Ecuador Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by MalenaN
  • Local Customs
    by MalenaN
  • Local Customs
    by MalenaN

Ecuador Local Customs

  • El Ultimo Hielero – The Last Ice...

    Twice a week Baltazar from the village Cuarto Esquinas walk up the slopes of Chimborazo with his donkeys, to the glacier. There he cuts large blocks of ice from the glacier. Each block weighs around 40kg and they are taken back down to the village on the donkeys. Each Saturday Baltazar goes to Riobamba to sell the ice at Mercado La Merced. He only...

  • Paseo del Chagra, Machachi

    Machachi is a town about 35 km south of Quito. It is situated on the west side of Panamericana, at an altitude of 2950 metres (so it can be quite chilly). It is a medium sized town with 12 500 inhabitants. Just south of Machachi is Volcan Rumiñahui. Other volcanoes nearby are Corazon, Pasochoa and Sincholagua. A few tourists make Machachi their...

  • Chocolate

    Ecuador is a large producer of cacao, but much of the cacao is sold to big companies in other countries. However, there is also production of high quality chocolate within the country from cooperatives and small producers, some are both organic and fair trade certified. The most common cacao bean is the Arriba bean. When I was in Ecuador I tried...

  • Inti Raymi celebrations

    The Inti Raymi festival is a festival celebrating the summer solstice and harvest. It is especially celebrated in the northern highlands and I had hoped to see some celebrations while I visited Quito in June 2012. I had read in one of the newspapers that there was going to be Inti Raymi celebrations on Plaza San Francisco on Sunday 24th of June. At...

  • Typical foods

    I had read quite a lot about Ecuadorean cuisine and was keen to try some of the local delicacies. Luckily we found that most restaurants served the traditional cuisine, even if they had a few international dishes as well, and we were able to “eat local” most days, at least while on the mainland. Some of the dishes I most enjoyed included:Locro de...

  • Club or Pilsner?

    Ecuadoreans are far more likely to drink beer with a meal than wine, and although they do produce a little of the latter we never saw any in any of the restaurants we visited – only Argentinean and Chilean wines, and occasionally an expensive import from Europe. We were told that only the most up-market restaurants might have local wines, and...

  • Helado de Paila

    Helado de Paila is a particular sort of ice cream made in the north of Ecuador. It is made not through churning, as is usual, but instead prepared in a wide metal pan (a bit like a wok) which the ice cream maker spins on a bed of ice. The fruit juice, with I think just a little cream added, freezes in the pan through the contact with this ice. The...

  • Día de los Muertos

    The Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is commemorated in Ecuador as in many South and Central American countries, although not to the same extent as in Mexico perhaps. Its observance is strongest among the native people, the Kichwa. The festival falls on 2nd November, which was during our visit to Cuenca, and we saw lots of stalls, mainly near...

  • Traditional dances on Plaza Grande,...

    One Saturday night in Quito, after dinner, I saw there was a lot of people on Plaza Grande. Someone told me there was going to be a performance below the cathedral so I also went there to have a look. There were several dance groups performing folkloric dances from the highlands. It was really nice to see, and I stayed for an hour. You can see a...

  • Tigua paintings

    People around Tigua have painted drums and masks used at festivals for many generations, but it was not until the 1970s that they started to make paintings to sell. It all started when a foreigner was interested in buying an old drum from Julio Toaquiza, a young man from the area. He later got the idea to paint on flat canvases made by sheepskin....

  • Cuy - a local specialty

    Forget the concept that guinea pigs are PETS, here in Ecuador they are FOOD. A specialty, as you will see on the price tag as "cuy" (as they are called here) are a rather more expensive treat for "ferias" and grand occasions, costing ca. 12 - 20 $. The taste is very similar to chicken.

  • Kiss on the Cheek

    When you meet someone new or see someone you haven't seen in a while, a quick kiss on the left cheek is common. You don't even really have to kiss the person, just put your cheeks close together and pretend.

  • Definitely Try the Fruit

    There is a wondrous diversity of fruits in Ecuador, much like everything there. These are fruits that you have most likely never seen or tried before, and they don't taste like anything you've had. From the tree tomato (tomate de arbe) to the babaco, they are a delicious addition to a trip through the country. So stop in, try some pies or jams or...

