Living in Ecuador
Colonised by Spain in the 16th century, Ecuador is a country located in North-western South America. Its numerous beaches, tropical climate, low crime rate, growing economy and excellent health care system make Ecuador an attractive destination for expats.
Ecuador has a total population of 16.5 million whereas about 72% are comprised of Mestizos, and another 7% are of Amerindian descent. Aside from being a popular retirement destination for foreign nationals, this country also attracts hardworking individuals who want to seek employment in the education, service and agriculture industries. This country known as the ‘Banana Republic’ also boasts a low cost of living and a dynamic economy that’s why its residents enjoy comfortable yet inexpensive lives.
A Haven for Sports Enthusiasts
Sports have a significant place in the hearts of the Ecuadorians, and like most South American countries, the national sport here is football. Though several professional teams can be watched, there are also lots of amateur leagues where expats can join. Other popular games in this country are volleyball, basketball and tennis. Hiking, waking, and climbing are also popular outdoor activities among the locals since Ecuador boasts irresistibly beautiful terrains.
This country also holds a yearly race event called the Guayaquil Marathon that takes place every first Sunday of October. Participants are mostly locals as well as visitors from other countries such as Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. When it comes to water sports, Ecuador is certainly no underdog because aside from the beautiful Galapagos Island, expats can also visit some of the most famous coastal resorts such as Ayampe and Montanita which are both excellent spots for surfing.
Tips for Driving in Ecuador
Most highways in Ecuador have been improved during the recent years, but expats should still stay cautious when driving at night particularly on mountain roads. This country permits an individual to use his foreign driving permit but only for thirty days. After one month, expats must visit the Transportation Headquarters of the National Police to attend a course and to obtain an Ecuadorian driving license.
Traffic in Ecuador moves on the right-hand side of the road while overtaking is on the left-side. Car insurance and wearing of seatbelts are mandatory in this country. Expats who love to go out for a drink should keep in mind that the maximum permitted alcohol level is 0.07%. In Ecuador, the maximum speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour in urban areas and those who are stubborn enough to hit 60 kilometres per hour will be taken to jail. Traffic is common in this country whereas typical rush hours are 8:00-9:30 AM, 12nn-1pm and 5 pm – 7 pm from Mondays to Fridays.
The Culture of Ecuador
Spanish is the official language in Ecuador and is spoken by 93% of its people. Other languages being used in this country are Quichua (from Inca dialect), Chinese, French and German. Those who are interested in finding employment in Ecuador are advised to learn how to speak Spanish because job opportunities for expats who do not possess adequate skills in Spanish tend to be limited.
Respect is a trait deeply valued by the Ecuadorians newcomers should know how to greet properly. Buenos dias (good morning), Buenos tardes (good afternoon) and Beunas noches (good evening) are the most common greetings. Make sure to complement those with a firm handshake or a kiss on the cheeks. It is also considered polite to stay a bit close when someone is talking since it is a gesture of interest.
Those who will live in the Sierra regions should remember that referring to the height of a person using a downward facing palm is considered impolite. When beckoning someone to come close, always motion the hand on a downward swipe with the palm facing down. Machismo is also heavily felt in the Ecuadorian culture whereas the men assume the role of the breadwinner while the women stay at home to look after the family.
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