Official name: Republic of Ecuador
Population: 14 million
Currency: US dollar
Official language: Spanish, Kichwa, Shuar
Date of independence, or formation date: 1830
Date when current borders were established: 1941
National day: Aug 10
Vehicle country identifying code: EC
Time zone (hours plus or minus from GMT): -5
International telephone dialling code: +593
Internet country identifying code: .ec
Ecuador, 256,370 square kilometers in size, is geographically divided into four regions (the Amazon, the Highlands, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands). Falling on both sides of the equator, Ecuador has territories in both the northern and southern hemispheres and is one the planet�s top 17 most biologically diverse nations. With ecosystems existing from sea level to an altitude of approximately 6400m, Ecuador is home to rain forests, jungles, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. One of its main attractions is the Galapagos Archipelago and its marine reserve, which contain species unique to the area.
Sitting on the equator between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean nations, covering an area no bigger than Nevada. For all its diminutive size, however, the country is packed with startling contrasts of scenery, from steaming tropical rainforests and windswept highlands to ice-capped volcanoes and palm-fringed beaches, all within easy reach of the capital, Quito. In this land of bold contours and bright colours, you can find yourself beneath a canopy of dripping vegetation amongst clouds of neon-coloured butterflies one day, and in a highland market mixing with scarlet-ponchoed indigenas the next.
It's also a country of astounding biodiversity, boasting some 1600 species of bird (more per square kilometre than any other South American country), 4500 butterflies and more than 3500 orchids (a greater number than any country on Earth). Add to this a considerable historic and cultural legacy, stunning colonial architecture and a diverse array of indigenous groups, and it's easy to see why Ecuador is often regarded as a microcosm of South America. Perhaps the country's greatest attractions, though, are the Galapagos Islands, whose extraordinary wildlife played a pivotal role in shaping Charles Darwin's theories on evolution.
Official Quito Website
Official Ecuador Website
Google Maps Satellite View of Ecuador
Google Maps Satellite View of Quito
Google Maps Satellite View of Galapagos
Google Maps Satellite View of Cuenca
Google Maps Satellite View of Guayaquil
Wikipedia Entry on Quito
Wikipedia Entry on Galapagos
Wikipedia Entry on Cuenca
Wikipedia Entry on Riobamba
Wikipedia Entry on Otavalo
Wikipedia Entry on Guayaquil
Lonely Planet Quito
Lonely Planet Cuenca
Lonely Planet Galapagos
Lonely Planet Otavalo
Lonely Planet Puerto Lopez
Lonely Planet Guayaquil
Lonely Planet Riobamba
Lonely Planet Misahualli
South American Explorers Quito / Ecuador
British Foreign Office Ecuador Advice
US State Department advice on Ecuador
Cities of Ecuador
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters above sea level), it is the highest capital city in the world.It is located in north-central of Ecuador. The Historic Center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.
Guayaquil, is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.35 million people in the metropolitan area, as well as the nation's main port. Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.
Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2500 m above sea level. The center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings.
Santo Domingo de los Colorados, simply referred to as Santo Domingo, is a city and seat of the canton that bears its name. it is in important commercial and industrial center and the capital of the province Santo Domingo de los Ts�chilas. The name, "de los Colorados" refers to a local ethnic group, the Ts�chila, and the custom of men in that tribe to dye their hair with extract of the achiote plant; hence "Santo Dominigo de los Colorados" or "Santo Domingo of the Dyed." This group, which is indigenous to the area, is recognised with a substantial statue near the town center.
Machala is a city in south-west Ecuador. It is the capital of the El Oro Province and located near the Gulf of Guayaquil on fertile lowlands. Machala has a population of 230,901 (2010 census),it is also the fourth biggest city of the country; and the second most important port, it has been referred to as the Banana Capital of the World.
Manta is a mid-sized city in Manab� Province, Ecuador. It is the second most populous city in the province, the fifth most populous in the country. Manta has existed since Pre-Columbian times. It was a trading post for the Mantas. Its main economic activity is tuna fishing. Other economic activities include tourism and a chemical industry with products from cleaning supplies to oils and margarine.
Loja is the capital of Ecuador's Loja Province. It is located in the Cuxibamba valley in the south of the country, sharing borders with the provinces of Zamora-Chinchipe and El Oro, and with Peru in the south. Loja holds a rich tradition in the arts, and for this reason is known as the Music and Cultural Capital of Ecuador.
Ambato is a city located in the central Andean valley of Ecuador. The city also sits beneath several tall mountains. It is variously nicknamed "City of Flowers and Fruit", "Cradle of the Three Juans", and "Garden of Ecuador." Inhabitants of Ambato are called Ambate�os, , the city celebrates the Festival of Fruits and Flowers during Carnival in February. Today, the Festival of Fruits and Flowers is one of the most important in Ecuador.