  • Haggle, haggle

    In the market places, it is customary to haggle over prices. Some visitors have an issue with that, especially as the prices are pretty low to begin with. But it is part of the life here, part of the experience. I've had some people actually look a little shocked that I didn't make any kind of counter-offer, just accepted what they said. So, dive...

  • The Old Year's "widows"...

    On New Year's Eve besides burning the famous dolls, Ecuadorians, mostly men, are dressed as widows in black clothes, tights and a black shawl and stop cars and people in the street asking for money. They are supposed to ask for money for their husband's funeral but they have to perform a dance before they get the money. Obviously they are not so...

  • Burning the dolls

    On New Year's Eve all people in Ecuador are celebrating the beginning of the new year with a lot of firecrackers and an amusing custom of burning dolls. They have been prepared many days ahead and they can be seen at every corner being sold, or in front of the shops dressed as real people. They are waiting for their moment of sacrifice which will...


    'Pasillo' is a indigenous latin musical genre very popular in Ecuador, especially in the mountainous regions (including some parts of Colombia, Panama and Venezuela).This is very sad music from the mountains, my friends explained. Sad old men would drink their nights away listening to the tearful moans of pasillo.


    'Banda del Pueblo' (Village’s Band) are groups of musicians playing trumpets and drums. To my untrained ears, they seemed to be playing horribly yucky tunes with no beats, no rhythms. But to my surprise, my friends told me these were traditional music, some of which even have lyrics, all singing praises of Quito, Ecuador and other Ecuadorian...


    I came across this typically Ecuadorian celebration by chance! It was the evening of 23 September and they were celebrating the Virgen de La Merced on the plaza in front of La Merced.In the evening, these guys started preparing some form of structures with bamboo sticks. These tall structures are called 'castillos' (castles) which have a series of...

  • live animal trade alive & kicking

    The Andes are still very much a barter society. The local markets are full of not only colorful images and intense smells but also a cacophony of noises and not all of them are coming from the livestock. People yell to announce what they are selling but what makes the most commotion are people arguing over prices or what they quite vocally consider...

  • Santa Semana, Easter in Quito

    During the Week of easter there are many religious ceremonies around all of South America. In Cuenca they have an incredible procession through the streets that you have to see. There are countless men dressed in ornate costumes. Some are dressed as Jesus and are carrying huge crucifixes through the city. After that, each church parades their...

  • Border town market

    I was walking along Main Street in the Ecuadorian border town to Peru. The place was totally messy and disorganised, extremely lively and colourful maybe for that very reason... I was amazed to see this pineapple stand without a stand! Is that a way to sell pineapples?! I wasn't sure whether they were on sale or remains of the day. Cuz I got there...

  • New Year's Eve?? Just set your dummies...

    On new Years, one of the popular traditions in Ecuador is the traditional "Quema del Ano Viejo" which means Burning of the Old Year. Many people start to design and create these dummies (Anos Viejos) late november, which are made from paper or wood and filled with a lot of fireworks and explosives. The imagination go beyond the limits at the time...

  • Juramento de la Bandera

    Every 7th grader have to swear their loyalty to the Ecuadorian Flag. This is an imporant event in every Ecuadorian's life! As the seventh graders swear the loyalty to the flag, the highest ranked students in each class is are also honored. The student who is ranked number one, gets the honor of being the "bandera," i.e. the person that holds the...

  • April Fool's Day = December 28th

    Yep! Could be good to Ecuador, and the rest of South America as well I think, what we in Europe and the USA call April Fool's Day lands on December 28th. Of course, it's not actually APRIL Fool's day when it's in December, but it's the same concept...

  • Sex and advertisement

    Advertisements is very often connected to sex in Ecuador. Pay particular attention to the advertisements for the local bear, they are quite funny!Thanks to the reminder of Globerover, you can now see an illustration.

  • Religion

    Most Ecuadorian are Roman Catholics and very religious. But in some areas of the country, inhabitants have preserved their old faith.

  • Watching the gringos

    If you take the train in Riobamba, seating on the roof of the train, you will contribute to a funny local custom: the gringo's watch by inhabitants of the Andes. It shall be admitted that this is a strange spectacle!

  • The indian's culture

    The indian's culture (preferable to talk about indigenos than indios) is incredibly lively and preserved, especially in the Andes.The way of living, the clothes and the hand craft are fascinating.

