Ecuador stands out as the ideal location for destination weddings and honeymoons, offering a diverse array of beautiful options. Whether you seek a romantic setting, an adventurous backdrop, or both, Ecuador provides unparalleled choices for a destination wedding. Moreover, the country offers once-in-a-lifetime nature-based experiences, allowing you to seamlessly transition into your honeymoon after saying “I do.”
Most traditional Ecuadorian weddings are renowned for their vibrant decorations, showcasing dazzling flowers, lively music, and exquisite traditional cuisine and desserts. While various traditions are observed depending on the region where the wedding takes place, there is a common thread: Ecuadorians are adept at hosting memorable celebrations and no matter where you choose to celebrate your wedding, Ecuadorian landscapes never fail to impress.
Despite its modest size, Ecuador offers couples a rich and diverse array of settings, including sunny beaches, tropical rainforests, snow-capped volcanoes, and the unique Galapagos Islands. Situated in the middle of the world, Ecuador emerges as the perfect location for destination weddings and honeymoons. Whether you’re envisioning a grand celebration or an intimate gathering, this blog provides all the information you need to start planning your dream wedding in this amazing country.
Why choose Ecuador for your destination wedding and honeymoon?
While Ecuadorians are generally known for their warmth, friendliness, hospitality, and eagerness to make everyone feel at home, Ecuador itself has much more to offer. Despite being among the more compact nations in South America, it proudly holds a place among the world’s 17 megadiverse countries. Renowned for its extraordinary biodiversity, the country encompasses key hotspots, including the vast Amazon Rainforest, the majestic Andean highlands, coastal mangroves, the unique Galapagos Archipelago, and the enchanting cloud forest.
Ecuador’s remarkable diversity is attributed to its strategic position straddling the equator, the imposing presence of the Andes mountain range cutting vertically across its terrain, and the Pacific Ocean currents caressing its coasts and islands. Despite its relatively modest size of 248,360 km² (95,892 sq. miles), the country offers seamless travel across varied landscapes. Whether opting for air travel or other means, you can effortlessly traverse from the Andes to the Galapagos Islands within a few hours or switch from the enchanting rainforest to the Pacific coast in a short span, highlighting Ecuador’s accessibility and ecological richness.
When planning a destination wedding, several key factors must be considered, including distances between locations, logistics, and prices. Above all, breathtaking landscapes that fulfill all you have dreamed for your special day. Ecuador provides awe-inspiring settings, from haciendas guarded by ancient volcanoes and luxury hotels in history-filled old towns to extensive beaches, exotic jungles, and islands. Ecuador can offer both adventure-filled celebrations and intimate, tranquil settings, making it a versatile and picturesque choice for your wedding.
This diverse range of locations lets you decide between the lively atmosphere of a big city with colonial churches or the serene setting of a nature-focused ceremony on the warm, expansive Pacific beaches or in the pristine Amazon jungle. After the ceremony, embark on your dream honeymoon by exploring the country’s dramatic landscapes, vibrant traditions, and unique cultures.
For inspiration on where to start your adventure, check out the testimonials of some of our guests who celebrated their honeymoon in Ecuador!
Ecuador General Information
Ecuador is comprised of four regions: Andean Highlands (Sierra), Pacific Coast (Costa), Amazon Rainforest (Oriente), and the Galapagos Islands, each offering excellent venues for a unique destination wedding. When visiting the country, consider the following:
- Languages: Spanish is the official language. Quechua and Shuar are significant indigenous languages, with Quechua prevalent in the Andean provinces and Shuar spoken by indigenous communities in the Amazon.
- Population: Ecuador has fewer than 19 million inhabitants, with a median age of 27.9 years.
- Hospitality: Ecuadorians are known for their warmth and hospitality, often greeting visitors multiple times a day with expressions like “buenos días” and “buenas tardes” (good morning and good afternoon).
- Land Area: The total land area is 248,360 km² (95,892 sq. miles).
- Religions: The top two religions in Ecuador are Roman Catholic and evangelical Christian, encompassing evangelical Baptists and Methodists.
