Ecuador is a small country (compared with its neighbours) and occupies an area of 283 560sq.km. It is located in the western parts of South America. In the north and north-east it borders with Colombia and on the south and south-east – with Peru. In the west, Ecuador has a wide outlet to the Pacific Ocean. Ecuador owns some islands in the Pacific. The most famous is the island chain of Galapagos. It is popular with its unique wildlife. These islands are located about 930km west of the coast of Ecuador.
One of the major characteristics of the geographic occupation of Ecuador is that through the country passes the equator. Indeed, it even gave its name to this country – Ecuador. From the north to the south through the territory of the country passes the longest mountain range on the planet – The Andes. It divides the country in two very different parts. Here, in the Andes you can find the highest peak of Ecuador – Mount Chimborazo, which rises to 6266m. In the west of the Andes and in the mountain range is concentrated the biggest part of the population. The climate in the western parts of the country is drier in comparison with the eastern parts. In the east of the Andes is spread the lush, evergreen and impenetrable equatorial rainforest of Amazonia, which is world famous with its incredible variety of animal and plant species.
The Ecuador’s climate is equatorial, as the zero-latitude passes through the country. Despite of this fact, on the territory of Ecuador there are great differences in the climate. For example, on the Galapagos islands the climate is relatively cool and dry for these latitudes. Here, there is a dry season that lasts only three months – October, November and December. And although the dry up is not typical for the equatorial regions, it occurs here, even if for a short period of time. In the other part of the year there are enough heavy rains, which to keep the moister-loving island vegetation in good form. The second atypical feature for the equator is the summer cooling from June to September, when the daytime temperatures rarely exceed 23°C. This is because of the influence of the changing seasonal ocean currents in the Pacific.
During the rest of the year the temperatures run between 25 and 32 degrees, which makes the climate of the Galapagos Islands to be light and pleasant all year around. In the mainland of Ecuador the climate is slightly different. The precipitation as a whole are abundant everywhere, but in the eastern part of the country prevail. Across the country grow moister-loving plants. The rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. It can rain in any part of the day and throughout the year. Usually, during the day the temperatures run between 25 and 30°C and with no changes during the year. The sky is usually partly cloudy. Here you can find amazing wildlife, but maybe the most impressive creature here is the mysterious cat – the Jaguar. The Ecuador’s jungle is really full of wildlife – birds, reptiles, snakes, frogs, mammals and thousands and thousands of insects. The temperatures are low only in the higher parts of the mountains.
The economy of Ecuador is developing. The country is poor and has a low standard of living. There are great social contrasts. The rich people are very few and these, who live in poverty and poorness are too much. The economy relies mainly to the extraction of minerals such as oil, gold, silver, platinum and so on. Very important for the economy of the country is the agriculture. Ecuador is one of the world biggest exporters of bananas (together by the Philippines). In this country are cultivated also other important export crops as coffee and cocoa. There are great prospects for the developing of the tourist industry, but today the tourists are focused mainly to the Galapagos Islands.
The visitors come here mainly because of the great diversity of animal species, especially iguanas, turtles and birds. The rest of the country is steel seen by the tourists somehow with suspicious, because the foreigners are afraid of the high crime, traditional for the biggest part of the South American countries. When the tourists stay in cities like the capital Quito and the largest city Guayaquil for example, they are warned to do not wear expensive items with them and to avoid some parts of these cities. However, not everywhere is dangerous. In the central parts of the capital Quito the crime is lower and here is the place, where to see interesting architecture, beautiful parks and gardens, shops and so on.
Population. The population of Ecuador is approximately 13 600 000 and that in combination with the comparatively small territory of the country makes it to be the most populous state in South America. Significant part of the population is concentrated in the capital Quito (approx. 1,5 million) and Guayaquil on the Pacific coast (about 2 million). The main part of the population of the country has been formed by the mixing of Spanish settlers with the local Indians, but as a whole, this is one colourful and cosmopolitan country, similar to the biggest part of the Latin American states.
The capital of Ecuador – Quito – is at more than 2800m above the sea level. There is an impressive colonial-style architecture. The beauty of the city is a heritage of the Spanish settlers and because of this reason today here you can feel the spirit of Spain everywhere. The walk on the streets of the city make you feel as you are in the other side of the Atlantic. Although the country is poor, this city combine the best , because it is the capital and business card of Ecuador to the world. Here you can see great variety of old buildings such as churches and cathedrals, but you can see also a lot of modern buildings with different functions. Some of them has built for business and other for living, but they all look neat and tidy. The streets are broad, well maintained and planted with trees and shrubs. In the central part of the city is located the beautiful park La Carolina. Similar to many other large cities, Quito also has its problems, but as a whole everything here is much more regulated than in the other parts of the country.
The climate of Quito is equatorial-mountainous. The temperatures are stable and do not change throughout the year. From January to December the temperatures vary between 18 and 20°C. The significant altitude keep the traditional equatorial heat in a distance from Quito. The days are long and sunny all year around. The night temperatures are more variable. The night temperatures are highest in December and January – about 14-15°C, and lowest in August, when the temperatures can drop to 5°C. This is very smooth and gradual process. After February in every next month the temperatures are around 2 degrees lower in comparison with the previous month and this continue to July and August, when the temperatures are in their minimum. But do not forget – these are night temperatures. In whatever part of the year to visit Quito, probably you will be interested by the daily temperatures and as we sad – the daily temperatures are stable all year around.
The largest city on the territory of Ecuador is Guayaquil. It is situated not far from the Pacific coast, near by the delta of the river Guayas. The biggest part of the city is situated on the west bank of the river. Although to be larger, Guayaquil does not seem to be as rich and orderly as the capital Quito, but in contrast it is much more dangerous. Here you can see what is the economic condition of the country, because Guayaquil does not have the advantages that there is the metropolitan center – Quito. But Guayaquil also has its priority over the capital. The exotic here is great. This is a result of the warmer climate. Here, in contrast to Quito, which is located in higher altitudes, this city is situated just on the sea level. Because of this reason it possess every features of the equatorial climate, such as year-round high temperatures and heavy rains almost every day. But there are also dry season. It occurs during the second half of the year. This feature is typical much more for the subequatorial climate zone, but in this case is happen here, on the equator. The reason is the comparatively lower temperatures of the ocean water around the tropics on the west coast of South America. The vegetation in Guayaquil is very lush and there is a huge variety of flowers and palms, which flourish in the abundance of moisture, heat and sunshine.