Black Americans

Good day,
I was wondering how the reception is for black Americans? I have been reading post but I don't think I have read anything from a black American perspective on living in Ecuador.  Please give us any input on the reality in Ecuador. We are thinking more of the coastal areas but all input will be appreciated.

Hello Seminole13, hope that you'll soon be enlightened.;)


Hello Seminole 13,

We are also African American and we are moving to Manta in July of this year. Yes a couple of months and my family of four will be moving. I have visited Ecuador and I did not feel any bad feelings from the locals or other expats that would lead me to believe that I would have a bad time.


I have an african friend living in Quito that has had major problems with racism from the locals,which surprised me considering Quito seems so diverse. I have also heard complains from Black Americans visiting Cuenca as well. Even the locals that I know here in Cuenca have openly admitted that they don't trust African or black people. Coming from California I had never seen racism like this. The coast is very different though, there is a much larger black population (especially towards the north coast) and it seems to be a more free and liberal environment.

I am sorry but I have to agree with Sungodess. (great name!)  I have been told by locals in Quito that the class system in Ecuador is based mostly on skin colour.  The darker the skin then the lower in class they assume you are and treat you as such.  White skinned "Europeans" were the conquering class back in the 1500's.  The local indigenous population was then looked down on until the Spanish brought slaves from Jamaica and the Caribbean to work the plantations.  These people were put to the bottom of the class ladder.  A coworker of mine is living with/married to a wonderful and beautiful lady from Nigeria.  She has been studying here in Quito and has reported issues like not being served, not getting help in the stores...  She has a group that she hangs out with and does enjoy living here but it comes with issues.
Of course there are always exceptions and for the most part I have found that it is only 20% of the population that gives the rest the bad name.  Most of the Ecuadorians I have met are very impartial and do not present any bigotry or prejudice towards anyone.  Even as a 260 lb., 6'2" very white male I have had issues with service and the like as I don't speak Spanish.  I am sure that you will find a place for you here as it is truly a wonderful and beautiful country.

Wow, very enlightening.
I was really curious on this subject matter. I am Black and Puerto Rican and I have been told I could pass in EC as a local. My wife is also of a lighter skinned persuasion.

Sungodess and Mehrlyn your comments are of the universal prejudice that happens to most people of "darker skin in a nation where most people are of lighter skin. It even happens to lighter skinned black people compared to darker skinned black people, unfortunately they even go against each other. I have seen it first hand.   

I have lived in many countries and I am an American but the instances you have mentioned are common in NYC,London,Florida, Cuba just to name a few. People will always run into ignorant classes of folks but that doesn't  mean we cant contribute with our culture and make them aware we are all just people... People are always afraid of the unknown.   

However, I still plan on making a scouting trip to coastal EC and hopefully make a home for me and my family.

I was hoping it was a place of not only beauty but diversity.. I am hooked on House Hunters International and I have seen many travel to live there..I am truly interested... How hard is it to bring to large dogs into the country? Soo many questions...thanks for the info and would appreciate any other info anyone could give me... One last qestion, is it a safe country and what is the crime like? Thanks everyone for the input...


Hello Pupp,

Welcome to expat-blog,

I suggest you start a new thread on forum Ecuador with your questions, for better visibility.


This site is very informative. I, too, considered a "recon" visit to Ecuador, but responses here re-confirmed what I already knew about racial prejudice in Ecuador. While in the Army, I lived in Panama and Nicaragua and visited every Central American country and Peru and Bolivia in S. America. All countries had pockets of racism, with Panama being the most diverse. I grew up in Alabama during the 60's with blatant racism (including an assault) and I now find that I have 0 tolerance for racial ignorance. It is all quite sad and tragic, especially considering science has proven beyond a doubt that all humans evolved from Africans.

Good luck in your quest.  Please let us know if you find a place with zero racial ignorance.

Back in the 60's my wife and I could have been jailed in Alabama or Virginia as an interracial couple.  Those places off the list for a while now, still searching.

mugtech :

Back in the 60's my wife and I could have been jailed in Alabama or Virginia as an interracial couple.  Those places off the list for a while now, still searching.

Actually a great many states had anti-miscegenation laws at one time (most began repealing them or not enforcing them after WW2).

In the 19th century a Paraguayan dictator tried the opposite approach: he made it illegal for Europeans to marry each other -- they had to marry natives or mestizos. I posted about it on my blog a few weeks ago.


I am a single black mother who had up until three weeks ago resided in Quito. Currently I reside in Manta. I have not recieved any attitude that I would refer to as racist but more like arrogance. As in anywhere in the world you will be judged by color, dress code, material possession and the list goes on.

I am not bothered by it because I came here for a purpose and I am only focused on that. In fact what I have received is the never ending surprise on Ecuatorians faces when they realise that I speak English and is not Ecuatorian. They are usually more helpful.

