Here are just a few basic Ecuador facts, including information on the people and their culture. Plus geography and climate.
Ecuador is a small country in northwestern South America. It is located just south of Columbia and northwest of Peru. The name Ecuador is Spanish for equator, which is appropriate since the imaginary line runs right through the country.
Many varieties of plant and animal life also are found in Ecuador. The concentration of wildlife actually exceeds that of all North America in some aspects.
Almost 16 million people call Ecuador home. Each of the different regions boast different lifestyles and customs. The people can be very superstitious.
The official language is Spanish. There are several indigenous languages spoken, including Shuar and several variations of Quichua. English is taught in schools, although teachers aren't usually fluent themselves, so most people have only a very basic knowledge of English.
Ecuador has been the world's largest exporter of bananas. Just check the label on your Chiquitas from time to time.
Even with that distinction, the bananas are surpassed as the #1 export by petroleum, which counts for around half the total export earnings for the country.
Other exports include:
The foods found in Ecuador also vary much depending on the region. I've found that many people seem to think 'South America' and assume the food is similar to Mexican food. Sorry, no. But there is a variety to choose from and I've found dishes that I enjoy from each distinct region.
A typical meal includes soup, followed by a plate of rice and meat. Lunch is the main meal of the day, where dinner is usually just leftovers from lunch or sometime bread with coffee.
The national pastime has to be SOCCER. Or football, depending on where you're from. Hardly a day passes without hearing it on the TV or seeing a whole neighborhood - young and old - get together to play a game.
Maybe it's not technically a sport, but Ecuador has a national card game: Cuarenta. People throughout the country play Cuarenta and it's a good way to get to know the locals better. Plus it's fun! Learn how to play here.
Ecuador is run by a democratic government. The people have had much control over the presidents in the past, voting them in and then kicking them out after a short time. I've personally experienced this at least three times since we moved here. One such president decided to deal with the failing economy by changing the national currency from the Ecuadorian sucre to the US dollar in the year 2000. Another thing about Ecuador that keeps life exciting!
The current president is Rafael Correa, and to date he has succeeded in avoiding much (though not all) of the uproar common with being president.
Most Ecuadorians are Roman Catholics. Protestant groups are growing in this religiously inclined country.
Holidays and festivals are a big part of life in Ecuador. There are several big holidays celebrated throughout the whole country.
Each province and each city have their own celebrations as well. For example, here in Tena there are festivals of Tena and also festivals for the Napo Province. So at any given time there's some sort of festival going on somewhere in the country.