- Currency: Since the year 2000, Ecuador has adopted the US dollar as its currency. Travelers are advised to carry cash in small bills, as larger bills may not always be easily exchanged in many places.
Ecuador’s location in the world is strategic
Its geographical location makes Ecuador a strategic place for destination weddings. Located in the western corner of the South American continent, the country has direct flights and connections to major North American and European destinations. The Equator divides the country into two Hemispheres. Therefore, the imaginary line that splits the Earth in two gives Ecuador a cardinal position as one of the best destinations in the world.
Ecuador’s International Airports
Ecuador’s strategic geographical location makes it an ideal choice for destination weddings. Situated in the western corner of the South American continent, the country offers direct flights and convenient connections to and from key North American and European destinations.
Ecuador is home to two international airports: Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and José Joaquín de Olmedo Airport in Guayaquil. Both airports have earned places among the top 50 globally, with Quito airport securing the title of Best Airport in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2020 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. Additionally, Ecuador boasts over 30 local airports, facilitating convenient travel within the country.
Major airlines, including American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, LATAM Airlines, United, Avianca, and others, operate daily flights to both domestic and international destinations. When considering a destination wedding, it’s crucial to consider the country’s connectivity to the world. Ecuador’s advantageous location stands out with strategic connectivity via two leading airports in South America, direct flights from major North American and European destinations, and the presence of two international airports ranked among the top 50 globally.
Best Time for a Destination Wedding in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Ecuador, with its varied weather patterns and climate regions, invites couples to celebrate their dream wedding based on the unique weather characteristics of each area. Whether you envision a mountainous backdrop, coastal romance, Amazonian allure, or the pristine Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers something for every couple seeking an extraordinary destination wedding.
Andes Highlands – Spring-Like Perfection
The Andes Mountains provide a consistently mild climate throughout the year in their valleys and altitudes ranging between 3000 and 1500 meters (9800 and 4912 feet) above sea level. Picture your wedding in a setting reminiscent of spring, with temperatures hovering around 70˚F (21˚C). Don’t forget a sweater, as evenings can cool down to an average of 46˚F (8˚C). Whether you opt for the dry season from June to September, ensuring clearer skies, or embrace the lushness of the rainy season from October to May, the Ecuadorian Andes will always present bright, blue skies for your destination wedding celebration.
Coast – A Blend of Hot and Humid
For a coastal celebration, consider the dry season from May to December when temperatures are cooler, and rainfall is scarce. Expect temperatures around 88˚F (31˚C) from January to April, with occasional hot and rainy spells. Embrace the coastal charm and warmth of the Ecuadorian Pacific, creating a delightful atmosphere for your beachfront wedding. If fresh coconut water, lush landscapes, and delicious seafood are your things, this is the destination for you.
Amazon – Hot and Lush
Immerse yourselves in the vibrant Amazon rainforest, where temperatures soar in a hot and wet embrace. From June to August, heavy rainfalls create a lush paradise. Experience drier conditions from September to December, with daytime temperatures averaging 88˚F (31˚C) and a cooler 68˚F (20˚C) at night. Celebrate your wedding surrounded by pristine nature and local cultures that celebrate life’s possibilities.
Galapagos Islands – Timeless Beauty Year-Round
The Galapagos Islands, an enchanting year-round destination, reveal an evergreen landscape of unparalleled beauty. Customize your wedding experience to match your preferences, as there is no definitive “best” or “worst” time to visit. Nestled along the Equator, the Galapagos undergo two distinct seasons: the hot season from December through May, which may encounter occasional tropical showers—something to consider when choosing an outdoor venue. The cool season from June through November features a mix of sunny and cloudy days, occasional drizzles, and lower humidity.
Whether exchanging vows amidst the crisp air of the highlands, feeling the refreshing coastal breeze, immersing yourself in the rich biodiversity of the Amazon, or savoring the timeless allure of the Galapagos, Ecuador offers a rich tapestry of choices for your destination wedding, each accompanied by its unique weather advantages. Let the diversity of Ecuador become the muse for your celebration, crafting memories as distinctive as the landscapes that embrace them.