My 7 year old daughter is the ice breaker in all of this as they are usually fascinated with her because she is a little black girl that speaks English. I am not perturbed by this as it is not the norm to see Black foreigners in comparison to lighter skin foreigners.

In all it is a great country to live where you can be yourself, the arrogant persons are like a drop in a bucket. Majority of the Ecuatorians are very warm and unprejudiced.

Well, I am not African American, but am also not white. I am often mistaken for a local and on many occasions have been charged the entry fee for locals (which is always less then that for Expats) without even my speaking a single word or asking for my cedula! I have not experienced any racism at all in Ecuador and this is the first time in my life (i have visited over 17 countries) that I have felt comfortable and at ease in every setting as far as acceptance into the society goes. Even my other colored friends have not reported any racism (and we have spoken on this subject often). In fact my personal opinion is that we are accepted here better than Whites as they do not naturally associate us with America, and most locals have an issue with Americans, either due to US political stands (where they are seen as bullies), or walking ATMs.

If you get too much of a hard time you can always come to Australia. We think black Americans are cool. The ladies love you here too but for all the wrong reasons:)

I'm a vet too. I get tired of arrogant and ignorant folks too that often look like us. The prices in this greedy country are going up all the time. I and my wife will take our chances and leave after we sell our house.

Seminole13 and others on this forum:
Just a little history on Afro-Ecuadorians, this group makes up about 10% of the Ecuadorian population, and if you count the mulatto population the actual amount would be around 20% of the total national population.  Black Ecuadorians live throughout the country but mainly reside throughout the coastal cities and Valle de Chota.  Cities like San Lorenzo and Esmeraldas, a very popular tourist area, are predominately comprised of individuals of African descent.   Unlike other Africans brought to Latin America the Afro-Ecuadorian were not enslaved.  In places like the Valle de Chota they have blended with the local indigenous.  Like anywhere in the world there is always going to be discrimination whether it is by class or color, but the Ecuadorian people in general are good natured and are often more than curious to learn about other people and their culture.   As some folks have stated language is the barrier that is often mistaken as discrimination.  Being that you and your wife are Boricua you should have no problem at all fitting in especially en la Costa, where the food, music and culture is similar to that of the Caribbean.  There is also a small coastal town named Puerto Rico where the local Puerto Ricans (Ecuadorians living there) fly the Puerto Rican flag.

Hey are you guys still in Manta? My mother found and apartment by the playa near Supermaxi. There Trini Americans.

I am back and from the Bahamas and I have been living here for 6 months for no problems

Here in Ecuador. People are Crazy over white Americans. As a black American, people would jurge you by your skin color. That's Bad of them.


Great subject matter...I would love to hear more from those living in Ecuador and Belize. My wife and I are also considering moving from the US to another country for periods of 6 to 8 months at a time. Any information that may help as far as avoiding the area that are not welcoming ...I would love to hear about

Tahnks Don

Hi everyone,   We are living in Bahia de Caraquez and have traveled the coastal areas from Salinas as far North as Rio Verde.   We have 2 friends here in Bahia who are Black Americans.  They are both married to non-blacks.   We have visited with several black people in this area and have not observed any blatant discrimination.  As white Americans, we have seen some things like different pricing, and some misunderstandings due to language.  As one travels North, one sees more Black Ecuadorians.  In Atacames and Esmeraldas there are many.   We did not encounter any problems and found all the people we met to be friendly and caring regardless of their skin color.  If anything, the worst we have seen is due to language, or the underlying feeling that all North Americans are loaded with money. We were told not to go to Esmeraldas as it was not safe for White people. Yet we saw no problems while there.  I have seen much more blatant prejudice in the US, with a great deal of it being from Black people towards White people.  We are a White family who have Black family friends back in the US and now here in Ecuador as well.   When I was a small child living in Louisiana I saw blatant discrimination in the 60's and was not allowed to play with some of the other White children in the neighborhood, because I did play with the Black children who lived nearby.  My family was not prejudice and did not raise me to be so.   Ecuador has been wonderful so far.  It is not perfect, but I do not believe that there is anywhere on Earth that is.   Come on down and check it out!!

I agree. Lets face it discrimination is everywhere. I saw Germans getting harrassed in Madrid more than myself. But you cannot let that stop you. Do the right thing and respect people. Overall the people in Ecuador-Manta, Salines, Bahia, Portoviejo , Esmeralda's, these people have been so warm and nice to my 74 yr old mother , she feels safer there than Newport Beach, Utah or anywhere else in the states.

I read this thread a while ago, and didn't have much to say. But, last friday, I attended a celebration at a local High School and saw something that made me realize how easy it is to have a misunderstanding. There were several groups of dancers representing different parts of Ecuador. The dancers for the Esmeraldes region (which is predominately black) had their faces painted black. Knowing the history of "black face" in the U.S., and sensing my own reaction, I had to ask. I didn't speak to all the dancers, but I can be pretty certain that that act had no racial overtones at all. In fact, "black face" was seen as a symbol of Esmeraldes' culture and actually a tribute.

