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Location:Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Currency:United States Dollar (USD)
Area:283,561 sq km
Population:17,093,159 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:Spanish (Castilian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2%; note - (Quechua and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relations; other indigenous languages are in official use by indigenous peoples in the areas they inhabit) (2010 est.)
Religion:Roman Catholic 74%, Evangelical 10.4%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.4% (includes Church of Jesus Christ, Buddhist, Jewish, Spiritualist, Muslim, Hindu, indigenous, African American, Pentecostal), atheist 7.9%, agnostic 0.1% (2012 est.)
Things to Do
1. Exploring the Galapagos Islands
Discover the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands on this unforgettable adventure. Snorkel with sea turtles, swim with playful sea lions, and observe the famous Galapagos giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
2. Hiking the Quilotoa Loop
Embark on a multi-day hiking journey through the stunning landscapes of the Quilotoa Loop. Marvel at the turquoise beauty of Quilotoa Lake, pass by indigenous villages, and witness the traditional way of life in the Andean highlands.
3. Visiting the Historic Center of Quito
Step back in time as you explore the historic center of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the beautiful colonial architecture, visit ancient churches and monasteries, and learn about the rich history of the city.
4. Jungle Trekking in the Amazon Rainforest
Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Amazon rainforest on a guided jungle trek. Encounter diverse wildlife, learn about indigenous cultures, and experience the unparalleled beauty of one of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems.
5. Surfing in Montañita
Ride the waves in Montañita, a popular surf destination in Ecuador. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, the beaches of Montañita offer perfect waves for everyone. After a day of surfing, relax and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of this coastal town.
6. Exploring the Cotopaxi National Park
Discover the breathtaking landscapes of Cotopaxi National Park, home to the magnificent Cotopaxi volcano. Hike through the paramo, spot unique wildlife, and marvel at the stunning views of the snow-capped peak.
7. Whale Watching in Puerto Lopez
Embark on a thrilling whale watching excursion in Puerto Lopez. Observe humpback whales as they migrate through the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and witness their majestic breaches and tail slaps.
8. Visiting the Ingapirca Ruins
Explore the ancient Inca ruins of Ingapirca, the largest and best-preserved archaeological site in Ecuador. Learn about the fascinating history of the Inca civilization and marvel at the impressive stone structures.
9. Taking the Devil's Nose Train
Experience a unique train ride on the Devil's Nose railway, known for its steep slopes and breathtaking views. Travel through the rugged Andean landscape and witness the engineering marvels of this historic railway.
10. Visiting the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve
Embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, a protected area in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Explore the pristine rainforest, spot rare species of birds and animals, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the jungle.
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Ecuador has a diverse climate due to its varied topography, with temperatures averaging around 15-25 degrees Celsius (59-77 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. Coastal regions are typically hot and humid, while the highlands are cooler and more temperate. The Andes region also experiences a wet and dry season and the Amazon rainforest has a tropical climate, with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Ecuador depends on your travel plans and preferences. If you're looking to avoid the rain and enjoy warm weather, the dry season from June to September is the best time to visit the Andean region. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices. If you don't mind some rain and are looking for fewer crowds and lower prices, the green season from October to May can also be a good time to visit. Additionally, the Galapagos Islands have a constant tropical weather, with a warm climate all year round. If you plan to visit the Amazon rainforest, you'll find that there is no bad time to go, as the weather is warm and humid all year round.
Ecuador offers a variety of hotels to choose from, including budget-friendly options and luxury resorts. In major cities such as Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca, you'll find a variety of international hotel chains as well as locally-owned properties. In more rural areas and beach destinations, you may find smaller, more basic hotels or guesthouses.
Ecuador also has a growing number of hostels, which are a budget-friendly accommodation option. They often have shared dorm rooms as well as private rooms and offer a more social atmosphere than traditional hotels. Hostels are popular among backpackers and other budget-conscious travelers.
Another option for accommodation in Ecuador is vacation rentals, such as apartments or villas. This can be a good option for groups or families traveling together, as it allows for more space and privacy than a hotel room. Vacation rentals can also be a more budget-friendly option, as the cost can be split among multiple people.
Eco-Lodges and Camping
For those who want to be closer to nature, eco-lodges and camping are also options. These can be found in national parks and other protected areas, and offer a unique way to experience Ecuador's natural beauty. Some of them offer sustainable tourism initiatives and opportunities to engage with local communities.
Ecuador has a variety of public transportation options, including buses and taxis. These are the most affordable option for getting around, but can be crowded and uncomfortable. The public transportation system is well-organized in some areas, but less developed in others.
Rental cars are also an option in Ecuador, but it is important to keep in mind that driving conditions can be challenging. The road infrastructure is well-developed in some areas, but less in others, and driving can be dangerous in rural areas, especially in the Andes. Additionally, it is a good idea to check with the rental agency and make sure that you have a valid driver's license and that your insurance covers you while driving in Ecuador.
Another option is to hire a private driver or tour company, which can be a convenient and safe way to get around the country, particularly if you plan to visit multiple destinations. This option can be relatively expensive but can also be more comfortable and reliable.
For traveling between different regions of the country, air travel is also an option, but the options are limited and prices can be relatively high. However, it can save a lot of time, especially if you plan to travel to remote places that are not easily accessible by land. Some places like the Galapagos islands or the Amazon rainforest are only accessible by air.
- The official currency of Ecuador is the United States Dollar (USD).
- Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas, but it's always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or remote areas.
Cash And Cards
- It's recommended to carry small denominations of cash for small purchases and tips.
- Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas.
- Ensure that you notify your bank before traveling to avoid any issues with card transactions.
- ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.
- It's advisable to use ATMs located inside banks or secure areas to minimize the risk of card skimming.
- Some ATMs may charge a fee for withdrawals, so it's a good idea to check with your bank beforehand.
- Tipping is not mandatory in Ecuador, but it's appreciated for good service.
- In restaurants, a 10% service charge may already be included in the bill.
- It's customary to tip taxi drivers, tour guides, and hotel staff a small amount as a token of appreciation.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in Ecuador is relatively low compared to Western countries.
- Prices for accommodation, food, and transportation are generally affordable.
- However, prices can vary depending on the location and level of tourist development.
- Be cautious of street vendors or individuals offering overly expensive tours or services.
- Avoid exchanging money on the street and use authorized exchange offices or banks.
- Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas and public transportation.