Spanish in Ecuador

Greetings and Partings

Two people greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek

A normal greeting or farewell between family and friends in Ecuador consists of a kiss on the right cheek. In more formal situations, a handshake is used. When one is uncertain as to what the appropriate greeting should be, it is best to shake hands and let the other person decide if a kiss should be incorporated into the greeting.

A traveler should be aware of the importance of the formal versus the informal mode of address. In formal situations, a style of respect is called for along with the formal use of the second person pronoun. In less formal settings, one would use the informal form of the second person pronoun along with a more relaxed manner. When in doubt as to the appropriate tone to use, one should begin with formality and allow the other person to indicate whether or not a less formal approach is acceptable.

When greeting or saying goodbye at a large gathering, regardless of the effort, one must greet each person individually. A typical informal farewell consists of a kiss or saying a casual goodbye such as “Chao” or “hasta luego.” Otherwise a handshake is appropriate.