Ecuador is country located in the northwestern parts of the South American continent straddling the equator with a Pacific Ocean coastline. The country is sandwiched between Colombia to the northeast part and Peru to the south and eastern parts. The country’s capital is known as Quito, and the flag consists of three primary color; yellow on top, violet in the middle and red at the bottom. A multicolored bowl like symbols is strategically placed at the center of the flag.
Ecuador uses US dollar as its prime currency for carrying out trading activities. However, other currencies such as Ecuadorian Centro and us coins are also used by the Ecuador government.
Ten percent of Ecuador land is covered by water, and the remaining 90 percent is covered by land. The total area covered by Ecuador is 283,561 kilometers squared of which 6,720 kilometers squared is covered by water and the remaining 274841 kilometers squared covered by land. The population of this country is estimated to be over 15 million by 2015 a number that has increased from the recorded 14 million in the year 2008 showing a positive population growth rate. Many Ecuador citizens go to Catholic Church making it the dominant church in the whole country commanding 95.67 percent of the whole population.
Amazing Natural Heritages
Ecuador boasts a rich heritage of natural and scenic mountains with the highest active volcano, Cotopaxi, found in this country. Several cities and sites such as Galapagos islands and the city of Cuenca in this country are currently listed by UNESCO as World Heritage sites showing how highly regarded Ecuador is when it comes to natural heritage.
The history of Ecuador dates back to the ancient medieval times in 1830 when the North American civil war was starting. It is one of the countries that emerged from Gran Colombia after it was defeated during the war consequently leading to its collapse in 1831. Other countries that were formed after the collapses were Colombia and Venezuela. However, after formation of Ecuador, things did not go smoothly for the Ecuador authorities. It participated in several wars with its neighbors and between 1904 and 1942; the country surrendered its territories to its enemies in a series of wars with the neighboring nations.
Ecuador is a country that experiences many climatic zones; there is tropical rain forest that extends in the Amazon jungle to the southern parts of the country. There are also cooler and dryer lands that extend to the coastlines of the country. Since it lies on the equator, it means there are no severe climatic conditions such as winter and summer. However, there are both wetter and drier seasons in Ecuador. For instance, the dire seasons starts in July and stays up to November while the wetter seasons start in December and extends up to June. With the diverse climatic conditions in this country, you can typically choose the type of climate you want to experience by simply travelling to the part of the country experiencing such climatic condition.
Politics in Ecuador
The crime level in Ecuador used to be very high in the 90s, but by several government policies and regulations, the crime level has reduced to a great extent. In fact, the country as quickly becomes the safest place in the whole of South and Central America. Statistics shows that it violent crime rate is half that in the United States. The safest places Ecuador have been identified as Cuenca and Loja cities.
The environment of Ecuador is a friendly place where you can stay the whole year without any discomfort. The favorable environment is widely attributed to favorable climatic conditions in this country. Given that is situated on the equator, extreme climatic conditions such as winter are not experienced in Ecuador. The diverse plants and animals also beautify the environment of the country. Ecuador has over 20,000 species of plants and over 2000 species of animals including reptiles, amphibians and mammals. All these combined with scenic mountainous terrains gives this country an edge in an environment where you can come, relax and enjoy without any disturbance.
The country also boasts of several cities such as
- Quito which is the capital of the country. It boasts a rich heritage, and it is considered a historic centre in Latin America.
- Ambato, which is centrally located in Ecuador. It is well known for hosting special celebration during the Carnival season.
- Riobamba, which is the famous starting point of the train ride down the Nariz Del Diablo. It is also an entrance to the Chimborazo, a scenic highest peak in the country.
- Banos located at the foot of Volcano Tungurahua, which have small eruptions of lava and ash. A lot of hot springs is also in the town.
- Cuenca. It is the most peaceful and the third largest town in Ecuador.
- Guayaquil, which is the largest city, and also is a home to Ecuador’s largest port.
- Loja. It is the oldest city in Ecuador. It was formerly a colonial city before being abandoned by colonialists. It also has the least population.
