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November 19, 2009

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Ecuador and its wonders

IMPORTANT Data Official Name: The Republic of Ecuador

Type of Government: Democratic

President: Economist Rafael Correa Delgado

Location: Northwestern edge of South America, bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The country also includes the Galapagos Island in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers off the coast.

Extension: 256,370 square kilometers

Capital: Quito

Main Cities: Guayaquil (Main Port), Manta, Cuenca

Official Language: Spanish (30% of people speak Quechua)

Population: 13,927,650 people: 65% Mestizos, 25% Indigenous, 10% Caucasian, 7% African and 3% Black.

Climate: Tropical climate along its coastal areas, and then becomes much cooler inland, especially in the higher elevations of the Andes. The jungle-covered plains of the eastern lowlands are hot and very damp throughout the year, with copious amounts of rain. Galapagos Islands Galapagos is one of the most important national parks in the world. It has 13 main islands and dozens of islets and minor volcanic islands.

This archipelago, 97 percent of which is protected by the government, is located almost 1,000 kilometers from the Ecuadorian coast and is characterized by its white-sand beaches, cactus forests, giant turtles and colored birds -- the blue-footed, red footed and masked boobies, flamingos and penguins.

The islands are also home to finches, frigate birds, albatrosses and pelicans among other species.

Charles Darwin visited these islands and his observations here helped him form his theory of natural selection. Only in Galapagos you will find an iguana that has adapted to the ocean and eats seaweed.


Ecuador's region of the Andes consists of over 30 volcanic cones, many more than 5,000 meters above sea level and almost a third are still active.

Throughout the Andes mountain range you will find impressive plateaus, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, cloud forests, valleys, indigenous markets and picturesque villages, as well as historical and modern colonial cities. The high peaks of the Andes are home to spectacled bears, mountain tapirs, deer and mountain lions. Travelers should occasionally look to the skies to catch a glimpse of the great Andean condor. Numerous national parks and protected wilderness areas feature a wide range of micro-climates and enormous biodiversity.

Pacific Coast

Beautiful beaches are found from north to south on the Ecuadorian Pacific coast. Alongside ports, fishing villages and modern cities, dense protected forests grow with gigantic and moist terracotta roots.

The tallest mangroves in the world at 64 meters are found in the Majagual forest in the Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve. In Machalilla National Park, the sea, virgin beaches and forests combine with the history of pre-Incan culture.

Guayaquil is the main trading port of the country and is considered the economic capital of Ecuador and offers many facilities for tourists and investment. Amazon Region The highlands drop off into the Amazon Basin, where Ecuador cradles the mighty river.

The Amazon is covered in dense rainforest, offering the adventurous traveler to Ecuador the opportunity to experience an incredibly wild place. Explorers of the Amazon jungle may be lucky enough to see rare mammals that inhabit this region including ocelots, sloths and anteaters.

The most common mammal here is the monkey, of which there are several species. Reptiles are much more common sights, as there are several species of lizards and snakes, even the occasional tortoise. And yes, the famous anaconda does live here as well, though it is incredibly rare to come across.


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