40 Interesting Facts About Ecuador
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40 Interesting Facts About Ecuador

Do they have toilet paper? How do they say hello? The answers are all right here!

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40 Interesting Facts About Ecuador
Ashleigh Lemelin

There are so many things that you cannot learn from textbooks about a culture. Sometimes the only way to truly understand is to be immersed in the culture. Sometimes even the smallest things have a significant meaning to them. I've learned a lot in such a short about of time. These are just some of the interesting facts that I have learned throughout the first half of my stay in Ecuador.


1. Indigenous women will wear shawls over their outfit to show if they are married or single. A knot over the shoulder means they are single while a knot in the middle shows they are married.

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2. Dogs are everywhere. We were warned not to touch them for obvious reasons. Some dogs are also bred to be more vicious to keep people off of land so they may bite for no reason. In addition, they could have rabies or fleas.

3. Indigenous men tend to wear their hair long and in braids or tied back.

4. There are many different climates and terrains in Ecuador, from the coast to the Jungle.

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5. You don’t need a visa for tourism up to 90 days. Feel free to plan your next vacation here, just don't extend your 90-day stay or it can get expensive!

6. Tree tomatoes are grown in Ecuador and used to make juice. The juice does not taste like V8 or general tomato juice. It is also used to make Ahi, which is a condiment used more than ketchup in Ecuador. This condiment usually has some degree of spice to it and is mixed with onions and other herbs.

7. The current president is the first to not live in the palace. "He prefers to live a more normal life" (stated by a local).[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F03%2F17%2F636253701043007957-243921015_011717_0808.jpg&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=650&h=a54741882a975887afde9ec6520c748647d5f0df0a9bcc274851a2fcea3b5cb0&size=980x&c=705280549 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F03%252F17%252F636253701043007957-243921015_011717_0808.jpg%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D650%26h%3Da54741882a975887afde9ec6520c748647d5f0df0a9bcc274851a2fcea3b5cb0%26size%3D980x%26c%3D705280549%22%7D" expand=1]

8. You can go inside the presidential palace pretty easily. There is a lot of security to pass through but other than that it is easy.

9. Most of the indigenous still speak Quechua, some don’t even speak Spanish to this day. Occasionally you need multiple people to translate. For example, sometimes a person is needed to translate Quechua to Spanish and another person from Spanish to English.

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10. Food and some items are cheaper here. Water is about 35 cents. A decent meal should be around 3-7 dollars. Meals can be as cheap as 1-3 dollars, though.

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11. An organization that studies the equator believes that the current layout of the world map is wrong. They believe it should be turned the opposite way because north means left.

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12. Indigenous believe the color red attracts good spirits and positive energy so they wear a lot of red accessories or clothing.

13. The indigenous will wear gold necklaces to represent the sun and corn.

14. The locals love if you try speaking with them in Spanish. This also creates a humor point because it is funny if you don’t know certain words or say the wrong word.

15. Canelazo is a specialty drink here made of a spiced cinnamon rum.

16. Lunch is the most important meal here. Breakfast is a light meal around 7 am, Lunch is a large meal around 1 or 2 pm, and dinner is a light meal around 7 or 8 pm. They believe that eating a large meal midday is better because it breaks down the food throughout the day and gives you more energy. Opposed to dinner being the biggest meal because you are full then going to bed. Often times breakfast and dinner is a piece of bread with tea.

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17. Ecuadorians don’t talk about sex or sexual orientation much. They have a don’t ask, don’t tell theory. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Ecuador but civil union is legally recognized.

18. There are motels in Ecuador that are completely secretive to the people that go there. The staff never sees the guests that are staying there. People essentially use these places to have sex or have a party. They drive up to a drive thru, select the type of room they wish to have, park in the garage attached to that room, use the room, and call the staff for their bill. The bill is inserted in a rotating box that is inside the room so that they remain anonymous. They then pay the bill and are able to leave.

19. In this society, some of the men are very centered on male superiority and feel that women are inferior to them. Society here is trying to change that view of course. It is a long fought battle for those trying to make a change.

