Background on Ecuador

Total Area: 256,370 km²

Population: 14.3 million

Official Language: Spanish

Location: on the equator in the north western region of South America

Ecuador is considered one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. The nation’s drastic geographic and climatic variations have led to the evolution of thousands of species of flora and fauna. In Ecuador, there are 10% of the world’s plant species (e.g., 25,000 species of trees), approximately 8% of the world’s animals (4,500 species of butterflies, 350 species of reptiles, 375 species of amphibians, 1,550 species of mammals, 800 fresh water fish species, and 450 salt water fish species), and 18% of the planet’s birds (1,640 bird species). Despite its tiny size, Ecuador is home to rainforest, cloud forest, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snow-capped volcanoes.

Regions of Ecuador: Due to its diverse geography and climate zone, Ecuador has four distinct regions:

  • The Pacific Coast is hot year round. In the south it is dry, whereas in the north it is humid.
  • In the Andes there are temperate and cold areas depending on the altitude.
  • The Amazon region has high temperatures and heavy amounts of rainfall.
  • The Galapagos Islands has a moderate sub-tropical climate. The islands are famous because the foundation of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution stems from observations made within the archipelago.

Indigenous People of Ecuador: There are 14 ethnic groups that still live in different regions of the country and maintain their own language and cosmo-vision.

  • Pacific CoastChachis, Afro-Ecuadorian, Awá, and Tsáchila (Colorados)
  • Amazon regionEastern Quichuas, Huaorani, Achuar, Shuar, Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Shiwiar, and Záparo groups.
  • HighlandsQuichuas (including Otavaleños, Salasacas, Cañaris, and Saraguros)

Currency: The Sucre was the local currency for 125 years. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the American dollar as its official currency.

National Economy: Though oil is the largest industry in Ecuador, a large sector of the economy is based on agriculture. Ecuador is the world’s largest banana producer and a major flower exporter. Other exports include cacao and shrimp. Additionally, because of the country’s diverse geography and increasing focus on conservation, tourism is a growing industry and has become the country’s fourth largest income producer. Ecuador also has non-traditional exports like exotic fruits, Panama hats, vegetable ivory, handcrafts, and salsas. 

Ecuador is considered one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. The nation’s drastic geographic and climatic variations have led to evolution of thousands of species of flora and fauna. In Ecuador there are 10% of the worlds plant species, (25,000 species of trees), approximately 8 % of the world’s animals and 18% of the planet’s birds (i.e. 1,640 bird species, 4,500 species of butterflies, 350 species of reptiles, 375 species of amphibians, and 1,550 species of mammals, 800 fresh water fish species, and 450 salt water fish species). Ecuador has 46 ecosystems that go from sea level to an altitude of around 6,400 meters in its total area of 256, 370 km². Despite its tiny size, Ecuador is home of rain forest, cloud forest, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys and snow capped volcanoes. Regions of Ecuador: Due to its diverse geography and climate zones, including the Andes mountain range, coastal regions, and part of the Amazon basin, Ecuador has four distinct regions:
  • The Pacific Coastis hot year round. In the south it is dry whereas in the north it is humid.
  • In the Andesthere are temperate and cold areas depending on the altitude.
  • The Amazonregion has high temperatures and heavy amounts of rainfall.
  • The Galapagos Islandshas a moderate sub-tropical climate. The islands are famous because the foundation of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution stems from observations made within the archipelago.
Currency: The Sucre was the local currency for 125 years. In 2000, Ecuador adopted the American dollar as its official currency.

Indigenous People of Ecuador: In Ecuador there are 14 ethnic groups that still survive in different regions of the country and maintain their own language and cosmo-vision.

  • Pacific Coast: Chachis, Afro-Ecuadorian, Awá, and Tsáchila (Colorados)
  • Amazon region: Eastern Quichuas, Huaorani, Achuar, Shuar, Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Shiwiar, and Záparo groups.
  • Highlands: Quichuas (including Otavaleños, Salasacas, Cañaris, and Saraguros)

National Economy: Though oil is the largest industry in Ecuador, a large sector of the economy is based on agriculture. Ecuador is the world’s largest banana producer and a major flower exporter. Other exports include cocoa and shrimp. Additionally, because of the country’s diverse geography and increasing focus on conservation, tourism is a growing industry and has become the country’s fourth largest income producer. Ecuador also has non-traditional exports like exotic fruits, Panama hats, vegetable ivory, handicrafts, and salsas.