The usual greetings are “Buenos días”, “Buenas tardes” or “Buenas noches”, (Good morning, good day or good evening respectively). Greetings are usually followed by a handshake, among men, and a kiss on the cheek, among women or between a man and a woman. “Hola” is the most common greeting between friends and acquaintances. Note that, as in most Latin American countries, it is considered normal and polite to stand fairly close to the other person during the conversation.
When speaking Spanish with Ecuadorians, be aware of the difference between the two forms for the pronoun “you”: the informal “tú” and the formal “usted”. It is common to address older people and people with whom you are not familiar as “usted”. Ecuadorians are generally lenient with non-native speakers, but use “usted” when in doubt.
Among many other cultural peculiarities, it is considered impolite in the Sierra regions to use the palm facing downwards as a reference for a person’s height. Instead, the hand is placed on the side and the measurement is taken from the bottom edge to the ground. Gesturing with the palm down is only appropriate for animals.
When you ask someone to “come here”, it is impolite to move your hand palm up. Instead, sweep your hand palm down.
Acceptable clothing varies depending on the region of the country. In the mountainous Sierra region, including Quito, clothing is usually warmer due to the weather. On the coast, on the other hand, more casual clothing predominates.