A magical country, with its own way of life, ready to be discovered, in the heart of South America. Ecuador is a country full of variety and amazing scenery, yet easy to get around as the distances from one region to another are relatively short. Ecuador has everything: virgin beaches, unexplored jungle, active volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, lakes, different kinds of forestry, mangrove swamps, friendly cultures rich in tradition, colonial towns and large modern cities. In the words of La Presse de Montreal, “Ecuador unfolds like a trilogy to the eyes of the world, with its Pacific shores, its famous Andean range and its vast Amazon jungle”. And, as if that were not enough, the country also has one of the natural wonders of the world, the Galapagos Islands, a veritable laboratory of evolution!
DID YOU KNOW?
- Ecuador has 55 volcanoes, 14 of them active (7 on the mainland and 7 in the Galapagos), including Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. 14 volcanoes are dormant and 42 are passive. (???)
- Ecuador contains the main tributaries that become the River Amazon and, as such, has the highest concentration of rivers per square mile in the world.
- Ecuador is part of the Tropical Andes hotspot, with intense biodiversity and an extremely high number of endemic species. It is among the top 17 countries in the world in terms of biodiversity.
- Ecuador holds 26 protected areas, which account for 18% of its surface area (46,190 km²), not including the Galapagos Marine Reserve (70,000 km²).
- (46,190 km²), not including the Galapagos Marine Reserve (70,000 km²).
- Ecuador is home to 25,000 species of vascular plants, more than all the species of this kind in North America (17,000). 10% of the world’s total vascular plant species can be found in Ecuador, although the country comprises just 2% of the earth’s surface area.
- To date, 4,187 species of orchid have been identified in Ecuador (although there are estimated to be over 5,000). This figure is about 60% of all orchid species identified in South America, and 40% of the species known on the whole American continent. Costa Rica, by comparison, has 2,000 varieties of the same plant.
- The Boston Globe newspaper, from Massachusetts, describes Ecuador like this: “There, ignored by satellites and neglected by map-makers, is El Dorado, not the one that the conquistadores dreamed of, but the ecological Dorado, with a huge collection of orchids”.
- 10.7% of all the vertebrates on our planet live in Ecuador.
- Ecuador has more species of bird per area than any other country in Latin America. It is home to 18% of the overall bird species to be found in the world and 15% of all endemic bird species worldwide.
- More than one million species of insect live in Ecuador, 4,500 of them nocturnal.
- Ecuador contains 146 species of hummingbird, 5% of the overall number of species worldwide.
- 3,800 species of vertebrates, 1,550 mammals, 350 reptiles, 375 amphibians, 800 freshwater fish, 450 saltwater fish, and the list keeps growing.
- The smallest species of primate (the titi monkey) lives in Ecuador and can be seen in the Amazon region.
- Ecuador has over 40 different ethnic groups.
- 13 indigenous nationalities (Shuar, Cofán, Huaorani, Epera, Awa, Tsáchila, Quichua de la Sierra, Quichua de la Amazonía (better to leave in Spanish I think), Achuar, Siona, Secoya, Achiwiar)
- 14 different languages
- 25% of the population is indigenous.
- 5% of the population is Afro-Ecuadorian.
- 65% of the population is mestizo.
- 5% of the population is white.
LANDSCAPES AND CULTURE:
- Ecuador has 46 different ecosystems (tropical dry forest, tropical rain forest, páramo and montane forest, among others)
- 4 world heritage sites (colonial centre of Quito, colonial centre of Cuenca, Sangay National Park, Galapagos National Park); two biosphere reserves (Yasuní National Park and Gran Sumaco Reserve)
- Over 150 traditional festivals
- Diversity of cuisine and local dishes