Fútbol (soccer) is the favourite sport in Ecuador. Volleyball and track are also popular. Ecuadorian volleyball is played differently from the way it is played in North America. The ball is heavier and there are three players on each team. Although most team sports are played by men and boys, there are tennis, basketball, volleyball and track and field teams for women.

Many Ecuadorians enjoy a game called pelota nacional. Two teams hit a small ball back and forth, and a third team stands between, trying to stop the ball. Pelota is less popular with young people but is still played by older people. In Quito many people play this game in the central park called Parque Carolina. It is crowded with children who come to watch people play pelota.

In Ecuador, young children play marbles, skipping rope and hopscotch. They also play a game called Rayuelz, which is a guessing game played in a small group. La Ronda is another popular game in which children create a sing-along. Taking turns, each child continues the song, which is completed when the last child has taken his or her turn. For adults, popular games include cards and darts, which may be played during family gatherings.
Did you know?

In December, there is a festival in Quito at which bullfighting takes place.

Camping is popular in Ecuador. Small camping areas are set aside in most of the national parks and reserves. In the mountains, landowners will often let people camp, if they ask permission. Mountain climbing is also a popular activity for all age groups, especially in the Andes Region. Shelters called refugios have been built in the mountains to allow climbers to rest before continuing their climb.

A popular activity in Ecuador is fishing for large catfish called bagre. They are found at the bottom of large rivers and can weigh 100 kilograms. A rope is used to catch this fish and the hook is big enough to catch a shark.

Did you know?

Jefferson Pérez was the first Ecuadorian to win a gold medal at the Olympics. He won for race-walking at the Atlanta Games in 1996.