Ecuador Discovery Guide

Overview

The country Ecuador was duly named because of its location. Although it is situated on the northern region of South America, the entire land area spans both sides of the equator with its capital city of Quito located practically on the equator itself. One interesting trivia about this country is that it is one of only two countries in South America that does not share its borders with the largest country in the continent, Brazil. Most of the area is covered by the Andes Mountains. Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador is the most active volcano on the earth.

The main languages spoken are Spanish and Quechua. 25% of the population in Ecuador comprises of Native Americans while “mestizos” form 50%.

The country of Ecuador is primarily made out of four macro-regions:

  • The Pacific coastal region which includes Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil.


  • The Sierra (or Highlands) that includes the central part of the country from south to north that mostly lies on elevated Andes mountain range plateaus.


  • The Amazonian region. As a stark contrast with the central elevated region, this region slowly deepens in parts of the huge Amazon Rainforest.


  • And as a distinct region are the famous Galapagos Islands. Located approximately 600 miles from the mainland of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands which is known to be home to exotic wildlife species. It is because of this that the Galapagos Islands have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the species living on these islands have been once studied by Charles Darwin when he became a part of the Voyage of the Beagle. Through the information that he derived from studying the various wildlife living on the islands, he was able to develop with famous Evolution Theory to explain how life on earth exists today as how we know it.


Ecuador is a country that offers travelers an experience that gives a whole new meaning to the word “adventurous”. In fact, having a meal alone in Ecuador can be an adventure in itself. Travelers who would rather stay on the safe side can definitely sample some exquisite cuisine. A definite must-try for travelers enjoying the pristine beaches and coastal towns in the area is the Ecuadorian cerviche. This citrus-flavored appetizer is the best way to sample the different kinds of seafood the country’s coastal region is known for. Mainly made out of lemon juice, the meat of the shellfish used in Ecuadorian cerviche is cooked by the acid found in the juice.

If you are willing to try something a little bit more exotic, try heading over to the mountain regions of the country and request to be served cuy. Cuy is basically guinea pig. This is a favorite street food of the locals. It is cooked by either frying or roasting it and served with potatoes. If that sounds a bit too funky for you, you can always try to sample yuca, also known as Cassava. While this starchy root is a staple in the country of Ecuador, this is only consumed after it has been repeatedly washed and boiled completely through. This is because cassava contains toxins which can be fatal. Washing and boiling the root is the only way to neutralize the toxins.
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