Ecuador Facts

Here are just a few basic Ecuador facts, including information on the people and their culture. Plus geography and climate.

Location and Geography

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.

Map of Ecuador
  • The Galapagos Islands also form part of Ecuador, adding to the huge diversity of this small country.  They are found just west of the Ecuadorian coast, in the Pacific Ocean
  • The Andes mountain range cut through the country from north to south creating a natural division of the mainland into three main regions. La Sierra (the mountains) as the Ecuadorians call it, enjoys springtime-like weather all year round.  
  • To the west are lowlands leading to the Pacific coast. Hot, steamy days of a tropical area are typical.
  • East of the Andes the elevation drops quickly and you feel the change from dry, cool air to hot and humid. Called el Oriente (the east) by many, this region is snaked with tributaries to the Amazon that run through miles and miles of rainforest. Though the days can be quite hot, a quick downpour usually cools things off.

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.

Ecuador's People

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.

Learn more about...


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.  

Bananas are one of the largest exports from Ecuador.

Other exports include:

  • cut flowers including roses and orchids
  • cacao (chocolate) 
  • shrimp 
  • wood 
  • hemp
  • fish

Ecuadorian Food

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.

Learn more about the variety of food grown in Ecuador...

Are you a vegetarian or vegan traveling in Ecuador? Click here for some tips.

Ecuador Facts on Sports

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 Facts on Government

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.

Ecuador Facts on Religion

Most Ecuadorians are Roman Catholics. Protestant groups are growing in this religiously inclined country. 

Learn more about religion in Ecuador.

Festivals and Holidays

Holidays and festivals are a big part of life in Ecuador. There are several big holidays celebrated throughout the whole country. 

Learn about some of Ecuador's Holidays...

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.

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