A microcosm of sensations and flavors in the center of our planet: This is Ecuador. A unique country where all the cultures, peoples and landscapes of South America find together to create the most perfect blend of the world.
Ecuador is located at the equator in the northwest of South America. It borders on Colombia and Peru in the North, in the East and the South on Peru and in the West on the Pacific. With 283‘561 square kilometers, it is the eighth largest country of South America and has a diverse geography composed of four different regions: Andes, Amazonia, coast and Galápagos.
Four worlds congregate here; from the warm coast which rises step by step to the snowcapped heights and moderate valleys of the Andes, to finally introduce the green carpet of the Amazonia with its biodiversity. As a highlight, there are the Galápagos Islands far off the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.
The Galápagos Islands are an ensemble consisting of 14 islands and a series of skerries situated 972 kilometers off the Ecuadorian coast. The Islands, its National Park and the biological marine reservation form the only province which is completely surrounded by water.
The Galápagos Islands are of volcanic origin. Therefore it houses unique species like iguanas, Galápagos tortoises, albatrosses, boobies and sea lions. The particular mixture of the flora and fauna and the unique way how many species evolved were subject for Charles Darwin’s studies about the origin of the species.
Santa Cruz is the most populous islands and accommodates the capital of the province: Puerto Ayora. While the archipelago is located at the equator, the Humboldt Current influences the water clime by bringing cold waters from the South. The average temperature is 25°C throughout the whole year.
The Galápagos Islands and its resources were declared World Natural Heritage by the UNESCO in 1979 for being a natural laboratory like no other in the world.
Plains, hills, flat country and beaches, that extend from the Pacific Ocean to the foothill of the Andes – cultivated by women and men from all corners of Ecuador. The geographical diversity is a main argument to fall in love with the Ecuadorian coast.
The coastal region encompasses seven provinces from Esmeraldas in the North to El Oro at the border to Peru in the South. In between you find Manabí, Santo Domingo, Los Ríos, Guayas and Santa Elena. Guayaquil – the most populous city and commercial center of the country – is the cultural, economical, political and demographic hub of the coast.
The subtropical climate throughout the whole year allows for a diverse landscape from the green mangroves in Esmeraldas to the dry forests in Manabí. Some of the best known Ecuadorian dishes like Ceviche and Encocado originate from the coast.
Beaches, bays, cliffs, savannas, historical cities and industrial poles are characteristics of the coastal region Approaching the East, the region fuses with a giant natural wall – the Cordilleras of the Andes, the place that houses the mountains’ folks and customs.
Like an oasis of fertile agriculture, valleys, barren land and snow. The mountain region is the highest located region of the country and its major component consists of the elevation of the Andes that reaches from 1’500 meters up to the about 6’310 meters of the Chimborazo volcano – the country’s highest point
From Carchi to Loja, the Sierra encompasses ten provinces. Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, is located at the foothill of the volcano Pichincha and is home to one of the best preserved historic centers of the world. Other elevations whose peaks are always snow-covered are the Cayambe, Cotopaxi and Ilinizas.
The mountainous region accommodates some of the most famous icons of the Ecuador like for example the extensive mosaics of corn, potato and crop plantations in Tungurahua, the pure waters of the lagoons in Imbabura and the sandy valleys of longevity in Loja. Like guardians to the Amazonian treasure, the hillside of the Andes leads down to the orient to embrace the region with the biggest biodiversity: the Amazonia.
The descent to the Amazon Basin, the most easterly region of Ecuador, is one of the most beautiful reservations of biodiversity on our planet. The Amazonian region is home to a tropical rainforest with steep ridges, affluents and cascades that flow down to the profound jungle where the humid lowlands flourish. The virgin forest covers the main part of the region. The Amazonia is the largest but least populous region of the country.
One of the Ecuadorian natural gems lies in the Amazonian region. The Yasuni National Park – with nearly 10’000 square kilometers – is home to thousands of species of animals, plants and inaccessible people that live in voluntary isolation: Tagaeri and Taromenane.
Other folks who live in this region are the Quechua, Huaorani, Secoya and Cofán which perpetuate ancestral habits of living, chase, social and familiar organization.