Destination Wedding Decoration and Catering
In the embrace of Ecuador’s exceptional landscapes, destination weddings and honeymoons evolve into enchanting experiences. Whether you’re a city dweller, a beach enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, Ecuador provides a canvas of diverse environments to set the stage for your celebration. Amidst this natural wonderland, Ecuadorian flora and its mouth-watering gastronomy take center stage, captivating your guests’ senses and contributing to the details that will make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Choose Ecuadorian Roses and Orchids for your bouquet and decorations
Ecuador boasts the world’s finest roses, a testament to its ideal environmental conditions for cultivation. With 12 hours of daylight and mild temperatures, Ecuadorian roses thrive in over 500 varieties, ranging from classic whites to passionate reds, delicate pinks, sunny yellows, calming lavenders, royal purples, and vibrant oranges. As the world’s third-largest flower exporter, Ecuadorian roses stand out for their vivid colors and fragrant scents.
These roses, with heads measuring up to 2 inches larger than their counterparts, emanate elegance and romance. Grown in the foothills of the Andes mountains, Ecuadorian roses showcase larger buds and blooms, creating a visual spectacle that complements the beauty of your union. Choosing Ecuador as your wedding destination not only ensures a stunning display but also makes this exquisite choice surprisingly affordable.
Ecuador boasts over 4,000 species of orchids that grace cloud forests and the Amazon basin with their mesmerizing beauty. Orchids bloom annually, providing a seamless opportunity to incorporate them into your wedding decorations for an added touch of elegance.
Traveler´s Tip: For botany or orchid aficionados, there’s a unique chance to witness these floral wonders in their natural habitat. Consider planning a visit to the Botanical Garden in Quito before or after your wedding celebration. Here, you can marvel at the diverse hues and shapes of Ecuadorian orchids, enriching your experience with the country’s rich botanical offerings.
Ecuadorian Cuisine: A Must for Your Destination Wedding
A journey to Ecuador is incomplete without a delightful exploration of its traditional flavors and ingredients, and a destination wedding provides the perfect opportunity to savor its finest dishes and recipes. From the Andean Highlands to the Pacific Coast, the Amazon Rainforest, and the enchanting Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian traditional cuisine mirrors the diverse and captivating landscape, offering an exquisite fusion of flavors that is sure to delight even the most discerning palates. Whether relishing savory meats, indulging in fresh seafood, enjoying hearty green plantains, or savoring an abundance of fruits and vegetables, every bite tells a story of the land from which it hails. Delve into our Ecuadorian Food Guide, where the best-kept secrets of the country’s gastronomic treasures await your discovery.
Desserts: A Sweet Symphony
Ecuadorian gastronomy extends its culinary artistry to desserts, where fruits, meringues, sauces, and the globally acclaimed chocolate take center stage. Weddings become an opportunity to showcase the best of Ecuadorian sweets, adding a delightful and indulgent touch to the celebration.
Savor the Flavors of Ecuador During Your Honeymoon
After your destination wedding, consider savoring Ecuadorian cuisine during your honeymoon. The vibrant markets, street food stalls, and high-end restaurants offer an array of options to tantalize your taste buds. Indulge in the culinary delights of Ecuador, where every meal becomes a celebration of the country’s rich heritage and culinary mastery.
In Ecuador, let your palate be your guide, navigating through a culinary landscape that mirrors the country’s natural beauty and cultural diversity. Whether you’re saying “I do” in the heart of Ecuador or savoring its flavors during a romantic getaway, let the cuisine be an integral part of your journey, creating memories as delectable as the dishes themselves.
Ecuador’s Best Destination Wedding Locations
When orchestrating a destination wedding, the choice of location is paramount, and Ecuador emerges as a captivating option that caters to diverse budgets. Notably, affordability is a cornerstone, with Ecuador offering competitive prices for accommodation and food, making it an exceptionally cost-effective choice compared to many other destinations. Ecuador stands out by providing a spectrum of options, ensuring that couples, regardless of their budget, can tailor their dream wedding without compromising their financial plans. Whether envisioning an opulent celebration in a luxury hotel, a romantic ceremony in the heart of the Andean highlands, or a beachfront exchange of vows in Manabi Province, Ecuador provides a diverse range of lodgings and venues. With its captivating mix of natural wonders and urban settings, couples can choose from the enchanting Galapagos Islands, historic cities like Quito and Cuenca, or the lush landscapes of Imbabura Province. Ecuador, with its accommodating prices and diverse locations, invites couples to design their perfect wedding experience within their preferred budgetary constraints.
