Dating in Ecuador


So you want to date the locals? Good for you to courageously venture outside the bounds of gringolandia. Ideally, that would be a beautiful thing. You prove that love has no borders or nationality. Here’s my tips from a slightly jaded gringa….

Go Online…Or NOT

The most popular dating website here is But be warned its pretty bad in terms of no one actually writes anything in their profile, and people wrote the lamest messages ever (hola podemos ser amigos?)

Adjust Your Standards Up or Down

The women in Cuenca dress up, wear makeup and heels on a daily basis. The men….not so much. Not sure if its because of this, but a lot of people have told me ( and I agree) that on average the women here are more attractive than the men. Don’t hate me! I’m just a messenger!

LGBT in Ecuador

Coming from San Francisco, Cuenca is really conservative. I’ve never seen a gay couple being affectionate in public. There is one gay discotec (Presidente Borrero and Presidente Cordova) but when I peeked my head in (it is next to a jazz cafe), it was all men, so no idea where Cuenca’s lesbians go.

Watch out for tiburones

Tiburones is the Ecuador term for gringo-hunter. I.e. Men and women who specifically target gringos/gringos because they think they are rich, or they want a visa.

Say Cheese!

My advice, for men….PILE ON THE CHEESE (ahem! I mean romance). For lady expats….uhhhh, smile and try not to laugh. Or if you can, leave your jaded “that’s really lame” attitude at home (I should take my own advice right?) By US standards, Ecuador dating etiquette is like a bad romance novel. There’s no such thing as too cheesy. Examples….

  1. An Ecuadorean woman with a genuinely beautiful voice performs the Celine Dion Titanic theme song in a jazz cafe (My Heart Will Go On). I have to contain myself not to bust up laughing because it conjures too many corny images of Leonardo Dicaprio, and because the song is so out of date, but everyone else is enthralled by what a beautiful, romantic song it is.
  2. On Valentine’s day, the tackiest assortment I’ve ever seen of teddy bears with red satin hearts, cards, chocolates, you name it is for sale, and it’s all really “romantic.”
  3. In the markets, they sell bags of rose petals. The youngsters buy the bags, and then scatter them on park benches to add that extra special something when taking their beloved for a date snuggling on a park bench (OK, I actually think that’s kinda sweet, maybe I don’t have a heart of stone afterall)
  4. John Doe once told me that my presence makes this place more beautiful
  5. I have received more than one messages like this (cut’n’paste, rambling, “romantic”) via (Ecuador’s most popular dating website):

“<translated from Spanish> Hi, I would like to be your friend, you are beautiful friend. My offering is a sweet kiss and a small flower waiting to arrive deep in your heart, like a secret that I tell to the moon and hidden by the sun. You can see me as an angel that wants to give you wings to fly, like a man who wants to rob your heart or maybe just a a simple friend who wants to give you friendship. From today on, I will be your light and your darkness, I will be your laughter or your tears perhaps, your thoughts and your actions I do not know. I will simply be what you desire.My feelings are pure, my heart is clean, I only want to tell you that I am alive. One word I tell you I thought I dedicate to you. With affection, from an angel who only wants to be your friend and get to know you better. @->-> I hope you like this rose, a pity I can’t give you a real one. “

Prepare for Family time

I wouldn’t introduce anyone to my parents unless they were wearing the name tag “boyfriend” for at least a month. Not here. Be warned your date could involve sitting around house watching tv with 3 uncles, 2 cousins, brothers, brothers wives, their 2 kids… You get the picture? Also, you’re way more likely to find that people here on the dating market have more kids on average for any given age than in the US. People get married and start popping them out sooner.

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