Coat of Arms
President Rafael Correa
»Unitary presidential constitutional republic
»283,560a km2 (75th)
» Per capita -$11,35
»$100.485 billion (64th)
» Per capita -$6,269
»United States dollar (USD)
»ECT / GALT (UTC−5 / −6)
Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) west of the mainland.
What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of indigenous groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the fifteenth century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the sixteenth century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador’s ethnically diverse population, with most of its 15.2 million people comprised of mestizos followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants.
Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though thirteen indigenous languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar. The capital city is Quito while the largest city is Guayaquil. In reflection, of the country’s rich cultural heritage, the historical center of Quito was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Cuenca, the third-largest city, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as an outstanding example of a planned, inland Spanish-style colonial city in the Americas.
Ecuador is also known for its rich ecology, hosting many endemic plants and animals, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. It is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world, with the most species diversity per unit area. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
Ecuador is a democratic presidential republic. A medium-income country, its developing economy is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products.
Ecuador’s economy is the eighth largest in Latin America and experienced an average growth of 4.6% between 2000 and 2006. From 2007 to 2012 Ecuador’s GDP grew at an annual average of 4.3 percent, above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was 3.5%, according to the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Ecuador was able to maintain relatively superior growth during the crisis. In January 2009 the Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE) put the 2010 growth forecast at 6.88%. In 2011, its GDP grew at 8% and ranked 3rd highest in Latin America, behind Argentina (2nd) and Panama (1st).
Oil accounts for 40% of exports and contributes to maintaining a positive trade balance. Since the late 1960s, the exploitation of oil increased production, and proven reserves are estimated at 6.51 billion barrels as of 2011
Ecuador is ranked 95 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.420489
Top 5 Products exported by Ecuador
- Crude Petroleum (50%),
- Bananas (11%),
- Crustaceans (5.4%),
- Processed Fish(4.8%),
- Refined Petroleum (3.8%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Ecuador
- United States (41%),
- Peru (8.0%), Chile (7.7%),
- Colombia (4.3%),
- Venezuela (4.0%)
Top 5 Products imported by Ecuador
- Refined Petroleum (11%),
- Coal Tar Oil (7.4%),
- Cars (3.1%),
- Packaged Medicaments (2.9%),
- Delivery Trucks (2.7%)
Top 5 Import origins of Ecuador
- United States (27%),
- China (11%),
- Colombia (7.9%),
- Panama (6.3%),
The historic centers of Quito and Cuenca are lined with photogenic plazas, 17th-century churches and monasteries, and beautifully restored mansions.
Wandering the cobblestone streets amid architectural treasures from Spanish colonial days is a fine way to delve into the past. Beyond the cities, the Ecuadorian landscape unfolds in all its startling variety.
There are Andean villages renowned for their colorful textiles and sprawling markets, Afro-Ecuadorian towns where days end with meals of fresh seafood and memorable sunsets, and remote settlements in the Amazon where shamans still harvest the traditional rainforest medicines of their ancestors.
Setting off on a trek into the Andes can seem like stepping into a fairy tale: there’s the patchwork of small villages, gurgling brooks and rolling fields, with a condor slowly wheeling overhead. Although the view from the top is sublime, you don’t have to scale a mountain to enjoy the Andes.
These verdant landscapes make a fine backdrop for mountain-biking, horseback-riding or hiking from village to village, overnighting at local guesthouses along the way. Ecuador’s other landscapes offer equally alluring adventures, from surfing tight breaks off the Pacific coast to white-water-rafting Class V rivers along the jungle-clad banks of the Oriente.
After days of Ecuadorian adventures, there are many appealing places where you can go to relax amid awe-inspiring scenery. Head to the mountainous highlands to recharge at a historic hacienda, or find Zenlike beauty amid a cloud forest lodge near Mindo. There are peaceful, timeless mountain villages like Vilcabamba and picturesque former gold-mining towns like Zaruma that offer a perfect antidote to the vertiginous rush of modern-day life. And for a coastal getaway, you’ll have plenty of options, from tiny end-of-the-road settlements like Ayampe and Olón to charming towns on the Galapagos, with great beaches and magnificent sunsets right outside your door.
- Loma Alta, a 2428-hectare cloud forest.
- Tigua, for its bright paintings.
- The village of Calderon is known for its folk art.
- Agua Blanca, an indigenous territory of the Manta.
- Chimborazo, highest peak in Ecuador.
- La Mitad del Mundo on the Equator