Food in Ecuador
Ecuador has a variety of both traditional and local food that can leave you yearning for more.
The Ecuador food is carefully prepared by Ecuador families is worth trying out. The food may be different depending on the place it originates. Food available on the coastline are normally seafood while, in the inland regions, you will find more of meat. Don’t ever miss these special traditional dishes in Ecuador;
Sierra is considered the favorite dishes of people in the Ecuadorian highlands. The Sierras dishes revolve around potatoes, corns and avocadoes. They are specially prepared by skilled cookers, and a single taste will leave you yearning for more of these dishes. The most common dishes served in highland areas of Ecuador include the mouth-watering combination of fried patties and mashed potatoes.
Appetizers and food found on the streets.
- Pinchos: It mainly composed of meat, potato and vegetable kebabs that you can eat at any place. They are usually common with commuters on the busy streets
- Cevichochos: It is a raw seafood mainly shellfish soaked with lime juice mainly found at the coastlines of Ecuador. You won’t miss Cevichochos carts while walking down by the beaches in Ecuador.
- Churro: They are also common on the beach. They are tiny sea nails that are served with diced onions and Lime.
- Melcocha: It is a delicious candy for those on the go.
- Pan de Yuca: It is derived from yucca roots and also cheese bread. It can be served while still hot with chewy bread. It is usually turned into a tortilla in the rainforest.
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are mainly served with mashed potatoes and bread.
- Locro De Papas. It is a make consisting of creamed potatoes that are garnished with cheese and avocados.
- Guatitas. It is a soup that is derived from the stomach parts of a cow. It can be served with potatoes and peanut sauce.
- Seco de Chivo. Originates from other parts of a goat except the stomach. It is also served with potatoes or peanut sauce
- Sopa de Bolas de Verde. The soup is mainly stuffed with meat and vegetables and is served with corn and yucca. The soup is made of planting dumplings.
Main Dishes in Ecuador
Look out for these delicious dishes while in Ecuador;
- Fritada. Fritada is pork that is cooked with spices. The spices are normally mixed with water and then the pork dipped into the spiced water. It can be served with corn and boiled potatoes.
- Homado. It is a roasted pig meat served with llapingachos or corn.
- Lomo Saltado. These are strips of beef with onions and garlic added as core spices. You can eat it with boiled potatoes.
- Menestras. It is a Lentil stew.
Drinks and beverages from Ecuador
- Aguardiente. It is sugar cane juice. Other converts into a spirit
- Canelazo. It’s a beverage usually made from blackberry juice and warmed before drinking. Sugarcane alcohol is normally added to this juice.
- Morocho. The drink is made from dried and cracked corn kernels. Milk and sugar are added to make it better.
The Ecuador rainforest
Ecuador is home to one of the most famous rainforest in the world. Of course everybody has heard of the famous Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon forest hosts what is termed as a remarkable biodiversity any forest can have. It consists of over 800 species of fish which also including the dreaded piranhas. It is also a home to 400 species of reptiles which include the Amazon crocodiles, the anacondas and the iguanas. The forest also boasts of more than 300 species of mammals with the most conspicuous of the category being the Jaguars and the naughty Amazon monkeys. The Amazon forest also has over twenty thousand species of plants with thousands of insects believed to be over 70,000.
The Amazon is a bird paradise, and if you love watching or studying birds, this is the place to visit. The Amazon rainforest has over 3600 species of birds in it which is twice the number of birds found in North America. The forest has numerous birds with a fascinating feature that will leave with a legendary experience. Some of the common birds in Amazon include Toucans, macaws and tanagers.
Home to Different Indigenous Groups
The rainforest region is also a home to different indigenous groups that are considered uncontacted tribes in Ecuador. The main tribes found within the rainforest consist of two major groups, the taromenane and tagaeri tribes. These tribes largely depend on Amazon for everything ranging from their food to their clothing. The tribes live in complete isolation within the forest and only depend on animal meat and plants for survival. Contact with the modern for these tribes is like waiting for a star to fall; they prefer and enjoy their way of living in the forest than any other tribe living in the modern world. The government of Ecuador even went ahead, and drafted constitution that give these tribes the right to be left alone and any violation of their right can earn you a couple f years in Ecuador’s prisons. The visitor is often advised by the tour guides to approach them carefully and never bother them with questions because they are also a hostile bunch.
