When visiting the South American country of Ecuador it’s a good idea to use some of the following rules of etiquette to ensure your trip is free of any social embarrassment.

Greetings are standard for most South American countries

Keep direct eye contact as a sign of respect and a smile to show you are approachable. Ecuadorians tend to stand closer during conversation than we may be used to in Australia – but do not step away as they may take offense to this.

Ecuador -

Be aware of your body language

As Ecuadorians tend to be more tactile in their communication style it is important to remember they are highly tuned to body language and non-verbal communication. So standing with your arms crossed or having an unhappy look on your face could be taken in a different way in which you would wish to suggest.

Gift giving etiquette

If you are invited to someone’s home in Ecuador you are welcome to bring gifts such as; flowers (roses are a good choice), quality wine from your home country, good quality spirits or a coffee table book about your home country. Gifts are generally opened when received.

Body language etiquette

Fidgeting with hands is considered impolite and somewhat unnerving in social situations. Yawning in public is considered rude and do not point at people.

Dress code

The dress code depends on where you are visiting and the occasion, but attempt to go for a more conservative – smart/casual and practical dress code. Female travellers are urged to dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention from young males.

Dress smart if invited to a home for an evening meal

This shows respect to the host. If you are invited at 6pm for dinner – the host won’t generally expect you until 30 to 40 minutes later. When entering a room it is important to greet and shake hands with everyone in the room.

Leave some food on your plate

If you clear the plate, your host will think you are still hungry and give you more food.

Women are expected to enjoy wine time

Traditionally in Ecuador the stereotype is that women do not drink hard liquor and only drink wine. However, female travellers who may want to have a beer or a scotch on the rocks won’t be shunned from society!

Don’t be a wallflower

If you are noticeably quiet in a social setting and do not join in on conversation – the host may get offended.

Toilet etiquette

Toilet paper does not get flushed in the toilet – there is a bin next to the toilet where they are placed. The reason is the toilet system gets blocked with toilet paper, and in most cases espeically in hotels the bowl will overflow. In many public toilets there is no toilet paper and if toilet paper is available you may be charged a fee to use it. You may want to carry your own toilet paper/toilet tissues with you to avoid having to use the ‘left hand’ technique of wiping one’s behind.

Pedestrians do not have the right of away

Don’t attempt to cross the street and expect traffic to stop for you – they won’t!

Ecuador – Four worlds in one place.  Andes, Galapagos, Pacific, Amazon!