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23 Ecuador Holidays (To Plan Your Trip Around)

Posted in: Ecuador Facts, Ecuador Travel, Living in Ecuador

What are the big Ecuador holidays? In this post, you’ll learn about the largest public holidays in Ecuador.

Ecuador holidays

As you plan your trip to Ecuador, you’ll probably want to plan around these holidays. Like in every country, public transport can fill to capacity (and then some) during these peak periods. Sometimes it can be impossible to get a seat on a bus or find an empty taxi. The same goes for hotel and tourist attractions. National holidays means crowds and near full capacity. 

Primary Origins of Ecuador Holidays

Most holidays in Ecuador originate from Catholicism (blended with indigenous traditions that predate the arrival of the Spanish) or the fight for independence from Spain.

17 National Ecuador Holidays to Plan Your Trip Around

Events marked with an asterisk (*) are national holidays. Most government, banks and businesses close on these marked days.

  1. New Year’s Day* on January 1 (Fixed date): Known locally as Año Nuevo
  2. National Community Spirit Day on February 27. Originally held to commemorate the Battle at Tarqui (south of Cuenca), but has become a national holiday celebrating civic events. Also known as Día Nacional del Espíritu de la Comunidad.
  3. Carnival* in February or March (Monday and Tuesday). Actual date for Carnival varies each year and is based on the liturgical calendar (church year or Christian year). Generally speaking, workers are required to work the following two Saturdays to replace the time lost during Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Known locally as Carnaval. 
  4. Easter and Holy Week (Semana Santa): This week (in either March or April) marks a week of numerous processions (closed roads). Actual dates for Holy Week varies based on liturgical calendar.
    • Good Friday*. Known locally as Viernes Santo.
    • Holy Saturday. This is the only official holiday that requires stores to be closed. Known locally as Sábado Santo.
    • Easter Sunday. Known locally as Pascua / Domingo de Pascua. 
  5. International Workers’ Day* on May 1. Celebration of the labor movement, unions and workers gather for demonstrations and processions. Known locally as Día del Trabajo, Primero de Mayo
  6. The Battle of Pichincha* on May 24. Commemorates the historic battle in 1822 on the side of Pichincha Volcano. Quito was liberated from the Spanish by the Patriot army, leading to the eventual formation of the Republic of Ecuador. Known locally as Batalla de Pichincha.
  7. The Birthday of Simón Bolívar on July 24. Simon Bolivar was the famous liberator of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama. The festivities continue in Guayaquil on July 25 (see local list below). Known locally as El Natalicio de Simón Bolivar.
  8. Declaration of Independence of Quito (1809) August 10. On this day in 1809, Juan Pío Montúfar was named president of the First Revolutionary Government of Quito in an effort to establish a government independent of Spain. Known locally as Primer Grito de Independencia.
  9. Independence of Guayaquil* (1820) on October 9. In 1820, after a brief and almost bloodless revolt by a group of reservists and civilians, the city of Guayaquil declared their independence from Spain. Known locally as Independencia de Guayaquil
  10. Columbus Day* on October 12. Despite being a popular holiday in Latin America, it isn’t without controversy. This day celebrates the landing of Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colón) on American soil, in what is now the Dominican Republic. Known locally as Día de la Raza (“day of the race” or “day of the [Hispanic] people”) via Wikipedia.
  11. All Souls’ Day* on November 2. Also known as “Day of the Dead”. Known locally as Día de los Difuntos, Día de Muertos
  12. Independence of Cuenca (1820) November 3. Cuenca celebrates for three days, with the third day being the last and biggest of the event. Known locally as Independencia de Cuenca
  13. Christmas Day on December 25. Known locally as Día de Navidad
  14. New Years Eve on December 31. This is one of the hardest days to travel in Ecuador, because of the thousands of “monigotes” (paper and straw dummies) that are burned in the streets as a way to symbolically end the old year. Known locally as el fin de año or nochevieja.

With the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day, most of these dates are considered floating holidays, that is, the actual date of the public holiday change from year to year (depending on which day of they week they fall).

On November 13, 2016, the National Assembly approved the new Holiday Act (Ley de Feriados). Source: El Comercio A number of dates were moved to create long weekends. Holidays that fell on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were moved to a Monday or Friday. For example, Primer Grito de Independencia (Declaration of Independence of Quito) on August 10 was moved to Friday, August 11 for 2017.

6 Regional Holidays in Ecuador

  1. Galapagos Province Day on February 12. This marks the date in 1832 when Ecuador annexed the Galapagos Islands. Known locally as Día de la Provincia de Galápagos
  2. Anniversary of the Discovery of the Amazon River on February 12. This anniversary of the European discovery of the Amazon, in 1541 by Francisco de Orellana, is celebrated in jungle cities with fairs and markets.
  3. Corpus Christi is celebrated 60 days after Easter. Corpus Christi was introduced by the Spanish in 1654 to replace the Inti Raymi, an Inca celebration of the harvest. Corpus Christi is Latin for “the body of Christ”.
  4. Founder’s Day (Guayaquil)* July 25 The city takes two days to party, continuing from El Natalicio de Simón Bolivar on July 24 (the city shuts down for two days (July 24-25). Known locally as Fundación de Guayaquil.
  5. Latacunga Independence Day on November 11
  6. Founder’s Day (Quito) on December 6. This is a week long event from the end of November through to December 6th. The week is marked by parades (Reina de Quito), bull fighting, opera and theater shows. Known locally as Fiestas de Quito.

In addition to the above holidays in Ecuador, there are other considerations when traveling.

Election Travel: During elections, many residents have to travel back to the town that they are registered in. This clogs both public transportation and the highways. Avoid driving between cities on the day before and after an election.

Ecuador Holidays and Street Names

Many street names in towns and cities across Ecuador are named after important dates in their history. Here are a few examples:

  • Veintsiete de Febrero: 27th of February (National Community Spirit Day)
  • Doce de Abril: 12th of April (Founding of Cuenca Day)
  • Primero de Mayo: 1st of May (Labor Day)
  • Veinticuatro de Mayo: 24th of May (Battle of Pichincha Day)
  • Diez de Agosto: 10th of August (Quito’s Independence Day)
  • Doce de Octubre: 12th of October (Columbus Day)
  • Tres de Noviembre: 3rd of November (Cuenca’s Independence Day)

Your Turn

After my research, these are the 23 Ecuador holidays that I discovered. Did I miss one? Do you have an addition or correction to suggest? Please let me know in the comment section.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

3 comments… add one
  • Belen Aug 5, 2017, 9:44 am

    Except for two or three holidays when everything is closed (commerce), all the other dates can pass without being noticed. If the there is a long weekend ( 4 days holiday) the first and the last day will be crowded at transport stations and main roads. Don’t be afraid to come during holidays!

  • Mat Christn Aug 5, 2017, 7:24 am

    Thanks for the updates; so very excited to visit there one day (hopefully soon).🙂

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