Ecuador is a small but beautiful country in South America. It is often underrated but there are numerous fun facts about Ecuador that makes it an attractive destination.
As one of the most stunning and biodiverse countries in the world, Ecuador has plenty to offer; beyond its culture and rich history. These are some of the interesting Ecuadorian facts that are worth knowing before you even visit.
Common Facts About Ecuador
Ecuador is popularly known as the “Republic of the Equator” because it is actually located on the equator. In fact, the Mitad del Mundo is one of the famous landmarks in Ecuador.
It is predominantly a Spanish-speaking country with an approximate population of 17.2 million.
Ecuador boasts some of the world’s mega volcanoes. It has a mega-diverse cultural history and prides itself as one of the most attractive destinations in the world. There are several facts about Ecuador that can easily move the heart.
Historical Facts About Ecuador
It Was Part Of The Inca Empire
This is probably an unsurprising fact about Ecuador given its proximity to Peru.
Though the Inca Empire have their home base mainly in Peru, they did try to expand and cover other places, including Ecuador. In 1463 Ecuador became part of the Inca Empire. The habitats were developed to some extent, and they were not interested in outsiders ruling them.
But as you’d expect, the indigenous people didn’t go down without a fight. It led to many years of fighting.
The First Female President Was Ecuadorian
This is two histories wrapped in one. Although not voted into office by election, Rosalie Arteaga made history by being the first-ever female president.
It was, however, short-lived as her term lasted two days. After the election of Abdala Bucaram in 1996, she was installed as Vice-president.
On the 6th of February 1997, Abdala was removed from office by Ecuador’s Congress. There was a dispute about who should assume the president’s office. In the end, Congress leader Fabian Alarcon was sworn in on the 6th of February.
Arteaga insisted she was next in line, considering she was the Vice-president. She was sworn into office on the 9th of February. However, by the 11th, Alarcon gained the support of congress in collaboration with the army, leading to Arteaga’s resignation.
Areteage ran for office again in 1998 but only acquired just 3% of the vote.
A Member Of The Gran Colombia
Between 1822 and 1830, Ecuador was part of the Gran Colombia Nation, which included Colombia and Venezuela. After gaining independence from Spain, Ecuador joined the Gran Colombia. The project lasted only a short time and soon fell apart. Then in 1830, Ecuador became a republic.
Border Conflict With Peru
Peru and Ecuador had continuous clashes for decades as they couldn’t settle where the border between the two countries was to be drawn.
The first major fight broke out in 1941, and the Rio Protocol ended it. Another fight broke out 40 years later in 1981; before the final one broke out 14 years later in 1995. In 1999 the conflict ended, and there was finally a demarcation.
One odd but interesting fact about Ecuador is that it has a perpetual lease of one square kilometer of Peru, where they have a military base. It’s a Peruvian territory but run by Ecuador.
Houses Some Of The Best Colonial Architecture In The Americas
Ecuador’s architecture has seen a lot of influence for decades, especially in the larger cities. In the center of the capital city, Quito, is “The Old Town .”
This is one of the first Ecuador sites protected by UNESCO, along with the Galapagos. It was built in the 16th century, and it made the ruins of an Incan City its foundation.
The Old Town has survived several earthquakes and has some of Latin America’s best-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture. This city is a beautiful must-visit as it has many indigenous elements with some European inputs.
Successive Military Dictatorship From 1972 To 1979
Five-time president Velasco Ibarra was first overthrown in 1972 by General Guillermo Rodriguez through a military coup.
Then in 1976, a military junta led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda took place, overthrowing the previous military junta. Before the next junta, a colonel proposed a democratic election which was welcomed.
Jaime Roldos Aguilera won the election. The election was won with the most vote recorded in any Ecuadorian election ever.
Highest Capital City
Quito sits comfortably at about 2,820 meters above sea level. This makes Ecuador’s capital city the highest in the world. Quito was also the first designated world cultural heritage site named by UNESCO in 1978.
If you are visiting from a low-altitude area, you might feel some breathlessness walking around as it takes time for your body to adjust to a higher altitude.
Facts About Ecuador For Tourists
Biodiversity In Yasuni Park
The Yasuni park in Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. The park is located deep in Ecuador’s Amazon. The area features many plant and animal species unique only to Ecuador.
