Learning to live in Ecuador like a true local, can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. Folks from the cities have a different routine from those on the coast, in the jungle, the Galapagos, or the Andes. Keep reading for a few ways to experience Ecuador from a local’s perspective.
One thing each region shares is food, people all over the country gather for ceviche, weekend meals, community celebrations, and national and international holidays. The other thing Ecuadorians from all over the country come together for is sports-mainly football.
Across the major cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca and in the smaller towns including Otavalo, Banos, Mindo are food markets. Open air and outdoor markets filled with stalls selling exotic fruits and vegetables, meat and fish from around the country, and staples like pasta, flour, and rice.
These markets are local meeting points and have sections with food stalls selling traditional Ecuadorian soups, main courses, and juices.
Around lunchtime these places fill up with hungry people, all with a favorite spot to eat among friends and family.
Trying Ecuadorian food alongside locals is a genuine experience for all involved. Travelers in markets are still a shock to some Ecuadorians, and those who venture off the beaten path get to rub elbows with in-the-know locals
learning to live in Ecuador like a true local, means having to pick a football team (soccer). Ecuador’s football teams have countrywide followings-bars and restaurants fill to capacity during games, and shops turn their TV’s toward the streets for those passing by. The country is home to over two hundred football clubs, and finding one that matches your style is pretty easy.
Having an Ecuadorian team and rooting for them is a quick way to win over locals, and lends an opening for discussions that go beyond the normal questions asked to international visitors.
Each city, town, village, and neighborhood have their own celebrations during the year. In Latacunga it’s the Mama Negra Festival, In Otavalo, it’s Inti Rami, and in the small town of Guapulo in Quito, it’s Fiestas de Guapulo. Each brings a fresh crowd of revelers into the streets, with traditional food, spirits, music, and dancing at hand to keep things lively.
In other neighborhoods all over the country, there are local celebrations on weekends with food and entertainment, weekly markets, and concerts that put you side by side with local’s who are as curious as you are to learn about different cultures.
While the above suggestions are some easy ways to learn to live like a local, learning the Spanish language is the surefire way to understand the locals, their customs, and way of life in Ecuador.
There are regional dialects in different parts of the country, but as a whole, the Spanish spoken by Ecuadorians is clear and easy to understand. Taking Spanish lessons and keeping at it past the basic tenses and vocabulary opens up new doors with local terms and expressions coming into focus.
The tours that Happy Gringo Travel offers are designed to give you a new perspective into the Ecuadorian culture and people. Our trips cover a lot of ground, and we provide guides who help to bridge the gap between the world abroad and the different regions of the country. For more information about our tours and the places, we can take you, contact a member of our team using our toll-free number or by clicking here.