The variety of lodgings makes Ecuador one of the best places to have a destination wedding. Above all, you can find national and international lodging chains, as well as 5-star hotels, ecolodges, or cozy budget accommodations.
Ecuador is an affordable destination wedding option
In Ecuador, the currency is the US dollar, making it a cheap tourist destination. Without a doubt, it’s an affordable country. As a result, local products and services are competitive in the national and international markets. Also, keep in mind that in Ecuador the VAT is 12%. Tourists can access the VAT refund.
Suggested Locations for your Wedding Destination
- Quito: The capital of Ecuador, nestled in the Andean Highlands, offers a charming blend of colonial architecture and modern vibrancy. With its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, couples can exchange vows in historic churches or scenic plazas, surrounded by the majestic Andean backdrop.
- Cuenca: This UNESCO-listed city is renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture. The city’s historic charm, cobbled streets, and beautiful cathedrals create an enchanting setting for weddings. The Tomebamba River, Incan ruins, and nearby Cajas National Park offer additional natural wonders for celebration.
- Imbabura Province: Situated in the northern Andes this is a region of diverse landscapes. From the scenic Otavalo market to the tranquil shores of San Pablo Lake, couples can choose from a variety of backdrops for their special day. Immerse in the rich indigenous culture that defines this province.
- Chimborazo Province: Home to Ecuador’s highest peak, Mount Chimborazo, offers a unique high-altitude setting for adventurous couples. Surrounded by stunning paramo landscapes, couples can exchange vows in the shadow of the majestic peak, creating a wedding experience unlike any other.
- Guayaquil: The largest city in Ecuador, situated on the Pacific Coast, provides a mix of urban sophistication and coastal charm. Couples can opt for waterfront venues or choose from the city’s elegant hotels. The nearby Malecon 2000 and historic neighborhoods offer diverse settings for memorable celebrations.
- Manabi Province: Known for its beautiful beaches, including those in Manta and Bahia de Caraquez, this province is an ideal destination for coastal weddings. Couples can enjoy a beachfront ceremony followed by a celebration infused with the region’s vibrant culture, music, and cuisine.
- Galapagos Islands: This fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site offers an unparalleled natural setting for unique wedding experiences. Couples can choose from a variety of breathtaking settings, from volcanic landscapes to pristine beaches, with the iconic wildlife as witnesses.
- Napo Province: Located in the Amazon Rainforest, Napo Province presents an opportunity for couples to celebrate amidst lush biodiversity. From intimate ceremonies in the heart of the jungle to experiences with local indigenous cultures, Napo provides an unforgettable backdrop for nature-inspired weddings.
Ecuador stands out as an exceptional destination for weddings, offering a diverse array of lodging options that cater to various preferences and budgets. From internationally renowned hotel chains and luxurious 5-star accommodations to charming ecolodges and cozy budget-friendly stays, Ecuador ensures that couples can find the perfect setting for their dream wedding. The country’s affordability is accentuated by its use of the US dollar as the official currency, making it a cost-effective tourist destination. This unique feature allows visitors to benefit from competitive prices for local products and services, creating a favorable environment for budget-conscious couples. Additionally, Ecuador’s VAT of 12% offers the opportunity for tourists to access a refund, adding another layer of financial advantage for those planning a destination wedding in this diverse and budget-friendly country.
Ecuador Honeymoon: Get From the Altar to Your Dream Honeymoon!
As much as Ecuador is the ideal destination for your wedding, it’s also perfect for your honeymoon. Get inspired by the following suggestions!
Embark on a serene and tranquil honeymoon by exploring the rejuvenating Papallacta Hot Springs, nestled in the picturesque village along the E20 highway. On clear days, relish the breathtaking sight of the Cotopaxi Volcano, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the majestic Antisana Volcano. The mineral-rich thermal baths at Papallacta are renowned for their relaxing and therapeutic properties, offering a perfect retreat for physical recovery and self-directed relaxation.
