Etiquette in Ecuador

Ecuador, situated on the Pacific Coast of South America, is home to over 15 million people.

The official language is Spanish, although most business people understand English.

Ruled as a civilian and military dictatorship from 1968-1979, Ecuador is now a unitary multiparty republic with a President that serves as chief of state and head of the government.

Ecuadorans are guaranteed religious freedom, although the vast majority (over 95%) are practicing Roman Catholics.

The U.S. dollar is recognized as official currency in Ecuador.

General Etiquette

When attending business meetings in Ecuador, avoid taking pictures unless you’re asked to do so. Many Ecuadorians believe that having their photo taken is personally intrusive and others may regard a camera as a portent of the “evil eye”.

Ecuadorians are sensitive to the notion of U.S. superiority. Use caution so as not to display any behavior that might give the impression that you or the U.S. is superior. Being informed about and showing interest in the local culture is a good idea.

It is acceptable to order alcohol with your meals and wine may be served at lunch. Ecuadorans are not accustomed to seeing women drink hard liquor, such as whiskey.

It is best to use a verbal ‘yes’ or ‘no’, as not all Ecuadorans are able to interpret the physical signals or head motions.