Why Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands are the Best Destination Wedding Option
Ecuador is the perfect destination for weddings and honeymoons. The country offers a variety of beautiful destination wedding options. You can find romantic venues as well as adventurous choices. Also, there are once-in-a-lifetime nature-based experiences. Most certainly, when you get married in Ecuador you have the chance to start your honeymoon right away!
Weddings in Ecuador are known for their vibrant decorations. As a result, events can feature dazzling flowers, joyous live music, exquisite traditional food, and desserts. Even though Ecuador is a small country, it has diverse endemic flora and fauna. It offers:
- Sunny beaches.
- Tropical rainforest.
- Snow-capped volcanoes.
- Unique Galapagos Islands.
Located in the middle of the world, Ecuador is the perfect destination and the epicenter of romance. If you’re looking for the best destination wedding in the world, in this blog you will find all the information you need to start planning your dream wedding in an amazing location.
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Why should you choose Ecuador for your destination wedding and honeymoon?
Ecuador is one of the smaller countries in South America. It’s very easy to cross the country. For example, you can visit:
- Snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
- Sandy beaches of the Pacific Coast.
- Dramatically beautiful Amazon basin.
Additionally, Ecuadorians are friendly people. They will make you feel right at home. When planning your destination wedding, you can have your ceremony in the city. Then, start your honeymoon by exploring a country full of dramatic landscapes, traditions, and cultures. If you want some ideas about where to start your adventure, read the testimonies of those who had their dream honeymoon in Ecuador!
13 Day Honeymoon Travel in Ecuador
Key information about Ecuador
The Latin American country has four regions: Andean Highlands (Sierra), Pacific Coast (Costa), Amazon Rainforest (Oriente), and the Galapagos Islands. All of them feature great places for a romantic destination wedding. Hence, when visiting the country you should consider:
- Spanish is the official language. Quechua and Shuar are also major indigenous languages. Quechua can be heard throughout the Andean provinces. On the other hand, Shuar is spoken by indigenous people in the Amazon.
- The country has less than 19 million inhabitants. Moreover, the median age is 27.9 years.
- In general, Ecuadorians are very hospitable people. They warmly welcome visitors. For instance, it’s common to be greeted several times a day, even by people who you don’t know. You will hear buenos días and buenas tardes (good morning and good afternoon) at every moment.
- The total land area is 248,360 Km2 (95,892 sq. miles).
- The top 2 religions in Ecuador are Roman Catholic and evangelical Christian (including evangelical Baptists and Methodists).
Since the year 2000, the currency of Ecuador has been the US dollar. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to carry cash in small bills because many places don’t have change for bills bigger than $20.
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.
There are two international airports: Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and José Joaquín de Olmedo Airport in Guayaquil. Both are ranked among the top 50 best airports in the world. Quito airport was recognized as the Best Airport in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 2020 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. Likewise, Ecuador has over 30 local airports.
American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, LATAM Airlines, United, Avianca, among other airlines, are operating on a daily basis to domestic and international destinations.
When planning a destination wedding, you should consider the country’s connectivity to the world as a major aspect of your decision. Consequently, Ecuador’s location is ideal because it has:
- Strategic connectivity with two leading airports in South America.
- Direct flights from major North American and European destinations.
- Two international airports ranked among the top 50 best airports in the world.
Plan your destination wedding in a country with perfect weather conditions
The climate is determined by altitude. In the mountain valleys, the weather is mild year-round. On the contrary, the Coast is humid. The Amazon has a humid subtropical climate.
In general terms, the country has two seasons: dry and wet. However, it has a pleasant temperature, making it ideal for year-round tourism. Thus, the best time to visit Ecuador depends on what you want to do and what regions you want to visit.
The highlands have a spring-like weather
The highlands can be cold enough that you might need a sweater. It has spring-like weather, with temperatures that hover around 70˚F (21˚C). At night the temperature can get to an average of 46˚F (8˚C). The dry season goes from June to September. The rainy season runs from October to May.
The Coast is hot and humid
On the Coast, the dry season can be more extreme. From May to December, the temperature is the coolest and driest. However, from January to April, the weather can be hot and rainy, and temperatures average around 88˚F (31˚C).
The Amazon is hot and wet for most of the year
Hot and wet temperatures characterize the Amazon weather. From June to August, there are the heaviest rainfalls, with massive downpours. September to December are the driest months, with a high average of 88˚F (31˚C). At night, the temperatures can drop down to 68˚F (20˚C).
Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination
When planning your destination wedding in the Galapagos Islands, you should define what you want to see and what to do in the archipelago. There is no “best” or “worst” time for traveling to the Galapagos Islands.
Located along the Equator, Galapagos has two seasons: hot and dry. Therefore, the climate is subtropical. The warm season is from December through May. The cool season goes from June through November.
Your wedding will have astonishing decorations with Ecuadorian flowers
Ecuadorian flowers are internationally recognized because of their top quality. From the bouquet to the arrangements, flowers are used to express emotions. For your wedding, choose flowers that show joy, bliss, and happiness.
Flora plays a key role in destination weddings in Ecuador
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are the perfect natural setting to celebrate love. Its biodiversity, exceptional landscapes, and unique destinations make it the ideal place for a city person, beach lover, or adventure seeker. Moreover, wedding destinations and honeymoons are delightful experiences. Ecuadorian biodiverse flora will bewitch your guests!
Make sure to display Ecuadorian flowers because they are of world-class quality. Without a doubt, they will pop against the bright blue sky or be the highlight of your evening event!
Roses are Ecuador’s finest flowers
The best roses in the world come from Ecuador. The environment is perfect for roses to thrive. Certainly, the 12 hours of daylight and mild temperatures are ideal for rose cultivation. The country has over 500 different rose varieties in many different colors: from shades of white to red, pink, yellow, lavender, purple, and orange. As a result, Ecuador is the world’s third-largest flower exporter in the world. Roses are so popular because of their vibrant colors and fragrant scents.
Also, Ecuadorian roses have the fullest rose heads, measuring up to 2 inches larger than roses in other countries. In addition, stems can grow to over 5 feet tall. Premium roses come from farms located in the foothills of the Andes mountains. So, roses from Ecuador have larger buds and blooms.
Roses are very popular for elegant and romantic weddings. And the best of all is that it will be much more affordable to have them at your wedding if you get married in Ecuador!
Marvel on beautiful Ecuadorian orchids
There are more than 4,000 species of orchids in Ecuador. These plants grow in cloud forests and the Amazon basin. Orchids can flower annually. However, the best moment to see orchids is from February to June.
If you’re an orchid aficionado, it will be a beautiful addition to your wedding decorations! And if you love flowers you can explore the Botanical Garden in Quito prior to your wedding day.
Traditional food will delight your guests at your destination wedding!
The country has a diverse local cuisine. Ecuadorian gastronomy is as varied as its four regions, displaying dishes with meat, seafood, green plantain, fruits, and vegetables, among many more.
Also, Ecuadorian weddings are all about local desserts. It’s traditional to have a table dedicated exclusively to sweets called mesa de dulces. There you can also find the wedding cake. Consider including Ecuadorian favorite traditional sweets in your event:
- Suspiros (baked meringues).
- Espumilla (a foamy cream-ish dessert).
- Torta de tres leches (Milk cake).
- Dulce de higos (Sweetness of figs).
- Orejas (Butterfly cookies).
- Arroz con leche (Rice pudding).
If you want to learn more about the best dishes in Ecuador, check out Rebecca Adventure Travel’s Ecuadorian Food Guide.
Traditional foods from the Ecuadorian highlands
The Andes cuisine typically has soups, main dishes, and desserts. You will find pork, beef, and chicken, combined with potatoes, rice, corn, and grains. Some of the traditional dishes are:
- Cuy asado (roasted guinea pig).
- Locro de papas (potato stew).
- Llapingachos (fried potato pancakes).
- Churrasco (Ecuadorian grilled meat).
- Guaguas de pan (bread babies).
- Patacones (Fried plantain).
- Quimbolitos (Sweet steamed cakes).
Seafood comes from the Coast and the Galapagos Islands
On the Ecuadorian coast seafood is a must. You will also find dishes prepared with coconut, green plantains, peanuts, and a diversity of fruits and vegetables. Some of the traditional dishes are:
- Ceviche de camarón (Shrimp cocktail).
- Bolones de verde (Green plantain dumplings).
- Encebollado (Fish stew).
- Encocado de pescado (Fish with coconut sauce).
- Fried yuca. (Cassava Fries).
Eating in the Amazon jungle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience
The Amazon is best known for its lush vegetation and wildlife diversity. However, you can also find one-of-a-kind traditional dishes, such as:
- Maito (Fish filet).
- Chontaduro (Chonta worm).
- Manioc tamal (Yucca bread).
- Ceviche de Palmito (Heart of palm ceviche).
