Ecuador’s enormous diversity of dense rainforests, indigenous cultures, stunning landscapes, and colonial architecture more than compensates for its small size. The country covers around 285,000 square kilometers and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Peru, and Colombia, making it one of the most intriguing and appealing in South America. It is not larger than the majority of US states. Ecuador, a center for adventure and thrill lovers, is a great area to exercise your enthusiasm for adventure sports like hiking or mountain climbing. If you are not the daring kind, you may go for long walks in the country’s lovely environs.
Ecuador is synonymous with one thing for many high-end travelers: sailing the Galapagos Islands aboard a cruise ship. Although the Galapagos Islands nature trip onboard is an incredible experience, the rest of the nation deserves more than a brief layover on the way in or out.
Ecuador’s official language is Spanish; however, over twenty local tongues, including various varieties of Kichwa, the Inca Empire’s language. The bulk of Ecuador’s 14.5 million inhabitants are mestizos (people of mixed Spanish and indigenous ancestry), a quarter is indigenous people from more than a dozen native tribes, 7% are white, primarily of Spanish origin, and 3% are black.
Quito, known as San Francisco de Quito, is Ecuador’s capital city, is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions. It is located on the eastern slopes of Pichincha Volcano in the Guayllabamba river basin. In 1978, UNESCO designated Quito as one of two cities as the first World Cultural Heritage Sites. The historic core of Quito is one of the most significant naturals and maintained historic centers in America. Some of the museums in Ecuador, such as the Museo del Banco Central, Casa de la Cultura, and Centro Cultural Metropolitano, can teach you about the country’s cultural and historical past.
About 50 kilometers south of Quito is Cotopaxi, an active stratovolcano in the Cotopaxi Province. With a height of 5,897 meters, it is Ecuador’s second-highest peak. It is also one of the world’s tallest volcanoes. Foxes, whitetail deer, rabbits, odors, spectacled bears, and brocket deer are rarely seen here. You will discover an extensive collection of stuffed fauna at the Cotopaxi Museum and Visitor Center, some facts about the active volcano, and a map of this. Limpiopungo Lagoon offers a beautiful panoramic view of Cotopaxi and Rumiahui, which are pretty near the city. You can also see seagulls and the odd condor.
The geological marvel of the nearly conical Cotopaxi in the Avenue of Volcanoes may be explored and hiked on. One of Ecuador’s many achievements is its rebuilt railway network, which provides visitors with panoramic views of the Andean scenery. Textile and artisan craft enthusiasts may visit the lively marketplaces of Otavalo and Quito or see authentic Panama hats being produced in the colonial city of Cuenca.
Cuenca is the country’s third-biggest city, located in southern Ecuador. It is also the provincial capital of Azuay. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Inca Empire’s ancient ruin. Located to the south of the city, Turi, provides a beautiful perspective of this bustling colony. With its three magnificent domes visible from all across town, the new cathedral is the city’s principal church. Various local tour and travel businesses arrange 2-hour sightseeing bus trips. It is one of the excellent spots in Ecuador to spend your vacation with family and friends.
Guayaquil is the country’s largest and most populated city, located on the western bank of the Guayas River. It is also the country’s primary port. Las Penas, Santa Ana, and El Carmen hills, Malecón Simón Bolvar Parque Histórico, Salinas, and La Baha are among the most attractive locations to visit in Guayaquil. Cocoa and banana farms may be seen around the city. Meanwhile, in cloud forest reserves, you may engage in birding and gardening.
Most of the best opulent hotels and lodges are concentrated in the two main cities, Quito and Guayaquil, or the rainforest. However, Ecuador boasts the highest number of hacienda hotels in South America. You’ll typically have a memorable stay each night while you travel throughout the country on vacation.
Finally, for many guests, the Galápagos Islands constitute the initial draw to the nation and probably the most captivating natural wonder in the world. Since Darwin anchored at these foreboding volcanic islands and unraveled the mystery of their strange inhabitants, they have captivated those who visit. Aside from admiring courageous land creatures, there are several opportunities to get up and personal with the archipelago’s vast marine life, such as swimming with turtles and sharks or peeping through a glass-bottomed boat in search of dolphins and whales.
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Time and Weather
Ecuador’s climate is tropical, although it varies with height and area owing to changes in elevation and, to a lesser extent, closeness to the equator.
The coastal lowlands of western Ecuador are generally warm, with temperatures about 25 °C (77 °F). Between January and April, coastal regions are hot and wet due to ocean currents.
The weather in Quito is typical of a subtropical highland climate. The average daytime temperature is 21 °C (70 °F), while the average nighttime temperature is 10 °C (50 °F). The yearly average temperature is 18 °C (64 °F). In the city, there are two seasons: dry and rainy. The rainy season lasts from October to May, while the dry season lasts from June to September.
Ecuador’s terrain is varied, and the country is susceptible to climate change. Ecuador’s seven glaciers are Antisana, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Cayambe, the Ilinizas (north and south), El Altar, and Carihuairazo. All of these glaciers are positioned atop volcanic craters that are influenced by the greenhouse effect. The Carihuairazo glacier has already lost 95% of its surface due to global warming. Carihuairazo might go extinct in a few years if climate change continues to worsen. Since early 2019, there has been a countrywide loss of 50% of glacier coverage.
The best time to visit
The ideal time to visit Ecuador varies on where you go in the nation. Weather changes are typically caused by geographical variances and micro-climates rather than clearly defined seasons. The highlands, for example, have a drier season from June to September, although the ‘four seasons in a day’ phenomena can occur at any time.
The wet season is the most fantastic time to visit Ecuador’s coast since temperatures are warmer and rain generally falls in short spurts in the afternoon, allowing you to enjoy sunny mornings.
Ecuador has more than 25,000 plant species, or 10% of the world total, which no other country of its size can equal, compared to roughly 17,000 for all of North America. It has nearly twice as many bird species as Europe and half as many as South America. In addition, the nation has more species of animals and amphibians per square meter than any other country on the planet.
The varied terrains sustain many habitats that support an astonishing diversity of species, from the high Andean highlands to the low-lying tropical rainforests and coastal plains. The nation has been designated as a «mega-diversity hotspot» in the globe.
You can find over 300 species of mammals, including the endangered Andean spectacled bear, monkeys (including spider, howler, woolly, capuchin, and squirrel monkeys), marmosets, tamarins, two and three-toed sloths, deer, Andean foxes, llamas, vicunas, anteaters, agoutis, peccaries. Amazonian Ecuador has ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, pumas, and spectacled bears, although rarely observed. River dolphins have been sighted in the Amazon’s tributaries on occasion.
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