  • Banos : Fried guinea pigs - Cochons...

    I have already told you about this ecuatorian and peruvian custom : eating the cuys, sort of guinea pigs could be considered as gross... if it was not that awful to eat !Je vous ai deja parle de cette coutume equatorienne et peruvienne : manger des cuys, sorte de cochon d'inde, pourrait etre considere comme purement degueulasse.. si c'etait pas si...

  • Sex in Ecuador - Le sexe et l'Equateur

    People can't even forget to think about it : in the newspapers, in the adds on TV or in the shops... It's everywhere : here, the leaflet says "do you doubt that they're good ?" talking about painting rolls !!!!Les gens ne peuvent pas oublier d'y penser : que ce soit dans les journaux, dans les pubs a la tele ou dans les boutiques... Il est partout...

  • Phoning Home

    Communication on the Galapagos is very difficult. You can't use you cell phones and the boats have no phones--only ship to shore for emergencies. So when you go to one of the two inhabited islands you will need a phone card and then you need to find a working pay phone. Leave yourself some time to do this, as everyone else is trying to the same...

  • Elderly people love to sit on a bench

    ...Or stand up, depending on what time it is !Les Vieux Locaux adorent s'asseoir sur des bancs... ou se lever, ca depend de l'heure qu'il est !

  • Elderly people love to walk in the...

    Jipijapa : you can do it, dude !Les Vieux Locaux adorent marcher dans les rues...Allez, mon Vieux Local, tu peux le faire !

  • Carnival!!!

    End of April beginning of March is carnival time!!! Enjoy the colors, the music, the happiness of the people! It is a lot of fun!!!

  • A birthday cake in your face

    Ecuadorians have a fun little custom - on your birthday they like you to "morder el pastel" (bite the cake). This basically means they gang up on you and shove a cake into your face. Don't worry, you'll still be able to eat your cake too - they usually make two cakes, one for eating and the other for shoving!

  • Did you know? Maps of Ecuador...

    Did you know? Maps of Ecuador other than those actually made in Ecuador were banned until 1998. This is because they looked very different. The Ecuadorian version of the Ecuadorian map was much larger and claimed the area disputed with Peru. In 1998, the presidents of both countries called a truce. 1 square mile of land was symbolically given to...

  • New Years "Anios viejos"

    If you are in Ecuador over New Years, you'll probably get a chance to see the local custom of burning effigies called "anios viejos". These are normally made with paper mache and usually depict unpopular politicians or old people. They burn them as if to say "out with the old, and in with the new" and it is thought to bring good luck.New Years...

  • All Souls Day

    All Souls Day, on November 2nd, is an important day for Ecuadorians. It is also a good time to visit a cemetary, which I found to be quite different that what I am used to in the states. Many graves are actaully set in towers of concrete boxes. During my exchange year, I went with my host family to lay flowers on some anscestors graves in Riobamba....

  • Former Currency of Ecuador

    Since 2000, Ecuador uses US$ as its only legal tender. Its old currency, the sucre is still in use in some rural areas and is very colorful and fun to collect.

  • Carnival - "the feast of water"

    Carnival is celebrated over 3 days, usually in Feb or March, to welcome the onset of Ecuador's rainy season. This is a prime example of a festival with indigenous roots that has been transformed somewhat by catholic tradition. It has elements of Mardi Gras (parades, colorful clothing, dancing in the streets) mixed with something unique to...

  • Fiestas de Quito - Bullfighting

    If you are in Quito during the first week of December, you might want to check out a bullfight. December 6th, the anniversary of the founding of Quito, is a huge party - with dancing in the streets (esp. to the tradtional song "Chulla Quiteno") and parades. On each of the 8 days leading up to Dec. 6th, there is a morning bullfight and an evening...

  • Culture and customs

    Ecuador is full of culture and customs. The Andean culture is depicted in this pic outside a church. I'm not sure which town this is since I actually took the picture from a moving bus en route to Loja.

  • Like anywhere, try and speak...

    Like anywhere, try and speak the Language. People helped be a lot and I learned a lot but always keep trying.

  • Ecuador is a place where you...

    Ecuador is a place where you can learn from your mistakes, as well from another's.. So, better enjoy as long as it lasts!Panoramic view of Cuenca, which in this pic could be any city in the world :)


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Ecuador Local Customs

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