LocationEcuador islocated on theEquator in thenorthwest ofSouth America.The geography of itsfour regions is verydiverse: PacificCoast, Andes,Amazon andGalapagos Islands.
LanguageThe main spoken language in Ecuador isSpanish (94% of the population). Languages ofofficial use in native communities includeQuichua, Shuar, and 11 other languages.
CultureEcuadors mainstream culture isdefined by its Hispanic mestizomajority, and like their ancestry, itis traditionally of Spanish heritage,influenced in different degrees byAmerindian traditions, and insome cases by African elements.
CuisineIn the highland region, pork, chicken,beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popularand are served with a variety of grains(especially rice and corn) or potatoes.In the coastal region, seafood isvery popular, with fish, shrimp andceviche being key parts of the diet.In the Amazon region, a dietarystaple is the yuca, elsewhere calledcassava. Many fruits are availablein this region, including bananas,tree grapes, and peach palms.
ReligionSince the Spanishcolonization,Ecuador becamea Roman Catholiccountry. TheCatholic Churchhad and still hasan important placein the Ecuadoriangovernment andsociety.
ClimateThe Coast, and the Amazonjungle region have tropicalweather with temperaturesaveraging about 30°C, withoccasional highs around 40°Cand lows of 20°C.Galapagos Islands experiencetemperatures ranging from20°C to 35°C .Ecuador does not haveseasons. In Quito, and the restof the Andean highlands, theweather tends to be cool,though it varies significantly in asingle 24 hour period.Temperature may rise to 24°Cat noon, and drop to 10°C orless at night.
BiodiversityIn addition to themainland, Ecuadorowns the GalápagosIslands, for which thecountry is best known.Ecuador is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the worldaccording to Conservation International, and it has themost biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation.
CurrencyEcuadors monetary unit wasthe SUCRE but it wascirculating until the beginningof 2000.After the financial banking crisis of1999, the US dollar became legaltender in Ecuador until now.
EconomyIn the agricultural sector, Ecuador is amajor exporter of bananas (first placeworldwide in production and export),flowers, and the eighth largest producerof cocoa.
Tips for TravelersVISAS: Citizens of most countries can staya maximum of 90 days without a visa.HEALTH RISKS: Dengue fever, hepatitis,malaria, typhoid, and a minor risk ofcholera, rabies and diphtheria. Get ayellow fever vaccination if you plan to visitthe rainforests of the Amazon Jungle.TOURISM: http://visitaguayaquil.com/http://www.quito-turismo.gob.ec/http://www.parquehistorico.gob.ec/http://www.turismo.gob.ec/