Straddling the Equator between Colombia (to the north) and Peru (to the south) in northwestern South America, the Republic of Ecuador is home to one of the most stunning portions of the Northern Andes Mountains. The country also lies along the northwestern fringes of the Amazon Basin and receives both warm and cool ocean currents along its equatorial Pacific Coast.
The world-renowned Galapagos Islands are located 1,200 kms (over 600 miles) offshore, in the middle of the great Pacific Ocean. Learn more about the Galapagos Islands tours in our Galapagos section.
Ecuador covers a territory of 109,483 square-miles (283,559 square-meters), only about 2-3% of South America’s total landmass.
Ecuador has enjoyed a democratic government since 1979. The current president is Mr. Lenin Moreno.
As per the 2010 census, Ecuador is home to around 16 million people. Guayaquil, its largest city, has over three million inhabitants, while Quito, the capital, has a population of 2.5 million.
Ecuador is the second-smallest Spanish-speaking nation in South America after Uruguay, yet it is, at the same time, home to thirteen official native languages, with fourteen recognized indigenous nationalities.
As of 2001, Ecuador uses the US Dollar as its official currency.
It Varies, depending on altitude. The lower you go (meaning the closer you are to sea level), the more tropical it is. Days are hot, and rain—when it rains—is heavy in the Amazon. The Andes offers spring-like conditions all year round and when the sun is out you
Light, summery clothing is recommended. In cities like Guayaquil, air-conditioners are commonplace at every locale at all times, like a hot summer’s day in almost any big city, all year round.
In the Amazon Basin, temperatures are also high, but local architecture using bamboo and featuring steep thatched palm-leaf roofs promotes ventilation which keeps interiors pleasant. Breezes coming in from rivers and lagoons also help to cool things off.
In the Andes, temperatures drop as one moves upslope, though Quito, despite its 2800 meters above sea level, is not a cold city. During most of the year, sunny days are followed by cloudier afternoons, with showers that typically last only about an hour, a meteorological effect that may offer spectacular purple-and-orange sunsets. It only gets chilly at night or when it rains. The “invierno,” which means winter in Spanish, is a rainy season. It may rain throughout the day, with occasional hailstorms.
There is no clear-cut winter or summer, however, so Ecuador is a great year-round destination. Refer to our Weather Section for temperatures and more information on seasons.