I can imagine that one can have a bad, if not downright nasty, racial experience anywhere, along any racial divide. But, things are not always as clearcut as they seem. Especially in Ecuador where cultural differences can be quite confusing. I can only speak for Loja, where I live. Here, there are some arrogant and, no doubt, racially reactive people (not just towards blacks, but all types of groups, especially the poor or "foreigners."). But this is by and large a very small group. My personal experience has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Once you find your group of friends, you will not have problems. When a friend introduces you, you will be shocked at how warm and inviting everyone will be towards you. Established relationships have great weight here. And, the greater majority of people are neither prejudice or judgmental (at least in Loja).

Aloha I too would like to know where you find "the PLACE" with 0 % tolerance for the ignorance of racism. We mixed people get it from all sides!It is alive and well in Hawai'i even on The Big Island where we live. Hawai'i is "supposed" to be a melting pot. We are moving to the coast of EC in 6 months to retire again, seems there are other things to be concerned with beside racism there.  I have found in my 58 yrs of life you have to make your own niche and live it!

Aloha Tywanna:  My husband and I will probably see you there in Oct. or Nov. We will be staying at the Donkey Den for a month while looking for a suitable rental home.  Enjoy the journey and the life.  Got all your paper work done for your visa? Or are ou staying? We are taking 4 animals too. Long trip from the Big Island 17 hrs. Whow!  Looking most forward to it however.  Keep in touch; islandantoinette[at] or at  A hui ho, Antoinette

Aloha Seminole13 are you living in Frederiksted, St. Croix?  I lived there a couple of times.  Was there in 89 when Hurricane Hugo hit.  Quite a MESS indeed.  We are moving to EC in Oct or Nov of this year, for all the same reasons most ex pats move there. I think not knowing Spanish is a far bigger hinderance than ones racial make up there from everything I have studied the past 2 yrs. We'll soon see.  The Visa legalities are also another more daunting prospect.  I think people really make too much of race in Ecuador as other things seem more important. Granted it is nice to know, however afer living in the mainland (US) where racism is alive and well, I found pleaces like St. Croix, Jamiaca, and Cayman to all be far less racial than America.  EC is probably the same after all it is South America big difference! A hui ho, Antoinette

We're also thinking about Ecuador and have heard more positives then negatives from those already there! It took centuries to provide and promote current mentalities and not all use their literacy abilities to,'think outside the box."

Hello Antoinette,
I had read that you are bringing some animals with you, and I have to ask: are you bringing some breeding Goldens? I absolutely love them. I am moving to Cuenca in 4 days, alone, and I would absolutely love to have a Golden companion. I am torn, because there are so many dogs that are abandoned there, and I am pretty sure I will be volunteering at an animal rescue group in Cuenca.
The thought of a little round ball of Gold is pretty hard to ignore. If nothing else, I'll volunteer to baby sit your first litter, and all that follow, for that matter.
Best Wishes in your Travels
Stay Well,

Can anyone comment on Belize. I am in the process of learning Spanish in order to function in Ecuador. I have heard the transition to Belize is easier because the major language is English and the dollar is their curancy. Is anyone in the group living there that can give me any insight on food, rental property prices, securtity and the overal cost of living and the people?


Don: I did some research into Belize a number of years ago in regard to a business project (we were considering outsourcing some processes there).

I wouldn't care to live there myself, because the weather is not to my taste (too hot/humid), but that's just me. I recall also that there were crime problems in Belize City -- but that was years ago.

You would probably do better posting this question on the Belize section of the forum.


Even when IL lists Belize as the greatest place in the world to retire this month, it admits that the cost of living is the lowest in Central America, but lists numbers higher than Ecuador.  So as to stay on topic, Belize is also more expensive for Black Americans than Ecuador.

have a good trip!

have a good trip to Cuenca!

