Ecuador could be regarded as a small version of South America, since the country contains almost all the attractions of the continent. Picturesque colonial centers, Kichwa villages, Amazonian rainforest and the breathtaking heights of the Andes. Those are only the touristic highlights. Ecuador has so much more to offer!
The best of all are the Ecuadorians themselves: kind-hearted, generous and proud of the great strides they’ve made in the last decade, they are in fact the nation’s greatest treasure.
Ecuador has a surface of 256.370 km2 and a 14,5 million inhabitants. Most people live at the coast (Costa) and in the highlands (Sierra). In the Amazon (Oriente), which accounts for 50 percent of Ecuador’s surface, lives only 4 percent of the population. The estimate is that 25 percent of Ecuadorian population consists of Indians (indigenas), 65 percent of mestizos (a mixture of white and indigena) and the remaining 10 percent of people with a white, African or Asian heritage.
Food and drinks
The Ecuadorian kitchen is simple and varied. Meals consists of a combination of vegetables, fruits and different kinds of meat and fish. The traditional food of the indigenas was mainly vegetarian, the Spaniards brought cattle to the country during the colonization era.
The price for meat is still relatively high in Ecuador and therefore you will still find a lot of vegetarian meals on the menu. Ecuador is more a beer country than a wine country.
Almuerzo, or lunch in English, is the most important meal of the day for Ecuadorians. Meat, fish or poultry is an important element of the meal, and the quantities are often higher than we are used to in Europe. Who wants to try something completely different can order ‘cuy’. Cuy is a roasted guinea-pig and is regarded as a delicacy in Ecuador.
Customs and traditions
Ecuadorians appreciate when foreigners behave polite and modest. For men it is customary to friendly pat on one’s back and embrace (abrazo). You’ll give a handshake to women and may kiss them on the cheek once you know them a while longer. Greetings are quite extensive. ‘Buenos dias, como estas?’, is what you’ll hear often.