For the adventurous spirits, Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve beckon. These biodiverse havens, situated in the heart of the Amazon, are home to millions of plant and animal species, promising an exhilarating exploration of some of the Earth’s most diverse ecosystems.
Alternatively, craft a romantic honeymoon in the enchanting Galapagos Islands, a world-class destination that combines adventure and romance. This archipelago boasts a unique ecosystem, housing a myriad of species found nowhere else on the planet. Indulge in the magic of the Galapagos as you celebrate your newfound union in the midst of unparalleled natural beauty.
A Destination Wedding in Ecuador in the World News
A destination wedding in Ecuador has garnered international acclaim, solidifying its status as a top romantic destination. Notably, cities like Guayaquil have been named among the top destinations for 2022. The allure of Ecuador has attracted celebrities for their special day, with supermodel Jasmine Tookes choosing the historic San Francisco Church in Quito for her wedding. Speaking to Vogue magazine, Tookes expressed her admiration for Quito’s stunning churches, particularly the chosen venue adorned in gold, evoking a sense of attending a royal wedding
In addition to individual recognitions, Ecuador as a whole earned a place in Forbes’s prestigious list of the “22 Best Places to Travel Around The World in 2022: Where to Go Next.” The country’s travel excellence was further underscored in 2021 when it clinched 10 awards in the 28th edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA), specifically in South America’s categories. These international accolades affirm Ecuador’s standing as a captivating and celebrated destination for weddings and travel enthusiasts alike.
Explore Ecuador Wedding Traditions
If you’re seeking a religious ceremony, you have numerous options. Ecuador boasts a vibrant spiritual culture and rich folklore rooted in the country’s catholic and indigenous idiosyncrasies. While weddings in the country have evolved over generations, they still carry deep-rooted traditional symbolism. Religious ceremonies hold significant importance for many Ecuadorian families, leading to meticulous preparations. Families carefully select the location, food, music, and outfits well in advance, paying special attention to every detail.
Choose between a civil and a religious wedding
Ecuadorians often have two weddings: a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony. The civil wedding, conducted before a judge, holds legal recognition by the government, while the religious ceremony is more rooted in family tradition than legal requirements. It’s important to note that religious ceremonies in Ecuador aren’t legally binding. Therefore, for your destination wedding, you must first perform a civil wedding at the Civil Registry office or have a judge come to your chosen venue. Receptions follow the ceremonies and can be held at home or a selected venue.
Church weddings in Ecuador traditionally take place at noon or night. Ecuadorians favor vibrant decorations, elaborate meals, abundant drinks, and live music. A unique feature of Ecuadorian weddings is the “hora loca” or ‘crazy hour,’ an energetic hour filled with costumed performers, sparkles, confetti, feathers, lights, games, and circus-like entertainment. Hora loca adds a touch of excitement to the celebration, captivating guests with music, dance, and drinks.
While rehearsal dinners are not customary, Ecuadorian families in the biggest towns and cities often organize pre-wedding events, such as bachelor parties, “pedida de mano” (marriage proposals), or dinner gatherings. Additionally, Ecuador embraces diversity in wedding ceremonies, with some couples choosing ceremonies based on indigenous beliefs, like Andean or Amazonian weddings, adding a cultural richness to the nuptial experience.
Ecuador stands as the ultimate destination for weddings and honeymoons, offering a perfect blend of adventure, romance, and nature. Picture vibrant decorations, tropical live music, and delectable food as you transition seamlessly from the altar to your dream honeymoon. Nestled along the Equator, Ecuador emerges as the epicenter of romance. Whether you choose the captivating landscapes of the mainland or the enchanting allure of the Galapagos Islands, your journey begins here.
We trust that this blog has provided valuable insights for planning your destination wedding in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. If you seek additional information about the ideal times to travel to Galapagos or Ecuador, feel free to reach out to us. Our team of Destination Experts is dedicated to making your dream celebration a reality.
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