you will have no problems. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • If invited to a family home for dinner, do not arrive on time. Arrive half an hour or 45 minutes late. Always bring a gift, dress well, and offer to help the host. All of these show respect and gratitude, and will be much appreciated.
  • In Ecuador, they don’t like to talk business during social events. Unless you are at a business dinner, or have been specifically prompted otherwise, don’t bring up business or work topics at the table or during parties.
  • Before you take a sip of your drink, wait for the toast (or toasts). The host will make the first toast, usually saying “Salud!”
  • Always use a knife and fork, even for pieces of fruit. Proper tables manners in Ecuador is to hold the knife in your right hand and fork in your left.

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