Archaeological evidence indicates that Ecuador has
been continuously occupied for some 5,000 years.
The powerful Inca Empire reached its height in this
area just prior to Columbus’ discovery of the New
The Spanish conquistadores’ arrival came at a time
when the Incas were weakened by a brutal civil war.
The Spanish conquest of Ecuador was complete by
The official language is Spanish.
The vast majority (95 percent) of
Ecuadorans are Roman Catholic. The
constitution guarantees freedom of
The population numbers around 11 million
(1991 estimate). About 25 percent of the
population is Amerindian; another 65 percent is
mestizo (mixed European and Indian).
As a foreigner, you are expected to be
punctual to all business appointments.
Be aware that Ecuadorans do not stress
punctuality. If Ecuadorans arrive at a
meeting fifteen or twenty minutes late, they
still feel they are on time.
It is best to arrive in Quito a day before you
begin work, because it takes time to adjust to
the high altitude.
Business hours are 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
and 3:00 to 6:00 P.M., Monday trough Friday.
(However many executives arrive late, so do
not schedule appointments for earlier than 10
Stores are open from 8:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.,
although some stores vary their hours.
Ecuadorans are more
relaxed and informal in
business settings than some
other Latin Americans.
It is a good idea to be
informed about local culture
and history, or at least to show
curiosity about Ecuador.
Lunch is the main meal of the day, and is the
usual business meal.
Ecuadorans are very hospitable and friendly.
Ecuadorans are very friendly; if you stablish
a good relationship, you mey be invited to your
associate’s home or farm. Consider this an
Women should note that while it is
acceptable to drink wine, Ecuadorans are not
accustomed to seeing a woman drink whiskey
or other hard liquor.
Ecuador is five hours
Mean Time ( G. M .T. -5 ).
The standard greeting is the handshake,
both men and women and between sexes.
The handshake is also used when departing.
Ecuadorans stand closer together when
conversing than do North Americans.
If you are given a gift, you should
be very effusive in your thanks.
When invited to a home for a meal,
bring flowers, pastries, or
chocolates. Avoid lilies and
marigolds, which are used at
If you know you will meet a
business associate‘s family, it is a
good idea to bring gifts for the
In general, formality increases as
you move inland. The coastal resort
areas are the most casual, and shorts
may be worn in public there
(although bikinis are rarely seen,
even on the beach).
Women should dress
conservatively and modestly.