Ecuador’s traditional arts, textiles, and ceramics are based in a culture that dates from around 3200 B.C. Ecuador is divided into four distinct regions–the highlands, coastal areas, rainforest, and the famous Galápagos Islands (where Darwin studied and wrote about evolution)–and is located directly on the equator. Ecuadorians are open, affectionate and curious people who take friendships seriously.
I had a wonderful year and still keep in touch with my American family. After AFS I went back to Ecuador and went to Law school. In 1984 my American parents came to Ecuador for my Law graduation. We had a nice time together and they enjoyed their stay in my country very much. I am most grateful to AFS for that unforgettable year in the U.S. that was so remarkable and I will never forget.–Maritza Piedrahita, host student from Ecuador to USA
An extended family with grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts is customary and an important element of society, providing both economic and moral support to its members. Families are close-knit and enjoy most activities together, like daytrips to the mountains or to the beach. Brothers and sisters attend social events together.
Ecuadorians are very protective of their children; children are expected to show respect for their parents and elders. Teenage girls have more restrictions placed on them than teenage boys have.
Most teenagers are involved with homework during the week. Weekends are the time for parties and socializing. Teens like to go out in groups, go to dances, play sports, go to movies, talk in a local café or just hang out in the town square. Community arts and recreation activities are popular as well.
People from the mountainous regions (including Quito) eat lots of corn and potatoes; people from the coastal area prefer rice, beans and bananas.
Caldos (soups) are often served at breakfast. Other popular dishes include lechon (suckling pig), llapingachos (fried mashed potatoes), seco (stew), tostados de maiz (corn-fried pancakes) and cheese pancakes, often served with fritada (scraps of fried and roast pork).
Spanish is the official language of Ecuador but the Indian language Quechua is also widely spoken. About 95% of the population is Roman Catholic.