20. Toilet paper cannot be thrown into the toilets in Ecuador because the plumbing systems can’t handle it.

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21. In the jungle, it is so humid that a phone can detect the moisture and won't charge because it thinks it is wet.

24. During an interview, the staff is allowed to ask any question they want from marriage status, to likes and dislikes, anything goes.

25. Since the country is on the equator, the angle of the sun and the high altitude in the mountains all contribute to making the sun more intense. You must wear a lot of sunscreen and stay covered often.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F03%2F17%2F636253881321163834-1309757486_Earth-lighting-winter-solstice-L.png&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=806&h=8bc7869f1d0b764404c2d5845be5340ef9590e1f14471fc214e21e24edcdae54&size=980x&c=423773994 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F03%252F17%252F636253881321163834-1309757486_Earth-lighting-winter-solstice-L.png%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D806%26h%3D8bc7869f1d0b764404c2d5845be5340ef9590e1f14471fc214e21e24edcdae54%26size%3D980x%26c%3D423773994%22%7D" expand=1]

26. Cuenca, Ecuador is located at 8,400 feet above sea level. At this altitude, there is less oxygen in the air, making lungs stronger when returning to lower altitudes.

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27. Altitude sickness is common for some travelers going through the Andes. Some symptoms include: dizziness, shortness of breath, dehydration, nausea and headaches.

28. When in Ecuador you are subject to their laws. Therefore, you should know some basics before traveling here.

29. If you are caught with drugs, you are charged with international drug trafficking. The government wants to stop the use of drugs and therefore has created these strict guidelines. In some cases, you can bribe the police to get out of it.

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30. In Ecuador, those charged with a crime are guilty until proven innocent

31. When you do ‘cheers’ with others you must look everyone directly in the eyes or you will have 7 years of bad sex (or so the saying goes). I don't think anyone has taken the risk of seeing if it is true.

32. In Ecuador, it’s important to greet every person when you enter a room and acknowledge each person again before you leave. Men usually shake hands while a man and women or two women, usually touch right cheeks and making a kiss sound in the air.

33. Ecuadorian Culture is considered to be high-context. This is because communication between Ecuadorians doesn’t limit itself to the simple meaning of words, but rather it is a group of factors that provide meaning such as; facial gestures, tone of voice, and body position.

34. Gender Issues – interactions between men and women in Ecuador are significantly different than in many countries. Men may refer to foreign women as a Gringa, which can be a way to say foreigner or it can mean a woman that is easy or loose, like portrayed in Hollywood movies. No is sometimes understood as yes and men usually assume that if you want to go out alone, you want to have sex. Women may attract unwanted attention if they dress with too much skin showing. Women should also ignore cat-calls whenever possible. No reaction is the best way to get them to stop.

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35. Unnecessary risks are sometimes taken, especially with motor vehicles. Seatbelt use is not common and male drivers often disregard traffic laws.

36. Cuencan families are more conservative than families in other countries.

37. The concept of personal space is viewed very differently in Ecuador. People will often stand particularly close to you when speaking, breathing or waiting in line.

38. Always ask for Consumidor final when you’re at a store. This is a receipt that says you are the final consumer and not going to resell the product. If you don’t ask for this, you will have to go through a long process to purchase your items.

39. Taxis are very prominent in Ecuador. Some rules of thumb are: Don’t use a taxi with people already in it, make sure there is a security camera, red panic button, and taximeter inside the cab. Lastly, always take a taxi that has: a white sign on top that says “taxi seguro”, is a yellow vehicle, and has an orange license plate.

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40. Machismo is very much alive here. This is the general feeling that the men are superior to women and can get anything they want. Ecuadorian male pride will probably discourage men from backing down from a situation.

While some of the facts don't seem too fun, it is a part of their culture. There are some problems, such as machismo culture, but it is difficult to change something that is so well known in a culture. These facts are not a reason to avoid the country. The country and city of Cuenca in specific is one of the safest in Latin America. The people are so kind and welcoming despite the occasional cat-call. I have never felt like I have been in danger or in trouble in this country. It is a must see country for sure, especially now that you know what to expect!

See Also: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/busting-the-myths...

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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