- Guayusa tea.
Ecuador offers a variety of beautiful destination wedding options
When you plan a destination wedding, you want to stay as close as possible to your established budget. Most importantly, Ecuador’s prices for accommodation and food are very reasonable compared to other destinations. Even though the cost of a wedding in Ecuador varies, it’s possible to have your dream destination wedding for half the price you would pay in the United States or in Europe.
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.
Get from the altar to your dream honeymoon!
Certainly, Ecuador is a leading destination for honeymoon hotspots. The small country is a hidden gem that will amaze you. Without a doubt, its privileged location lets you choose from a relaxing, adventurous, or romantic honeymoon.
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You can have a relaxed and calm honeymoon
If your dream honeymoon is to relax and enjoy the view, you must visit Papallacta Hot Springs. Papallacta is a small rural village that lies along the E20 highway. On sunny days, you will be able to see the Cotopaxi Volcano. If you are lucky, you will see the Antisana Volcano in all its splendor.
The streaming mineral baths in Papallacta are a popular destination for their relaxing and healing benefits. Waters are full of dissolved minerals that come from within the earth. Moreover, mineral water has therapeutic properties. Additionally, they are used for physical recovery as well as self-directed relaxation.
Choose an adventurous honeymoon
If you’re an adventurous soul you should travel to the most biodiverse places on Earth: the Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.
Yasuni and Cuyabeno are home to millions of species of plants and animals. They are the heart of the Amazon and are protected areas.
Or plan a romantic honeymoon
If you’re looking for adventure and romance, the Galapagos Islands are a magical place to visit as a newlywed. Undoubtedly, its are a world-class destination. The diverse ecosystem treasures animals found nowhere else in the world.
A destination wedding in Ecuador is an amazing experience
Internationally, the country has been recognized several times as a top romantic destination, and many of its cities such as Guayaquil, named as top destinations for 2022. Even so, in the past years, celebrities have organized their destination weddings in Ecuador. For instance, supermodel Jasmine Tookes said “I do!” at San Francisco Church, in Quito’s Historic Center.
“In my opinion, Quito has some of the most beautiful churches in the world,” Tookes told Vogue magazine. “And the one that we chose is covered in gold—it almost makes it feel as if you are attending a royal wedding.”
Furthermore, the country was included as part of Forbes’s 22 Best Places to Travel Around The World in 2022: Where to Go Next. Also, in 2021, Ecuador won 10 awards in the 28th edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA), in South America’s categories.
Churches will make your destination wedding in Ecuador a dreamy experience!
Churches in Ecuador are magnificent and breathtaking. Quito, Ecuador’s capital, has one of the largest concentrations of ancient churches in Latin America. For instance, only in the Historic Center can you find over 24 churches, convents, and monasteries.
Churches are a true testimony of Ecuadorian culture, history, and heritage. Even so, Quito has such a concentration of churches and religious complexes because the city has been the country’s political, religious, and administrative epicenter since colonial times.
Learn about Ecuador’s history through a church wedding
Grand and beautiful churches can be found in every city or town in Ecuador. In addition, you can learn about Ecuadorian history while visiting churches.
The country’s oldest churches were built by Spanish colonists in the 16th century. In 1530, when the Spaniards arrived in Ecuador led by Francisco Pizzaro, they established its capital in a valley near Chimborazo Volcano. There, they built the first church in Ecuador: the Balbanera Church. Its name honors the Virgin Mary of La Balbanera from Rioja, Spain.
Balbanera Church has a baroque style, constructed with volcanic rubble and adobe. Moreover, the facade reflects the indigenous daily life. For example, they portrayed pottery jars used for chicha drinking (a fermented beverage made from a variety of maize landraces), and angels holding shigras (textile bags still used today).
The characterization of indigenous’ daily lives and traditional beliefs were displayed as small details in the churches’ internal and external ornamentation. You can find representations of native flora, and symbols of ancestral traditions before the Spanish conquest, among others. At the same time, these details can be found in all churches throughout Ecuador.
What are the wedding traditions in Ecuador?
If you’re looking for a religious ceremony, you have many options. Ecuador has a vibrant spiritual culture and folklore. Weddings in Ecuador have changed through the generations. However, traditional symbolism is rooted in all weddings.
Religious ceremonies are an important part of many Ecuadorian families. Thus, preparations are carefully carried out. Moreover, families choose the location, food, music, and outfits in advance, with special attention to detail.
