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Ecuador - A mini South America

Country facts

Ecuador is often called a “miniature South America” because it actually offers everything—mountains and volcanoes, including some of the most sought after climbs like Cotopaxi and Chimborazo; jungles and rainforests, including Ecuador´s political slice of the vast Amazon; offshore islands such as the Galapagos with all their endemic species; eighteenth-century colonial towns, Incan ruins, a proud indigenous presence in all facets of life; a bounty of natural resources, some of which are highly controversial like oil; beautiful beaches and many options for water sports like surfing, snorkeling, whale watching, etc.

The country is known as having four ‘sections' – ¨La Costa,¨ or the coast (including the beaches as well as a vast inland coastal region); ¨La Sierra,¨ or the Andes Mountains (this range appears as a spine running from north to south through the middle of the country); ¨El Oriente,¨ or the east (most of which is Ecaudor´s Amazon); and, of course, the Galapagos. These regions offer much more than meets the eye, and the real beauty of Ecuador is found all over the country, once you know where to look!


Visa procedure
Tourist. Most of the nationalities get a 90 days tourist visa is issued upon arrival to Ecuador. The only required documents for this visa are a passport valid for more than 6 months and a return plane ticket (rarely asked but it can happen). Keep this ´tourist card´ visa with your passport as you will be asked to return it at departure.

More. For those who plan to stay longer-term, there are a variety of visas (including for long-term tourists as well as volunteers), each with its own application procedure. Visit the Ecuadorian Consulate nearest you for the most up-to-date information on the procedures and requirements. Remember to obtain these visas prior to entering the country, as the government does not issue them to tourists already in-country.
Independence
Declaration. Aug 10, 1809
From Spain. May 24, 1822
From Gran Colombia. May 13, 1830
Recognized by Spain. Feb 16, 1830
Politics
Goverment. Unitary Presidential Republic
Capital. Quito
Geography
Area. 283 561 km2, 109 483 sq mi
Ranking. 74th largest country
Inland Water. 2.4%
Time zone. ECT (UTC-5), GALT (UTC-6)
Marked regions. Coast, Andean region, Amazon Basin, Galapagos Islands
Demography
Population. 15,007,343 habitants
Density. 55.5/km2, 144.3/sq mi
Life expectancy. 72.8 years (men), 78.8 years (women)
Ethnic groups. Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian) 72%, Amerindian 7%, Spanish/European 7%, Montubian 7%, Afroecuadorian 7%, and notable small populations of non-European Caucasians and East Asians
HDI. 0.695; 77th
Economy
GDP. 58.9 US$ in billion
Minimum salary. US $240
Currency. US Dollar
Main exports. Petroleum, bananas, flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, hemp, wood, fish
Languages
Official. Spanish
Co-official. Amerindian languages
Environment
Carbon Efficiency Rank. 40th worst
CO2 Emissions/capita. 1.97 metric tons/year
Endangered Species Protection. 70.8%
Current Issues. deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water pollution, oil production wastes.
Spirituality
Official position. Ecuador’s constitution provides freedom of religion
Major religion. Catholic (75%), Protestant (25%)
Communication
Calling code. +593
Internet TLD. .ec
Newspapers. El Commercial, Hoy, El Universo, El Expresso
Television. State-run: TC Televisión, Gama TV, Canal Uno and Ecuador TV. Privately-run: Ecuavisa, Teleamazonas, RTS, ETV Telerama, RTU, Radio y Televisión Unidas, Red TV Ecuador and UCSG Televisión
Radio. 324 AM, 49 FM stations
Customs
Drive. On the right
A gift to an Ecuadorian family. Flowers, good quality spirits, pastries, imported sweets or a small toy for the host's child.
Easy subject to break the ice. Family, culture, history, Galapagos Islands.
An easy mistake. Blowing one's nose in public, while eating or in a room. It is considered vulgar and one should try to avoid it.

Ecuadorian regions

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