An impressive Ecuador fact is that it has the most tree species, bat species, and amphibians. The country is home to reptiles and small animals like the pocket monkeys and Jaguarundi-small lions unique to the Americas.
In contrast, there are also large animals and big cats, like the jaguar. One of the most interesting facts about Ecuador is that it has the largest snake in the world – the Green Anaconda.
Another noteworthy point is that Yasuni park has a huge amount of crude oil. But In 2007, Rafael Correa, the president at the time, pledged to protect the park and its resources; therefore, the oil remains untapped.
Even Daylight Hours
Being on the equator, the sunrise and sunset in Ecuador remain virtually the same all year round. Sun rises at exactly 6 am and sets at exactly 6 pm. Equal hours of daylight and night.
The Equator Runs Through Ecuador
Here’s one of those fun Ecuador facts you may not have known. Interestingly this is an obvious geographical fact about Ecuador. The equator splits the country in two. This reflects in its name. Republica del Ecuador translates as “Republic of the Equator.”
Named After a Geographic Feature
That said, it probably comes as no surprise that Ecuador means equator in Spanish. Since the equator runs through it; therefore, it is named after the equator.
The official name Republica del Ecuador means”The Republic of the Equator .”It is the only country named after a geographical feature.
Outside the capital city of Quito, there is a monument called Mitad del Mundo, meaning “Middle of the World.” It marks the equatorial line. Interestingly, Mitad del Mundo is barely 240 meters from the actual equator and is worth visiting.
There is a museum in the area, and some market-style shops and restaurants are also there to explore. You can also climb the monument’s peak and get a good view of the surrounding landscape. Another interactive museum to mark the “real” equator is just down the road.
The Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador. These amazing Islands are part of this small beautiful Andean nation. The islands are located a little over 1000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian Government designated a surprising 98% of the islands as National Parks in 1959. These are some of the treasured and famous landmarks in Ecuador.
Home Of Birds
Certainly one of the more exciting facts about Ecuador for bird lovers and watchers. Ecuador has about 1,638 species of birds.
Interestingly that is a whopping 15% of all known bird species worldwide. In the world, Ecuador has the highest count of bird species per square feet/meter.
Pinky Summer In Quito
An interesting fact about Ecuador is that during summer, it has a beautiful pink arial view. Wondering why? Well, Quito has beautiful trees called arupos. All year round, these trees are white except during the summer. Then their foliage changes from white to a beautiful shade of pink.
Ecuador is not a North American country but still uses the American Dollar. That has been the country’s official currency since 2000. When you decide to travel from the States, there’s no need to worry about exchange rates or swapping currencies.
Cultural Fun Facts About Ecuador
Ecuador Ethnicity and Languages
The ethnic group in Ecuador includes 71% Mestizo (mixed white and indigenous), 7.4% Moutubio (coastal Mestizo),7.2% Black, 7.0% indigenous, 6.1% white, and others are 0.4. But being colonized by the Spanish, the official language in Ecuador is Spanish.
Beyond Spanish, languages like Quechua (Kichwa) and Shuar are also very common in Ecuador. Other languages include Tetete, Achuar-shiwiar, and Colorado. More than 2 million people speak Amerindian languages in Ecuador.
Most Important Date In Ecuador
10th of August 1809, Ecuador declared independence. But it was in 1840 that it got recognized by Spain. It is a national holiday in Ecuador, and it is widely celebrated all over the country.
The significance of the date is so strong that many streets, plazas, and parks in major Ecuadorian cities are named after this date.
Everything Gets Better With Chocolate
It is safe to say chocolate is part of Ecuador’s culture. That’s a cultural fact about Ecuador that you probably didn’t know. For many, chocolate is indispensable. It’s no secret that cacao is grown in South and Central America, so their history with cacao is deep.
In fact, in the past, these regions have exploited cacao for its anti-inflammatory properties. Who knows? Ecuador could be the originator of cacao. Chocolate has been consumed there for over 5000 years.
One cultural fact about many South American countries is that people are polite and passionate; Ecuador is no different. It seems to be a Latin American thing.