Choose between a civil and a religious wedding
Typically, Ecuadorians have two weddings: religious and civil. Only civil weddings, performed in front of a judge, are recognized by the Government. Hence, saying yes at the altar answers more to a family tradition than to the law. Nevertheless, receptions can be at home or at a venue chosen by the bride and groom.
Traditionally, Church weddings are done at noon or at night. Ecuadorians prefer colorful decorations, big meals with copious drinking, and live music. Also, Ecuadorian weddings have hora loca or ‘crazy hour.’ The power hour comes with costumed performers, sparkles, confetti, feathers, lights, games, and circus-like fun. As a result, hora loca is a great way to delight guests with music, dance, and drinks!
Ecuadorians usually don’t have rehearsal dinners. However, families like to organize events prior to weddings. As a result, it’s common to attend bachelor parties, pedida de mano, or marriage proposal dinners, among others.
Options for your destination wedding in Ecuador
When planning your destination wedding, you should know that religious ceremonies in Ecuador aren’t legally binding. This means that first, you need to perform a civil wedding at the Civil Registry office. Also, you can choose to have a judge come to your selected venue.
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Churches are a romantic option for your destination wedding
If you choose to say “I do!” in a traditional ceremony, Ecuador has beautiful churches. They are romantic, traditional, and cultural places to celebrate love. In Quito, for instance, there are more than 20 baroque-style churches. You also can find numerous plazas and decorative fountains. The city is the perfect place to have a church wedding. Therefore, when you plan your destination wedding in Ecuador, you should consider these churches:
Compañia de Jesús Church
When you enter Compañia de Jesús church you feel as if you’ve just entered a dream. It’s a baroque masterpiece. It’s a mix of altarpieces, galleries, and a pulpit covered in gold leaf. Moreover, the temple has more than 50 kilos of gold.
La Compañia was completed in 1614. It’s one of the most tourist attractions in Quito. Also, it’s considered a national treasure. For instance, two Popes visited the church: Pope John Paul II in 1985, and Pope Francis in 2015.
The Basilica of the National Vote, or Basilica del Voto Nacional, it’s a monumental church. Moreover, it’s one of the largest temples in South America. In Neo-Gothic style, the church is 140 meters long, with a width of 35 meters, and a height of 30 meters. It has two entrances and six doors.
Further, the Basilica was built in the 19th century. However, it’s considered unfinished. For instance, the church shows a perfect representation of Ecuadorian culture. The facade has gargoyles but also alligators, turtles, blue-footed boobies, and monkeys, among others.
Getting married in this magnificent church will definitely be a wonderful experience, for you and your guests!
El Rosario is a small and fascinating chapel. It can be found in Santo Domingo Church, in Quito’s Historic Center. The construction of this baroque chapel took 148 years. Additionally, it was built on three different levels. On the altar, you can admire relics of saints, among them the statue of the Virgen “del Rosario”.
Nuestra Señora de Guápulo
Guapulo Church is an old monastery constructed during the colonial period. In addition, it’s the first Ecuadorian Marian Sanctuary.
This church is situated along a narrow cobblestone road known as the Orellana’s road or Camino de Orellana. Francisco de Orellana, the Spanish explorer, arrived in Quito in 1540. He was part of the first exploration of the Orellana River, in the Amazon. He was searching for the “Land of Cinnamon”, a legendary and mythical location in South America.
Nowadays, Guapulo is a bohemian neighborhood characterized as the residence of artists, writers, and musicians. Additionally, it has an amazing view of the Cumbaya, Tumbaco, and Yaruqui valleys.
If you choose to have your destination wedding in Guapulo church, your guests will enter a time capsule. You can learn about Ecuador’s history by touring the church and seeing the paintings and statues.
Elopements are a “small destination wedding,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Thus, the “running away to get married” feeling is as romantic as it gets. As a result, it can be a party-of-two celebration or a small gathering. Without a doubt, Ecuador is the perfect country for a romantic getaway that can end in an elopement!
Ecuador is the perfect wedding and honeymoon destination. It has it all: adventure, romance, and nature. Even so, you can go straight from the altar to the honeymoon! When you get married in Ecuador, you can choose vibrant decorations, tropical live music, and delicious food. Therefore, Ecuador, along the Equator, is the epicenter for romance!
Find your destination wedding right now!
Hopefully, this blog has helped you plan your destination wedding in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Moreover, if you need more information regarding when to travel to Galapagos or Ecuador, you can contact us. One of our Destination Experts will be happy to help you.
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