Most famous as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are considered a place of natural, unspoiled wonder. Scuba dive and explore the wildlife in this UNESCO World Heritage site and biosphere reserve.
Although it’s the second smallest country in South America, Ecuador has a lot to offer travelers. It’s divided into three distinct geographical regions which are very different in landscape and climate. Ecuador is also home to the famous Galapagos Islands which are even more distinctly different to the rest of the country and its three regions. The volcanic Andes run through the centre of Ecuador, to the east there are low wetlands and to the west there is lush forest and tropical beaches.
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Did you know?
- Ecuador’s flag represents the diversity of the country (yellow), sky and sea (blue) and blood of those who fought for independence (red).
- There are numerous active volcanoes in Ecuador. In fact, the country has one of the greatest densities of volcanoes worldwide.
- Ecuador is one of only two South American countries that does not border with Brazil.
- In Spanish, Ecuador means equator, which the country was named after since the equator passes through it.
- In Ecuador, guinea pig is considered to be a delicacy and can be commonly found being served in many eateries and street vendors.
- If a woman in Ecuador is found to not be a virgin on her wedding night, her husband may legally return her to her parents.
- The ‘Panama hat’ actually comes from Ecuador. They received this name because the hats were shipped through the Panama canal on their way to the United States.
Due to the difference in elevation, climate varies throughout Ecuador. The lowlands are warm and humid averaging on 25 degrees Celsius with a rainy season from December to May. The highlands are cool and dry, ranging on 16 degrees Celsius. The highlands rainy season is from November to April and dry season is from May to October. Between May and December, it rarely rains on the coastal line. Although the coast is hot from January to April, it is quite rainy. There are usually a few good hours of sunshine in the mornings.
Along with Peru, Bolivia and Chile, the Inca Empire formed much of Ecuador. The Spaniards conquered the land in 1532 and exploited the Ecuadorian population for majority of the 17th century. In 1809, the first revolt against Spain occurred and by 1819, Ecuador joined a confederacy known as Greater Colombia, which Venezuela, Colombia and Panama were also part of. When the Greater Colombia confederacy fell apart, Ecuador became independent, but many revolts and dictatorships took place. Ecuador was under Conservative rule until the revolution if 1895. Half a century of Radical Liberal rule took place where freedom of worship and speech were finally introduced into Ecuador. In 1941, Peru invaded Ecuador seizing territory in the Amazon region. War broke out over disputes about territory in 1981 and finally in May 1999, the two countries signed a treaty ending the six decade dispute over land.
Who says adventure travel has to be expensive? Here are five activities in Ecuador that will get your heart thumping and keep your wallet happy.
Taking a trip to South America? If so, you’ll want to check our round-up of the cheapest airports to fly into–so you can save your money for once you’re back on the ground.
Take a plunge into the underwater wonders of the world!
Looking to learn Spanish abroad? Our picks for the top destinations to practice your skills will have you booking a flight and perfecting your español in no time.
Lonesome George, the famous giant tortoise of the Galapagos Islands—and the last of his species—has died at the estimated age of 100.
In this special guest post, Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger shares one of the most transformative travel moments of his life, when a community came together to build a school in the mountains of Ecuador.