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!
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.
From Spain. May 24, 1822
From Gran Colombia. May 13, 1830
Recognized by Spain. Feb 16, 1830
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
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
Minimum salary. US $240
Currency. US Dollar
Main exports. Petroleum, bananas, flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, hemp, wood, fish
Co-official. Amerindian languages
CO2 Emissions/capita. 1.97 metric tons/year
Endangered Species Protection. 70.8%
Current Issues. deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water pollution, oil production wastes.
Major religion. Catholic (75%), Protestant (25%)
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
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.