Officially: the Republic of Ecuador
(Spanish: República del Ecuador), which literally translates as “Republic of the Equator“.
Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres west of the mainland.
Capital: Quito formally “San Francisco de Quito”, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world and the one which is closest to the equator line. The capital city is Quito, while the largest city is Guayaquil. In reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage, the historical center of Quito was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Cuenca, the third-largest city, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as an outstanding example of a planned, inland Spanish-style colonial city in the Americas.
Population: 15.2 million people approximately.
Official language: Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Amerindian languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar.
Official currency: The US dollar became legal tender in Ecuador March 13, 2000.
Climate: There is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude. It is mild year-round in the mountain valleys, with a humid subtropical climate in coastal areas and rainforest in lowlands. The Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and relatively dry, and the Amazon basin on the eastern side of the mountains shares the climate of other rainforest zones. Because of its location at the equator, Ecuador experiences little variation in daylight hours during the course of a year. Both sunrise and sunset occur each day at the two six o’clock hours.
Economy: Ecuador has a developing economy that is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. The country is classified as a medium-income country.
Biodiversity: Ecuador is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world according to Conservation International, and it has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation. Ecuador has 1,600 bird species (15% of the world’s known bird species) in the continental area and 38 more endemic in the Galapagos. In addition to over 16,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galapagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna, famous as the place of birth of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Electrical power: outlets Electrical power outlets in Ecuador are the same as in the US (110v).
Mobile (cellular) phone frequencies: Mobile (cellular) phone frequencies in Ecuador are 850 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 1700/2100 MHz (LTE).
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