Aloha All on this thread:  We also have considered Belize however the lack of infrastructure within the whole country is not what we feel is at all safe! Plus I known people who have lived there and the "noseams"  are prolific, you think mosquitoes are bad. Noseams are smaller and more intense and prolific, it was the noseams and rats and 3 FOOT yes FEET LONG!! Centipedes in Jamaica that literally drove me out in Westmoreland! If you are a lilly white person staying in Sandals in the East End of JA then you are "safe" and protected.  But the REAL world of Jamaica where we lived in a hut with no running water and electricity as well as not even an outhouse (this IS the way MANY MANY MANY Jamaicans live in JA!) it is not pretty.  So anyway we ruled Belize out. 
As for EC we have since my last postings decided NOT to move to EC. We WERE going to move to the coast DUE to the climate. Cuenca is 8,540 FEET high! NOT warm. People wear coats even and at night it gets down to 40's and 50's also - so many white ex pats there because they like that cold.  Here on our island only the whites live in WAimea and Volcano where it is COLD!!!  Also Quito is even HIGHER in elevation like 10,000 ft! And if you have asthma or any breathing problems you can forget these 2 places! 
Anyway due to what I have extensively researched over TWO YEARS NOW on the Ecuador Expats and Ruta del Sol Mates  groups in Facebook we have decided NOT to move to  Ecuador DUE TO the HIGH CRIME! We are not from NY or Chicago or LA or Detroit or any inner city ghetto where we have to be extremely worried about crime!  From everything we have read and studied over the course of this time crime is rising up up an away! Not staying the same. It is so bad people have their "fanny packs" cut of of them. They are carring knives, mace and wasp spray. We do NOT live like this.  They feel they MUST live in SECURE buildings as they are broken in to.  They quote every ex pat has been burgled at least twice. Not to mention when you go out not wearing any jewelry etc.  They have laptops stolen, cellphones on a regular basis and even 2 families of 7 had gas  (it is believed Scopolamine) put into their homes, knocked out them and their dogs and their 2 houses cleaned out!  With this kind of thing going on in this country it has put up way too many red flags over the years for us! As I said we are coming from a place where we have not had to even lock our doors, no bars on windows and I won't live in a place where you have bars on your windows.  Some people in US think this is OK and normal - not me.  So we have chosen Panama NOTE this does NOT mean Panama CITY! Outside the city of Panama prices are almost equal to Ecuador. You can rent a NICE home on any beach for $600 including electricity AND take your pets and also excellent health care still etc.  Prices are still LOW LOW LOW and we can afford domestic help.  I am too old to clean any more I need a housekeeper. Not the best health as a retired RN.  So anyway this is our NEW decision.  All the BEST to those of you if you do decide to go to Ecuador.  Oh also the permanent Visa and even to just "go" requirements are more relaxed than Ecuador.  Also the availablity of material goods should you choose to want to get them ARE more readily available in Panama city a 4 hrs. drive from where we will be living. I hope this helps some people. I encourage all of you who are considering moving to EC to go get on these groups in Facebook and read, read, read and learn.  It is interesting - but again NOT directed at blacks which is a drag.  Sadly of the one or two blacks who we did try to coorespond with who were in inter racial relationships they refused to write back.  So. . . . . Thus this page however very few of us on here.  To the person who asked about taking pets to EC I have looked into it extensively and it is A BIG hoop to jump through. But it is APHIS not Ec or Panama and you just HAVE to do ALL the steps and pay all the costs and it IS time sensative. You have ONLY TEN yes 10 days to DO EVERYTHING!!!!  Go to this site and read all about it.  And when you get to the particularies I have the form I can send you Page 1 never COULD find page 2 seems you have to pay $20 to get that from the EC consulate.  We WILL still be dealing with probably the exact same thing for Panama too.  But we ARE taking our animals, so . . just HAVE to do it and hope for the BEST!  It is nerve wracking however.   Aloha everyone this day Antoinette Jackson Oh by the way the main reason as I said Panama on the ocean lack of crime!!!!  Also not EVERYONE is packed up on the only coastal area as in EC and in EC everyone and their brother has and IS building up the coast to where it is now USA as in Costa Rica. Everywhere AM expats go they turn it into another USA and from what we have read the Ecuadorians are getting very upset about how their country has and is changing because of Americans in everyway!  As they did in Costa Rica as they do everywhere they go.  They destroyed Hawai'i in everyway!  A lot of anger here by Hawai'ians.  Am came over here OVERTHREW the monarchy as they do everywhere else they go when they tak over a country and made the Hawai'ians not be allowed to speak their own language as they did the Am. Indians in US.  They stole the land, and even to this day the most expensive Hawai'ian Home Lands are again condemned by US govt and then conficated by US and for the greed of money they build even more high rises.  Just as the broken treaties with the INdians in AM. Nothing seems to ever change. 
Well got to get off my soap box. We get angry as we also are part Indian.  So Aloha to you this day.  Aloha does not MEAN Hello or Goodbye it means "I share my breath with you!"  So much mis information in the world today.

Aloha ZenSpike:  Here is my url for my Goldens:


Every one of them is a little heart breaker. Beautiful little bundles. What a great thing to be around them.
Thanks for the link, and the up lift the pups and Mom's gave me!
Stay Well,

Something's IslandAntoinette makes sense, others are far fetched. Ecuador crime? Haven't seen any. Mind you EC GDP is growing 2x fast as Panama but infrastructure there is better because of US investment. I prefer culture over that as I like to adapt with the locals.

agree with ddagencylv ...I guess to each is own...Happy Travels Everyone !

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