Currency: U.S. dollar
Ecuador, which means “equator” in Spanish, lies on both sides of this imaginary line on the globe. One of the most unusual countries of the continent, on the territory of which there is a colossal Andean mountain system with a huge number of dormant and active volcanoes, the exotic Amazonia with its diverse natural world and unique tribes, an extended sea coast and dozens of mountain resorts, Ecuador is considered one of the best places in South America for active recreation. At the same time, the historical heritage of the country is also very diverse, which makes it a great holiday destination for connoisseurs of cultural tourism.
The Monastery of San Francisco (Quito) is the largest religious complex in South America. Volcano Cotopaxi (5897 m) is the highest active volcano in the world. Iguanas and giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands are the oldest reptiles on the planet. Fernandina Island (Galapagos Islands) is home to the world’s largest colony of sea lizards.
A state on the Pacific coast of South America, lying in the equatorial zone of the Andes. It borders with Peru in the south and east, with Colombia in the north, from the west it is washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean (the length of the coastline is 2237 km). In addition to the mainland, Ecuador owns the Galapagos Islands, which lie 1000 kilometers to the west of the country’s coast. The total area of Ecuador is 283.6 thousand square meters. km (including the Galapagos Islands – 7.8 thousand sq. km).
Ecuador can be fairly clearly divided into 4 natural and climatic zones – the coast or Costa, the mountainous part of the country with highlands or the Sierra, the area of the Amazonian rainforests or Oriente (“east”), as well as the Galapagos Islands.
The Costa is a relatively flat, fertile coastal plain covering about 27% of the country’s territory.
The Sierra stretches across the country, from the Colombian border in the north to the Peruvian south. Formed by the two main ranges of the Eastern and Western Cordillera, in the middle it forms a long, level plateau of the Central Plains or Loja, on which most of the country’s population lives.
Oriente (“east”), Selva or “eastern jungle”, occupies the extreme east of Ecuador (about half of the country’s territory). This area can be divided into two sub-regions – the High Amazon and the Amazonian Lowland. The highlands of the High Amazon represent the eastern foothills of the Andes, which gently descend to the Amazon basin. The Amazonian lowland, stretching east of the mountain slopes, is one of the last centers of wildlife on the continent, famous for its flora and fauna, as well as a few Indian tribes already living in complete isolation from civilization.
The Colon archipelago, better known as the Galapagos Islands, consists of 13 large, 17 small islands and many single rocks lost in the ocean 1000 km west of the Ecuadorian coast. Volcanic islands, covering an area of almost 8 thousand square meters. km, are widely known for their beauty of landscapes and the uniqueness of local ecosystems, which made it possible to create the country’s first nature reserve here. The highly dissected volcanic landscape of the islands is replete with ancient volcanoes, the highest of which reaches a height of over 1600 meters.
According to Bridgat, the overall picture of the country’s natural and climatic conditions is extremely heterogeneous: in fact, here you can observe a huge variety of microclimatic zones associated with the features of the local relief – even neighboring sections of the valley can radically differ from each other in weather due to different topography. The characteristic features of the local climate also include a rapid change in the local weather during the day, which is associated with different heating of the mountain slopes under the influence of the sun’s rays, which change their azimuth during the day. Ecuadorians even say “we have four seasons in one day”. With a certain degree of conventionality, two seasons can be distinguished in Ecuador – humid hot and dry cool.
Weather in the Galapagos Islands is largely determined by the nature of ocean currents and winds. The usual cold Humboldt current in these parts from June to December is cool and dry, the average monthly rainfall does not exceed 10 mm. In December, strong northern trade winds usually bring warm and rainy weather (up to 300 mm of rain), which lasts until April – May.
The best time to visit the central part of the country is from August to February, Costa – from December to April, Oriente is more favorable in terms of its weather conditions from August to February.
The official language is Spanish. Most of the inhabitants of the mountainous regions also speak their own languages (Quechua, Quichua, etc.). English is spoken only in the tourism industry.
About 13.3 million people, mostly Quechua Indians (25%) and mestizos (65%), as well as people from Europe (up to 7%) and Africa (3%). The Galapagos Islands are inhabited by a very ethnically diverse population (the total number is about 9800 people), which are descendants of immigrants from almost all continents of the globe.
The Republic of Ecuador is a democratic state with a presidential form of government. The head of state and government is the president, who is elected by universal secret suffrage for a four-year term.
The majority of believers are Catholics (95%), representatives of all world confessions are also present.
The national currency of the country is the US dollar (US$), equal to 100 cents (centavos). In circulation there are banknotes of $100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, as well as coins of $1, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent. Also in circulation is a banknote of $2 and a coin of $1, but you can meet them in circulation less and less.
Everywhere, except for banks, one can encounter difficulties with paying with banknotes of large ($100 and $50) denominations, regardless of the year of issue and series.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks and exchange offices (however, the number of the latter is decreasing due to the transition of the country’s monetary system to the American currency). It is rather difficult to change foreign currencies other than US dollars in some inland provinces, especially in Oriente. Typically, banks and “casa de cambio” charge a commission fee of 1-4% for an exchange operation.
In the main territory of the country, local time is 8 hours behind Moscow in winter and 9 hours in summer, in the Galapagos, respectively, by 9 and 10 hours.
Official holidays and weekends in Brazil:
January 1 – New Year.
March – Holy Week.
May 1 – Labor Day.
May 24 – Day of the Battle of Pichincha.
May 26 is the feast of the Body of Christ.
July 24 – Simon Bolivar Day.
August 10 – Independence Day.
November 2 – Day of Remembrance of the Dead.
December 25 – Christmas.