Your new local habits in Ecuador

Hello everyone,

Living in Ecuador is a great way to immerse in a new culture and lifestyle.

Have you embraced local customs since you've lived in Ecuador? If so, which one(s)?

Did local customs change the way you see things, appreciate life or organize your daily routines? As far as the language is concerned, did you learn new expressions or words and do you use them?

What do you like most about the lifestyle in your host country? Are there any local specificities you are still struggling with?

Thanks in advance,


I’ve embraced a few local customs, foremost is time as it’s nonchalant here and I like that. It’s okay to be late. I feel much mellower and not as stressed. I had to wait about 3 weeks for my internet to put it into perspective. I had to wait about 3 months for my visa, almost 2 weeks for my bank account but this was before my cedula. Everything is slow motion here, you want to speed it up, and you’ll look like a retard.

Closeness as in proximity – people get sooo close here. At first it was like whoa this person just invaded my airspace but it’s just completely normal. I’ve embraced this as well, an example is at the supermarket, you want to get something you want and there’s someone there, go ahead and invade their airspace, it’s no problem, and if you don’t, you’ll look like a retard waiting for them to move. This isn’t limited to supermarkets, Ecuadoreans get so close when talking and just about every interaction. 

I also like the closeness of relationships, I think it’s overdone in some regards but I like that family and friends keep in touch. It’s a very family and friend oriented society. I have a friend who visits his grandmother every month and she lives about an hour outside of Quito. That with regards to my friend I like, what I don’t like is too much reliance on friends and family as I believe it hinders independence.  But, I’ve contacted friends and family more while living here, so I guess some of that has rubbed off on me.

As for lifestyle we are very active – so thank you Ecuador. We walk so much here and it’s enjoyable. This is solely due to Andes climate which is perfect year round. We still haven’t immersed fully in this beautiful country, and that’s okay, but day to day, the lifestyle here is definitely above average.

However as many of you have read and saw on TV, Ecuador is experiencing many earthquakes and aftershocks and quite frankly some of them are unnerving. Some are strong. This is the main negative and unfortunately a part of life here for that past 3 months, hopefully things completely subside.

Three years ago, I went to visit a young couple in Guayaquil and I liked it enough there, to come back to retire in Ecuador. I acquired a Visa to be a resident and a Cedula I.D. I also had to learn Spanish, which at my age is still a bit of a struggle. It is quite an adjustment, but so far, so good. I am in a relationship with a younger man, and we moved to the city of Ambato, about an hour and a half away from Quito. It is peaceful here and the weather is perfect. Life is affordable, and he found a nice job. We are renting a small house from a local woman. I really like it here, but there are still things I need to get used to. There are too many stray dogs and cats, and everybody has a dog on the roof, barking constantly. I wear earplugs at night, to be able to get some sleep. The ``Let`s charge the Gringa double`` is Not working for me at all, and I am now just walking away, when I have the feeling, I am being cheated with prices for fruits and veggies. Before I get into a taxi, I ask how much he will charge me to my destination. One learns fairly quickly. My Spanish is improving as well. All in all, I have not regretted my move. I was able to teach English part-time, and that was wonderful.  Another very important task was to obtain Health Insurance. Ex-pats are now excepted into Ecuador`s universal health insurance  - IESS, and it is affordable. Might not be the best, but all I could handle financially, and always better than none. I still get odd looks from some people, because I kind of stand out a little with my white hair and green eyes. I just smile a tad, and most of the time, people smile back. Found some cool restaurants in the down-town area and the service and food were top notch. I also like the parks in Ambato. It still feels more like a life-time adventure and that is fine with me, having lived in four other countries, incl. Canada for over 40 years. While teaching, I met some nice people and made new friends. I guess, I`ll hang loose around here for a while.

While I have six months to go yet until my move, I look forward to the new culture and lifestyle change. I wanted to compliment you, Priscilla, on your excellent questions for starting conversations. You come up with great topics. What is a little of your story? Did you move to Ecuador, or are you from there? I am a retiring English teacher, but hope to do some tutoring or teaching in exchange for Spanish lessons. My husband just wants to kick back!

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