Ecuador is a beautiful country located in the northern portion of South America. Expand your knowledge of this fascinating country by exploring these interesting Ecuador facts.
Some of the key facts about Ecuador's economy and government are a bit surprising.
- The official currency of Ecuador is the United States (U.S.) dollar. Paper money in Ecuador is U.S. banknotes.
- Ecuador does have its own coins. They come in the same denominations as U.S. coins but have different symbols on them.
- The sucre used to be the country's official currency but was discontinued in 2000.
- Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world, but bananas are only the country's second-largest export.
- Crude petroleum is actually Ecuador's largest export. Refined petroleum is also one of the country's major exports.
- Ecuador exports far more goods to the United States than to any of its other trading partners.
- Ecuador's government is a representative democratic republic. The president and members of parliament are elected to four-year terms.
- In Ecuador, all literate citizens between the ages of 18 and 65 are required to vote. Those who don't vote are penalized.
Ecuador is a beautiful country with widely varied terrain.
- Ecuador sits on the equator. The majority of the country is in the southern hemisphere, but part is in the northern hemisphere.
- Costa Rica's coastline touches the Caribbean Sea and the northern portion of the Pacific Ocean.
- Ecuador shares land borders with Columbia and Peru.
- Ecuador borders Costa Rica by sea.
- Río Napo is the longest river in Ecuador. Located in the northern part of the country, this river is 530 miles long.
- The Andes mountain range extends through Ecuador.
- Ecuador's Andes mountains are volcanic peaks.
- There are more than 40 volcanoes in Ecuador, including ones on the mainland and Galápagos Islands.
- Dozens of Ecuador's volcanoes are believed to potentially be active.
- Mount Chimborazo is the tallest mountain in Ecuador.
- Due to its position on a bulge on the Earth, Chimborazo is the place on Earth farthest from the Earth's center and closest to space.
- Snow skiing is popular on the three highest peaks in Ecuador, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Cayambe. They are the only mountains that get enough snow for skiing.
- Ecuador's Amazonian rainforest lies to the east of Ecuador.
The Galápagos Islands are part of Ecuador. The Galápagos Islands are a top destination for ecotourism.
- The Galápagos archipelago consists of 19 volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 600 miles away from Ecuador's mainland.
- In 1978, the Galápagos Islands were designated as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
- Ecuador's government established the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) in 1998 to protect the islands. It is the world's second-largest marine reserve.
- The Galápagos Islands are among the most biodiverse locations on Earth. Nearly 3,000 marine species are known to reside within the GMR protected area.
- Tourism opportunities are strictly limited. Most parts of the Galápagos are off-limits to visitors unless they're accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
- Some tourism companies offer day-trips to some of the islands.
- One of the best ways to see the more remote islands is via a Galápagos cruise. The maximum passenger limit on these cruises is 100 people.
Have these few facts piqued your interest in learning more about Ecuador, or maybe even inspired you to want to travel there? Spanish is the country's official language, so you may want to master at least some basic Spanish words before you go. English is the country's most frequently spoken foreign language, so you may be able to get by with just a few key Spanish travel phrases.