Last updated on March 16th, 2021

I lived, studied and worked in Quito for 4 years. I also worked in a rural area of the coast and have traveled extensively throughout the country. Here are my suggestions.

When visiting Ecuador, it is important to consider where you will travel in the country and what sorts of activities you will engage in. Dressing for Quito and the central cordillera cities (highlands) is quite different from dressing on the coast or in the rainforest.

Quito is a relatively cosmopolitan capital city and has a cool, spring-like climate every day of the year (Cuenca, Loja, and Ambato are similar environments). Zip-off trekking pants, sandals, shorts, large backpacks and hiking attire of any sort will stand out sorely here. You won’t be going on safari in Quito, so don’t dress for it! Even if the majority of your trip will be adventure travel, it would be wise to have a pair of nice dark pants or jeans and some non-athletic shoes for any stopovers in cities. While you will see some Ecuadorian women in casual or sporting clothes, a foreigner wearing sneakers, a sweatshirt, jogging pants, a windbreaker-type jacket, etc. will be seen as a typical (read: unsavvy, pickpocket-target) tourist. Neat, business-casual dress will go a long way toward helping you navigate smoothly in Quito. A light jacket and/or sweater is a must since the city is cool in the mornings and evenings and can be downright chilly when it rains. Dresses and skirts are far less common for casual wear in Quito than in North America and Europe and even long or conservative styles are likely to garner “piropos” (comments and come-ons from men) on the street. Others might disagree with me on this point, but I don’t recommend packing a dress or skirt unless you plan to attend a special event (wedding or the like). Muster up your self-esteem and bring well-fitting tops, pants and jeans; baggy clothes, particularly baggy pants, are not a common style in Quito.

On the warm and steamy pacific coast, tight-fitting clothes go to a whole other level! Dressing in Guayaquil and in other warm parts of the country is far less conservative than in Quito. Here sleeveless and strappy tops, leg-baring skirts and shorts, sandals and other tropical styles are common. That said, a particularly light-haired, light-skinned woman might prefer to bare a little less skin to reduce unwanted attention.

If you are bound for the Oriente (Amazonía, rainforest), serious hiking in the Andes, Galapagos island-hopping or mucky adventures on the coast, then some more technical gear is appropriate (but I repeat, PLEASE don’t wear it around in Quito). Solid footwear, reliable raingear and quick-drying breathable clothing will help you to be comfortable. Keep in mind, though, that your Ecuadorian guides will likely be wearing simple jeans, t-shirts and rubber boots, so no need to impress. In fact, sticking to basics is a good idea everywhere. The key to dressing well as a foreigner in Ecuador is to look good without a lot of opulence: inexpensive jewelry, simple accessories. A basic handbag or shopping bag will blend in well in the city. Save the daypack for rural excursions and leave the Gucci at home.

Ecuador is a beautiful and welcoming country for visitors. While not all of us can blend in as ecuatorianas, dressing like them can help us to be taken seriously, avoid being targeted for manipulation or unwanted attention and enjoy all of the wonderful things the country has to offer.  

Cheri, Worcester, United States

Follow JourneyWoman for curated articles, tips, news and content from our community and our partners.

Previous

Next

1 Comment

  1. Kerry

    Very helpful, my dear.

    Thank you.

    Reply

We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. Thank you!

We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at editor@journeywoman.com.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You cannot copy content from this page.

Are You Ready to Take the First Step?

Join 55,000 other women who love travel on our mailing list for travel tips, advice and solo travel wisdom.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Send this to a friend