Preparing for the journey, everyone wants to know the maximum information about the new country. Distant Ecuador, certainly, is not the exception! Ecuador is the smallest independent country in South America. It received its name due to its unique geographical location. As usual there are many facts, rumors and gossips. We offer to get to know the top 10 interesting facts about Ecuador that you don’t know and that will be useful at the planning stage of the trip. Whether they are true you will find out after going on a tour. The name of the country was received thanks to the equator, which is 25 km north from the capital – Quito. In 1979 the officials fixed a 30-meter tower topped with a globe on the place, which pass the line of equator. The monument is located in the Park “Mitad del Mundo” or “Middle of the world”. Annually Mitad del Mundo is visited by about half a million people. Ecuador is the friendliest country in the world where there is a visa-free regime for citizens of all countries without exception. Ecuadorians mainly live off their rich natural resources. They export oil, rice, shrimp, bananas, coffee, fish, flowers, sugar cane, cocoa and forest. While Ecuador is the only country in the world that refused to pay its foreign debts not so much by reason of its financial insolvency, but because of the principle. Not everyone knows that Ecuador is an oil country. Oil production is about 500,000 barrels per day. But, besides oil, the major exports of Ecuador are cocoa, bananas and coffee. So in a sense, Ecuador is indeed a “banana republic.” Ecuador can rightly be proud of wearing the title “banana republic”, as this country gets fourth place in the world in banana exports after India, China and Brazil. But as for imports, Ecuador prohibits the importation of cars into the country, which are older than one year. The Galapagos Islands were declared as a UNESCO world heritage and world biosphere Reserve. It is the exact place where Charles Darwin was ready to create the evolutionary theory of the origin of species. The Galapagos Islands are a unique nature reserve themselves, part of the Islands are still under development. They received the fame due to the inhabitance of the world largest turtles. By the way, the island got its name thanks to these Galapagos turtles, not vice versa. Have you been thinking that Panama hat appeared in Panama? It is not true! First Panama hats, that later became popular all over the world, appeared in Ecuador. “Panama hat” was so called in the United States and Europe only because it was imported from Panama. Ecuador is the country with the most equable climate on the planet. The average temperature in July is +25°C, while the temperature in January is +24°C. In combination with temperature variations there are no hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and anticyclones, but there might be about 200 earthquakes in a year above magnitude 4. One of the volcanoes in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is the highest (5 897 m) active volcanoes in the world. By the way, for the last 280 years, it has erupted approximately 50 times. It can be considered as one of the main sights of Ecuador. It is a volcano with a perfect cone shape. Numerous tourists with ropes, ice picks and clamps visit it in attempt to conquer the Ecuadorian peak. The local Amerindians called volcano like this, because of the permanent ice top. The top is so high that the rays of the sun can’t melt the eternal ice. Car tours to Ecuador are getting increasingly popular. Therefore, it should be taken into the note that all members of car accident, no matter guilty or not, are taken to prison before clarification of the circumstances of the accident that resulted in serious injury or death. During elections and referendums in Ecuador all citizens must participate in obligatory way. In case of avoidance they will pay a fine. It is an interesting fact that from 1996 to 2006, the country has changed 10 presidents.
The tour to the Galapagos Islands always brings pleasant and joyful emotions. The Galapagos archipelago is situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and consists of 13 main islands and six smaller ones. The origin of the name of the Islands has an interesting fact, generally the word “galapago” comes from Spanish and means a type of turtle, and so these turtles live here and the name derives from them. Who could have thought that the Galapagos Islands will be the decisive point that allowed the great naturalist Charles Darwin develop his famous theory of the origin of species? Starting the journey in 1831, the researcher did not suppose that while traveling he would finally hit the ground, where the incredible diversity of animals and plants live. Despite the last hundred years from the time of an islands’ discovery, the Galapagos Islands today are places, almost untouched by civilization. Scientists have found that they were formed about 10 million years ago because of volcanic activity. The remoteness of the archipelago from the outside world has allowed nature remain untouched. Today Islands are called as “a living Museum”. There are 216 kinds of plants on the archipelago, which are found nowhere else in the world. The whole tourism is concentrated on the Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. Most travelers prefer to stay in Puerto Ayora, because the infrastructure is adapted to tourist needs. The best places to stay are situated on the coast, but they are accordingly expensive. In case of planning a budget vacation it is better to book a room in city hotels. The capital of the archipelago is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the island of San Cristobal. The largest town of the Galapagos Islands is Puerto Ayora, which is on the island of Santa Cruz. It is a tourist center with good infrastructure. The city has the Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station. Its scientists make research and monitoring the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. The specialists also grow and prepare for resettlement in the natural environment, many species of animals inhabiting the Islands, in particular, the giant Galapagos turtles. Since 1985, the Galapagos Islands and the surrounding land are regarded as a protected area. The beauty of the nature on the Islands can leave nobody indifferent. Flora and fauna of the Islands are extremely unique and have a perfect harmony. Today the Galapagos Islands are included in the list of UNESCO world heritage. The main representative of the flora is a prickly cactus, which grows to 10 meters in height. The animal wealth of this stunning place contains sea lions, penguins, dolphins, whales, white sharks. It is home to the most ancient reptiles in the world – iguanas and Galapagos turtles. So, the Island of Santa Cruz is famous for the giant turtle whose life expectancy is 150 years old. There is also an impressive diversity of birds – flamingos, frigates, albatrosses, pelicans, bullfinches, phaetons. Most of them cannot be met anywhere else. Many tourists from the entire world come to visit the fauna of the Islands and get a chance to dive. The best places for diving are the Islands of Darwin and Wolf. As the Islands of volcanic origin, there are often found traces of volcanic rivers, which add a certain charm to the whole landscape. Due to the close distance of the Islands to the equator the vacation season here is open all year round. The hot season is from February to April, when usually in other parts of the world is still cold. But in general, seasonal temperature changes are not particularly large. By the way, the tourist infrastructure is quite developed and one will easily be able to find a cozy hotel on one of the Islands with no problems. Unique wildlife, spectacular views of the coast with olive, black and white sand, clean waters attract tourists from around the world. But walking around the Galapagos Islands alone is not allowed, go sightseeing is only available with a tourist guide and only at permitted places.
