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General Information - About Ecuador

A land of contrasts you will never forget, Ecuador is divided by nature, yet solidly held together by a common cultural heritage. It is a four-in-one deal offering an awesome wealth of cultural and natural diversity; trek through the Andes, swim along a tropical coast, and explore the mysteries of the jungle and the Galapagos Islands, all in one trip!



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Full country name: Republic of Ecuador
Map of Ecuador: 183Kb.
Area: 283,520 sq km
Capital city: Quito (pop: 1.2 million)
History

Population: Approximately 12.5 million inhabitants (growth rate: 2.4%). There are more than ten Indian nationalities, each one with its distinctive language and customs, making Ecuador a fascinating multicultural land.
People:55% mestizo, 25% Indian, 10% Spanish descent, 10% African descent.
Language: Spanish is the official language; Quechua is spoken by a large percentage of the native people. English, French and German are spoken in hotels, tourist shops and in major visitor centers.

Religion: Over 90% Roman Catholic, small minority of other Christian denominations.
Government: Democracy
President: Alfredo Palacio

Entry requirements : Ecuador requires a valid passport. The traveler must also hold proof of return or onward journey.
Visas: Citizens of virtually all countries can stay a maximum of 90 days without a visa. Immigration officials may initially validate a stay of only 30 days in your passport, but this is easily extended in Quito.

Health: No vaccinations are required for entry but we recommend to check with your physician before departure. Additionally, because of the high altitudes in parts of Ecuador, travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should also consult with their doctors.
Health Risks: Dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, and a minor risk of cholera, rabies and diptheria. Get a yellow-fever vaccination if you plan to visit the jungles of the Oriente.

Departure tax: There is a 25 US Dollars departure tax on international flights.
Local Time: Eastern standard on GMT-5. In the Galápagos Islands it is GMT-6.

Money: The national currency is now the American dollar.
Relative costs:
  • cheap meal: US$1
  • restaurant meal: US$2 -3
  • cheap room: US$3
  • hotel room: $US8

Banking hours : Monday through Friday. 09H00 to 18H00.

Electricity : 110 volts. 60 cycles (Hertz) AC.Weights &
measures: Metric

Tourism: Estimated 500,000 visitors in 1996

Climate : The weather is stable most of the year, although somewhat colder in the winter months from December to April. The weather in the mountains varies from east to west. The eastern mountains, especially Antisana, El Altar and Sangay, and to lesser extent Cayambe and Tungurahua are influenced by air from the Amazonian lowlands. The wettest months are June through August. December and January are the best for El Altar. February for climbing Antisana and October-January for Cayambe.
In the western mountains, the dry season is late June-September, with a short dry spell in December-January. The wettest months here are February-May. During the dry season temperatures tend to be very low at night and high winds can be a problem, particularly in August. The weather in October and November tends to be variable.
In the Galapagos Islands, in general, December-June are the warmest mounths, also the most lush and green at this time. July-November is the coolest time. In the Amazon region the climate is humid and warm with frequent rains (rain forest). But remember the only thing predictable about Ecuador's weather is its unpredictability.

Economic Profile:
  • GDP: US$12 billion
  • GDP ranking in the world: 71st
  • GDP per head: US$1,070
  • Annual growth: 3.5%
  • Inflation : 25,4%
  • Major products/industries: Oil, bananas, shrimp and fish, coffee
  • Major trading partners: USA, Germany, Peru
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Ecuaworld.com: Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Travel Guide