Conventional Name: Republic of Ecuador
Short Name: Ecuador
Surface: The Republic of Ecuador occupies a surface of 256.370 square kilometers.
Population: Ecuador’s population is approximately 13.832.885 inhabitants composed of persons of mixed race that represents the 77,42% of the population, the whites and immigrants are represented by a 10,45%; the 6,83% is represented by various indigenous groups that together form 26 different nationalities, a 2,73% is represented by mulattos and finally a 2,23% is represented by the Afro Ecuadorian community.
Local Hour: GMT -5 hours
Electricity: Electricity in Ecuador is 127 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Ecuador with a device that does not accept 127 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
Language: The official language is Spanish, but the quichua, shuar and other indigenous languages are officially recognized too.
Religion: The catholic religion is predominant with approximately a 68%, either way, the country guarantee the free election and diffusion of other religions.
Currency: The official currency is the US Dollar, although is important to know that Ecuador have issue its own coins of 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and 1 dollar, the same are only valid inside the country.
Banking & Shopping Hours:
Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.00am to 1.30pm
Shops are open Mondays to Saturdays from 8.30am to 12.30pm & 3.30pm to 7.00pm
Jan 1st – New Year's Day
March/April – Easter Week (varies per liturgical calendar)
May 1st – Labor Day
May 24th – Battle of Pichincha
Jul 24th- Birthday of Simon Bolivar
Aug 10th – Quito's Independence Day
Oct 9th – Guayaquil's Independence Day
Nov 2nd – All Souls Day
Nov 3rd- Cuenca's Independence Day
Dec 6th – Foundation of Quito
Dec 25th – Christmas Day
Dec 31st -New Year's Eve
Geography: Ecuador is crossed by the Andes range from north to south, dividing the country in three different diverse regions:
-The Pacific Coast
-The Andean Region
-The Amazon Basin
Directly in front of continental Ecuador at the Pacific Ocean we find the famous Galapagos Islands, a natural unique worldwide destination.
Economy: The agriculture and the petroleum explotation are the main economic support followed by the textile industry as well as food, beverages, tobacco, fertilizers and the cement production.
Ecuador occupies the first place in banana production and exportation, followed by the flower industry and is the eight World cacao producers. Is important too the production of shrimp, sugar cane, rice, cotton, corn, palm, cedar wood, Walnut wood and others.
In reference to the industrial sector, it is mainly for the internal market, either wise there is a small exportation of liquors, canned food, textiles, Jewels and furniture.
Today, the economy is rising in a constantly way making of Ecuador one of the most growing countries of South America.
Food & Beverage: Because of its physical and cultural diversity, Ecuador is blessed with a wide range of fruits, vegetables and edible creatures. The Andes are the birthplace of the potato and several hundred species are grown here.
As for tropical fruits, you will see and taste delicious varieties you never knew existed.
More acceptable to European and American palates are some of the great soups of the highlands. Locro de papas, usually known simply as locro, a thick potato and cheese soup, is delicious and requires no culinary courage to consume. Yahuarlocro, a potato soup made with blood sausage, avocados and onions, is equally tasty. Fanesca, rich soup made with fish, eggs, beans and grains, is traditionally eaten during Holy Week.
Another sierra favourite among Ecuadorians and foreigners is llapingachos, potato pancakes or patties made with cheese and onions. And for a quick snack, empanadas, wheat flour pasties stuffed with cheese or meat, are filling and appetizing and can be bought inexpensively at a panaderia [bakery]. Empanadas de morocho [corn meal empanadas], usually filled with meat. The most typical mountain cooking is fried pork and roast pork - fritada and hornado. If you are really hungry, order a chugchucaras, a specialty of Latacunga, which is a big plate of fried pork with mote [corn], bananas, fried potato pancakes, popcorn and pork skin with a couple of eggs on top.
With its abundance of seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, the best cuisine in Ecuador is found on the coast. The greatest glory of the coastal cuisine is ceviche, which is fresh fish or shellfish marinated using various recipes combining lime or lemon, chili, onions, coriander [cilantro] and perhaps other spices.
All Ecuadorian meals are served with a small side dish of hot sauce made in various ways with chili peppers. The spiciness of the sauce varies from place to place, so proceed with caution.
Typical alcoholic Ecuadorian drinks include various fruit concoctions made with a powerful sugar cane spirit [trago] as a base. A popular one is canelazos, which is a hot cocktail of trago, mixed with cinnamon, sugar and lime.
Vaccinations: Vaccinations against Yellow Fever & Malaria are recommended to those travellers going to the Amazon Basin and for all areas along the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountain Range.