Ecuador is an exotic country of unforgettable adventures. It has not only amazing Amazonia, the unique beauty of the mountains, but a huge number of volcanoes. A journey near the equator may be the most unforgettable in the life. And if to compare the relatively low prices of food and travel services, vacation in Ecuador will also become one of the most economical. There are at least 5 known volcanoes on its territory and some of them are still active. The best known Ecuadorian volcano is Cotopaxi, located in the heart of the same name Park of Ecuador. Cotopaxi is one of the largest volcanoes in the country, the height of which is around 5900 meters. The volcano is located south of Quito, capital of Ecuador, and is part of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Some years ago local residents suffered distress from the powerful eruptions from its crater. Now the volcano is dormant, and only sometimes the emissions of sulfur or water vapor occur. The first European, who reached the top of the volcano, was Wilhelm Flight. He was a German geologist, who organized an expedition to the Andes in 1872. Tourists, climbing Cotopaxi, enjoy the magnificent peaks of the Andes, lined up in a chain. Chimborazo is also among the famous volcanos of Ecuador. It is the highest point of the country. Its height, according to various estimates is about 6300 meters. According to scientists last eruption of this volcano was in the first Millennium BC. From the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century, Chimborazo was considered as the highest peak on Earth. Chimborazo is an extinct volcano that does not decrease its popularity among the tourists. The top of the volcano is covered with eternal ice. The melt water from the mountains is the main water resource for the citizens of Bolivar and Chimborazo provinces. In recent decades the glacier has strongly decreased due to the impact of global warming, and also due to the volcanic activity of Chimborazo. Volcano’s ice is intensively used for sale in the markets, and also for cooling the cities, where the climate is too hot for humans. The Pichincha volcano is one of several active volcanoes of Ecuador. The Eastern slopes of Pichincha smoothly cover the capital of Ecuador in a circle. Pichincha is the 2nd tallest volcano in the country. The volcano contains two peaks. Among of them are the peak Guagua with a height of about 4800 meters and the peak of Rucu which height is about 4700 meters. The first of them is translated as “child”, and the second – “the old man”. Pichincha is as popular place to climb as Cotopaxi. Another active volcano Sangay is situated on the Eastern slope of the Andes. The word “Sangay” is of Amerindian origin, which means “to frighten”. The meaning really proves its name as the volcano is constantly erupting since 1934 and causes great danger to nearby settlements. The first registered eruption happened in 1628. The last major eruption lasted during the year – from 2006 to 2007. The height of the volcano Sangay is 5230 meters. The top of the volcano is full of eternal snow. The first conquest of the peak occurred in 1929. It was a 28 days – journey, during 18 of which it was constantly rained. Today most of the way is overcoming by car in good weather conditions. Not everyone can enjoy the fire-breathing mountain, because the eruption of the volcano is not only beautiful but also a very dangerous spectacle. Tungurahua has not only beautiful, almost perfect shape, but also a changeable temper. The eruption of volcanic ash is visible from far distance. There is a city of Banjos near Tungurahua. A few years ago during another eruption of the volcano all residents of this city were completely evacuated. But the city was just covered with a layer of volcanic ash. Those, who are not able to get closer to the Ecuadorian fire-breathing dragon should not worry, even at a considerable distance, he makes an impression. Smoke and flames emanating from the heart of Tungurahua, will not leave you indifferent. Unforgettable beauty photos will remain in your archive and remind you about visiting one of the most picturesque and unusual places of our planet. Only there, watching the terrible temper of Tungurahua volcano, one can truly realize how weak this world is and how powerful the nature is. Perhaps such a trip is extremely helpful to each of us in order to understand that our task is not to damage the beauty of the world, but to save it for our future generations.