Ecuador Travel Guide

from Travel Insurance Direct
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The Republic of Ecuador is located on the Equator in the northwestern part of South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean between Peru and Colombia.


The country’s name is derived from it lying directly on the Equator. It is dominated by the Andes mountains with two parallel ranges crossing the country from south to north. It has Cotopaxi , the highest active volcano in the world, and the highest volcanic peak, Mt. Chimborazo reaches to over 20,500’. Ecuador includes the Galapagos Islands which lie approx. 600 miles west in the Pacific Ocean and became part of Ecuador in the 1830s.

The country can be roughly divided into four separate regions, the coastal area with its magnificent beaches. The mountainous Andes with its volcanoes, the lush basin of the Amazon jungle and then the unique Galapagos Islands .


The country was conquered by the Incans in the 1500s. The Spanish arrived in 1534 and overpowered the Inca armies, claiming a new colony. Ecuador joined Simon Bolivar’s Republic of Colombia in 1922 and then regained independence in 1830. There ensued political instability and power struggles for many years.


The population comprises mainly Mestizo (mix of Amerindian and Spanish), Amerindian, Spanish, and black. Roman Catholic is the dominant religion. Spanish is the official language, with some Amerindian languages spoken, Quechua in particular.


The capital city, Quito , is a beautiful old city with many cultural attractions such as museums, old mansions, palaces and churches. Located at an altitude of over 9,000’ is has a good climate and is known as the administrative capital of Ecuador . It has maintained much of its colonial heritage with Spanish-style architecture, squares, palaces and cathedrals. It has a good array of shops and restaurants and is a good place to pick up souvenirs of native arts and crafts from the Indian markets. Other significant cities are Guayaquil , and Cuenca .


From Ecuador there are flights to take you to the remote and volcanic Galapagos Islands where you will see species of animals not found anywhere else in the world. These islands were made world famous by explorer Charles Darwin when he visited in the 1830s. Only two of the twelve significant islands, Isabela and San Cristobal , are inhabited. The islands have a very good climate for visiting at any time of the year. Here is found some of the best scuba diving in the world with many species of colourful fish and corals. The best known inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands are the enormous tortoises, and some species of lizards.


High in the mountains of the Andes there are many Indian villages where you can see people dressed in the native colourful clothing. There are the lovely beaches of Salinas and Montañita located just over an hour’s drive from the popular port destination of Guayaquil southwest of Ecuador . Here all manner of water sports are available. Ecuador is a haven for nature lovers with the rainforest areas, birdwatching (including the blue-footed booby), and unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands . It is also a great location for scuba diving, snorkeling, whalewatching, river rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and mountaineering, to name a few. For those wanting a more relaxing holiday, there are plenty of opportunities to unwind in a leisurely fashion, such as visiting the spas, or exploring the native markets and Incan ruins.



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