We try to match you with the most suitable family. We take your preferences into consideration, especially concerning:

  • Animals: If you have allergies or are afraid of them
  • Children: if you don't like being around little kids


Your host family will act as your real family for the length of your stay.

  • You will participate in family reunions
  • You will be expected to communicate and be honest with them
  • They are going to worry if you don't call or tell them where you are going
  • You will be expected to eat, or at least try, ecuadorian food


You will have to accomodate some ecuadorian realities

  • The pressure in toilets is not strong, thus you will have to remember to throw paper into a receptacle
  • Shower pressure is also less than what you are used to
  • Food standards are different and you might not find the food you crave
  • Security could be an issue and you will have to take some precautions


The accomodations will vary depending on where you are placed (ie. in a rural or urban community).


We currently have two urban host communities, located in the Andes. Quito the capital (1.6 million) and Cuenca (300,000).


We have rural host communities throughout Ecuador.
They can be in towns, villages or farms.

Urban House Accomodations   Rural House Accomodations

Quite comfortable

You should not lack much of the amenities that you are used to.
A lot of you will have a television in your own room. Use of microwaves is fast on the rise, especially to heat up dinner.

99% will have their own bedroom.

Some of your host families will have maids, who keep the house spotless and occasionally cook.

Most homes will have more than 1 bathroom. Bathrooms look exactly as they do in Europe or North America, with a toilet, sink and shower.


Much harder

We will do our best to provide you with a private bedroom, but the reality in rural areas means that you should be ready to share.

In some settings, there is a lack of running water, hot showers, and indoor bathrooms.
As with rural settings, there is less water pressure and the amount of hot water available is minimal.

Mosquitos (and malaria) could be an issue in some communities. Be prepared to use a lot of repellent, and bring malaria pills if you live in the jungle or in Esmeraldas province.

City Facilities   Rural Facilities

Large cities have adequate hospital facilities and some French speaking doctors. Some private hospitals are quite good and you will likely find emergency room wait times faster than North American hospitals (but hopefully you won't have to find out!).

Health and sanitary conditions are better in the cities. Visit Hospital Metropolitano's Website to get a better idea of the facilities available.

There are huge modern malls with western brands. But there are also many small tiendas that sell fruits & vegetables, car parts, furniture, snack foods, etc.


Facilities are more scarce and less reliable. This is true for hygiene and health care. Hygiene is more of a problem in rural areas, as is the case in msot of the world.

Hospitals are harder to come by, and of course, the availability of doctors and services will be more scarce compared to cities.

Facilities are less adequate. Hospitals are smaller or non-existant. Pharmacies can be just small corner stores and may not store what you need. Contact-lens solution is hard to find as is sun-block. When it is available, it will be very expensive.


...and what will I be eating?

Breakfasts generally consist of juice, toast, marmelade and eggs. Coffee is considered a luxury and instant Nescafe is the norm. Lunch is the most important meal of the day. You will almost always start off with a soup, followed by the plato fuerte (main course). The plato fuerte will consist of a meat side (likely pork, beef, fish, lamb), a potato or banana, rice, and a small portion of salad. This will be served with fresh juice. Sometimes there is a small dessert, usually along the lines of fruit or jello. In rural areas, meat is more rare and weekend lunches are more extravagant.

Food will of course vary according to the region. In the coast, your main plate will normally be seafood. There are many types of fish caught off the coast of Ecuador, the most popular including sea bass, tuna, bonito and snapper. Shrimp, calamari, and concha (a shellfish) are also very popular. The seafood will likely be accompanied by plantains or bananas. As you move towards the highlands, you will find the seafood replaced by meat. Highland food is also less spicy. Some cities and regions will also have specialities that are eaten very often. For example, mote in Cuenca.

Fast food restaurants are on the rise in most of the major cities; you can find MacDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, AppleBees, Dunkin Donuts etc. in Quito (although there are no MacDonald's in smaller places such as Cuenca). The prices of these restaraunts are considered high.

A note for vegetarians: It is possible to live a vegetarian lifestyle in Ecuador, but you have to be a bit more creative. In Quito, as well as some of the larger cities, there are a few vegetarian restaurants. Most local restaurants will not have vegetarian dishes per-say, but they are friendly and you can request the set lunch without the meat, instead with a larger portion of salad.