Cowboys wearing traditional poncho riding their horses in the rain

Ecuador is among the most beautiful places in the world and its unique culture and history makes this holiday destination as fascinating as it is stunning.

In order to make the most out of your trip, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can about this vibrant country before your Ecuador holiday.

By doing this, you can plan your itinerary more effectively, as well as gain a deeper appreciation for your surroundings.

On top of that, it’ll also enrich you with respect for a different culture. After all, you are a guest in another country and learning about where you are shows that you have made an effort to familiarise yourself with its unique ways.

A big part of this is knowing a little bit about the country’s customs and etiquette.

This way, you can not only avoid accidentally committing a social faux pas, but you can also become more deeply involved within the local culture in order to enjoy your holiday to its fullest.

Here’s some examples of common customs that may come in handy during your holiday to Ecuador.

Indigenous quechua people selling produce from the ground on the street in the Saturday market

Refer to others correctly

When meeting a person, make sure to refer to them by ‘senor’ or ‘senorita’ – depending on their gender – along with their surname.

Usually, only family members or close loved ones refer to each other by their first names.

Know how to greet new people

The most common greeting – especially when first meeting a person – is a handshake with good eye contact.

However, depending on the depth of the relationship between the persons involved, other greetings can include an embrace and pat on the shoulder between men or a kiss on the (left) cheek by women.

If you’re on holiday though, it’s unlikely that you’re going to develop this close a relationship, so it’s best to stick to the former unless your given an indication otherwise.

Come bearing gifts

If invited into an Ecuadorian home, it is good manners to bring gifts, such as quality alcohol, flowers, pastries, etc.

If you bring flowers, do not bring marigolds or lilies, as they are used at – and therefore associated with – funerals.

Other occasions where gifts are given include New Year, Christmas, religious events and on birthdays. If you bring someone a gift for whatever reason, you can expect it to be opened then and there.

Children wearing sombreros and chaps at the Inti Raymi celebrations

Note milestone celebrations

While it is unlikely to impact on your trip, it’s worth noting for interest’s sake that a person’s 15th birthday has special significance within this culture.

Arrive fashionably late

If you are invited to dinner, you should arrive a little late – around half an hour or so should do the trick.

Understand your utensils

In terms of table manners, you should hold the fork in the left hand and knife in the right. All food is eaten with utensils, even items that may traditionally be considered finger food.

Leave a bite or two

It is considered good manners to leave a small amount of food on your plate in order to show that you are full.

And while it’s not a custom per se, one of the best things you can do is to learn a little of the language: not too much but just enough to show effort and politeness, e.g. ‘thank you’, ‘please’, etc.

This is a gesture that is appreciated pretty much universally.

Music street performers in the historic centre of Quito, Ecuador

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