Lately, Amazon rainforest has been entangled in numerous controversies due to the presence of oil in where it is located. The issue has led to numerous battles between environmental organizations and the authorities on mining the oil found below the forest. For instance, the government of Ecuador recently approved mining of oil which lies in under Yasuni National Park, and there have been varying views about the decision. What we know is that should the mining continue the forest will be greatly compromised and sooner than later we won’t be having the great Amazon Rainforest anymore. The future of Amazon rainforest, especially on the Ecuador side, solely lies within the powers of the governments and the determination of the environmental non-governmental organizations found in that country.
If you want to have a perfect encounter with animals in this rainforest, you have to go deeply into the forest and this often require the help of a tour guide since deep in the forest is very dangerous. However, there are several sites in the Amazon forest especially the Ecuador part that offers tour services deep into the forest putting into consideration the safety for everyone.
Tourism in Ecuador
Like previously said, Ecuador is a country that boast a very rich heritage of cultural and historical attractions in the whole world. These entire heritages are set within a backdrop of natural elegance with landscapes ranging from forests and numerous volcanoes. The most amazing thing in this country is that you will find almost any form of natural heritage with almost any kind of environment.
The Ecuador government acknowledges tourism as one of the important sources of revenue. Each year, thousands of tourists flock various beaches, wildlife reserves and the famous Galapagos Islands to view the natural blessings Ecuador have. As a result, the government has boosted the infrastructure in the whole country to help in easy movement of tourists in the whole country.
One can access the major tourist destinations in Ecuador by road, sea transport and air transport.
Top tourist attraction in Ecuador
It is one of the places in Ecuador that provides a scenic view of the capital Quito. Cotopaxi is a place that contains active volcanoes recorded as one of the highest in the worlds with over forty eruptions since the year 1739. The snow-capped peak that is the second highest peak in Ecuador forms a fascinating scene at the backdrop the volcanoes. Cotopaxi volcanoes also boast as few with equatorial glaciers in the whole world.
In case you are a tourist who loves watching animals, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is the place to check out. Cuyabeno reserve contains a wide variety of wildlife animals that enables you to combine the breathtaking tropical adventure with a scenic wildlife viewing. The wildlife consists of more than 4000 species of birds and over 50 species of monkeys and also anacondas. You can also enjoy a cool treat of watershed while on tour within the forest. It is the second largest reserve in Ecuador.
Galapagos Islands consist of small volcanic islands that are isolated in the northeastern parts of the Pacific Ocean. These islands are known globally for forming a basis for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection due to the existence of unique ecosystem in these islands. In these islands, you will get certain animals you have never seen before such as giant tortoises, the sea lions and marine iguanas. However, you must be very vigilant when visiting such islands since the habitat of such animals should not be affected in any way. Also, the safety standards should be observed during a visit to Galapagos Islands.
Otavalo market can be a fun market to those tourists who love collecting things whenever they travel. It can also be a fun place for those who love handicrafts that are crafted by the local artists in Ecuador. There is no any other place in the whole of Ecuador that will treat to a spectacular piece of artwork like the Otavalo market. You can stop by for a broad array of jewelry wood and stone carvings which are offered for sale especially on Saturdays.
Montanita is a small town situated in the coastal region of Ecuador. It boasts some of the most spectacular beaches and shorelines with a state of the art beach resorts. Coming to Montanita will leave in a state of a dilemma on whether to stay there permanently or go back since the life there is unimaginable. Montanita also boasts of world’s finest surfing conditions as well as active nightlife with several nightclubs and bars for entertainment.
Other popular tourism activities carried out in Ecuador include Kayaking, Swimming, surfing, skiing, white water rafting and many others.