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Life in Ecuador, of course, is something that is best experienced in person and on the spot. However, this article endeavours to give you a taste of the lifestyle that awaits you if you decide to move to Ecuador.

Family first

You've got to love that Ecuador's official motto as a country is 'Ama la vida' which means 'Love life'. It is not just a motto. Ecuadorians put it into practice naturally every single day, starting at home. At the heart of life in Ecuador is the family unit, which is formed by the parents, grandparents, siblings, and kids, plus oftentimes including extended members such as or godfathers, godmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In the past, Ecuadorian homes held traditional gender roles, with the husband being the breadwinner and the woman acting as a housewife. Machismo, accordingly, is deeply ingrained in everyday life and confirmed feminist expatriates might bristle and grit their teeth in the course of their adaption in Ecuador. However, Ecuadorian women are gaining ground in business and politics. A woman working outside the home has become an accepted position, and women can now be successful in Ecuador in both business and politics. Nevertheless, families are cemented by strong ties and this fundamentally heart-warming culture of family permeates all areas of life in Ecuador.

Almuerzo at home

In Ecuador, one does not live to work, one works in order to live and enjoy life to the fullest. This means spending pleasant moments with loved ones. If possible, workers will always try to go back home at midday and enjoy a home-cooked meal with family members. The 'Almuerzo' or lunch is the most important meal of the day, lasting from one to two hours, whether at home or not. Restaurants will offer multiple-course menus similar to those you might find in an Ecuadorian household at midday for as little as $2 to $3 and will include juice, soup, rice, meat, vegetables and maybe even a small sweet for dessert. Dinner tends to be lighter, made of leftovers from lunch or perhaps soup and rice or a fried egg.

There's no hurry

At all, ever. The pace of life in Ecuador is slower than that of the US or many European countries, as noted by the normal 2-hour lunch. A relaxed attitude is adopted towards all activities. This can be both delightful (for example when savouring one of the aforementioned lovingly home-made meals) or impossibly frustrating to some expats (for example when you would like to have a definite answer as to when your internet will be installed). Banks, restaurants, clinics, and pharmacies are usually open during lunch, but be prepared to have your favourite shop or repair store closed during lunch for two to three hours as the workers enjoy their lunch.

Warm interaction

Foreigners almost unanimously find the Ecuadorian people to be warm, open and accommodating. A basic greeting is a handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and a smile. Once an Ecuadorian has accepted you as a friend, however, you'll be greeted in a much more tactile manner; in that case, men use an 'abrazo', embracing and patting each other on the shoulder, while women receive or give a kiss once on the left cheek. You may want to let your Ecuadorian acquaintance determine when to switch to this friendlier stance, but chances are you won't have to wait long.

Useful links:

Daily life and social customs
Etiquette in Ecuador

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