Men and women do have different greeting styles. Women pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder while the men shake hands. Some women kiss on the right cheek, while men embrace each other and pat themselves on the back while doing so.
Ecuador Grows Bananas For Fruit
Ecuador is the world’s largest banana exporter. Beyond supplying this yummy yellow fruit, banana is part of Ecuador’s Culture. It is indispensable in the Ecuadorian diet and cuisine.
If you think one type of banana is enough. well, Ecuadorians don’t think that way. One of the most fascinating food facts about Ecuador is that they have about 300 types of bananas in Ecuador.
Roses In Ecuador
The rose is practically the national flower of the Ecuadorians. There are about 25,000 species of plants in Ecuador, and at least thousands of other beautiful flowers. The trophy-winning flower is the rose; Ecuadorians love roses.
Ecuador Distinct Regions
There are 4 distinct regions in Ecuador. The Amazon, The Coasts, The Mountains, and The Galapagos Islands. One interesting fact about Ecuador is that all its regions have distinct cultures. Their food and clothes can also vary.
In fact, in certain Ecuadorian regions, they speak different languages. Though most of their cultural heritage depends on the materials they have available. Also, the way the community determines to use them defines their culture.
Practically in coastal regions, their food is heavily coconut and fish-based. The mountain region’s food is more likely to be cuy (Guniea pig) and corn.
Over the years, the difference in culture has gradually decreased due to the availability of good transport between the mountains and the coast. They easily share goods and have a more standardized language (Spanish).
Other Interesting Facts About Ecuador
No More Death Penalty
Ecuador has quite the list of being the first in many things. In the 20th century, Ecuador was the first to abolish the death penalty.
Ecuador Loves Their Empanadas
Empanadas are a type of food that’s popular all over the world. But Ecuador has its own version. Ecuadorian empanadas are usually filled with cheese, beef, and onions. Be sure to save plenty of stomach space for delicious Ecuadorian food while visiting the country.
Ecuador’s Flag Is Unique
The flag of the Republic of Ecuador is made up of three horizontal stripes in the colors yellow, blue, and red. The origin of these colors can be traced back to Inca culture.
The yellow stripe symbolizes the soil and abundance in harvest, while the blue stands for the skies and ocean currents of South America, and the red is a reminder of the bloodshed during Ecuador’s fight for freedom and independence.
The World’s Orchid Capital
There are 4,250 species of orchid in Ecuador. Of all those species, 1,301 are endemic. This makes Ecuador the country with the most species of orchid in the world.
Bank Accounts For Youths
There are many interesting facts about Ecuador, but here’s one that stands out. Of all the adults in Ecuador, approximately 40% don’t own a bank account. Interesting right? Where do they save their funds? You may have to take a trip to this small south American country to find out for yourself.
Ecuador has a specie of orchid that weirdly evolves to have a similar look to the face of a monkey. Some have suggested that the orchid smells more like orange in full bloom. These species of orchid (Draculia Simia) are mostly found in the cloud forests of Ecuador, many meters above sea level.
Home Of The Best Panama Hat
There is no better place to get a good Panama hat than in Ecuador. In Ecuador, these beautiful woven hats are made from toquilla palm plants; they are strong and durable. The Panama hat is part of the culture in Ecuador.
In the mid-60s, it was traditionally worn by the Andean culture. But in recent times, these hats are popular worldwide and indispensable in the fashion world.
Biodiverse And Megadiverse
One thing Ecuador is known for is its extensive collection of flora and fauna. Beyond that, the country is also famous for its biodiversity per square kilometer in the world. Also, Ecuador is one of the 17 mega-diverse countries in the world.
Small But Beautiful
Ecuador is a member of the Andean States, which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. Of all these countries, Ecuador is the smallest but one of the most beautiful.
Houses Seven Of The World’s Mega Volcanoes
That’s accurate; like Yellowstone National Park, Ecuador’s Chalupas Volcano has an immense caldera spread about 16km throughout the Cotopaxi National Park.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Ecuador
Despite its smaller geographic size, there are countless interesting facts about Ecuador. If you’re looking for an adventure, consider visiting this beautiful nation in South America.
You’ll be able to experience its diverse culture and stunning landscapes. And who knows, maybe you’ll even discover more fascinating facts about Ecuador through your journey.