Chimborazo 6.310 m
Illiniza 5.248 m
Tungurahua 5.023 m
Cotacachi 4.944 m
Altar 5.320 m
Cotopaxi 5.897 m
Cayambe 5.790 m
Antisana 5.758 m
GENERAL INFORMATION - ECUADOR
Population: Nearly 12 Million - Surface: 256.370 km2
Language: The official languages are Spanish, Quichua, and other local dialects.
Government: Republic divided into 22 provinces. The president is elected for a period of 4 years.
Religion: 95% catholic
Boundaries: Colombia to the North; Peru to the Southeast; and the Pacific Ocean to the West
Fauna: Ecuador is home to 8 percent of the world’s animal species and 18 percent of the planet’s birds. Around 3,800 species of vertebrates have been identified in Ecuador as well as 1,550 species of mammals, 350 reptile species, 375 species of amphibians, 800 fresh water fish species, and 450 salt water fish species. Ecuador is also home to 15 percent of the world’s endemic bird species. Moreover, there are more than a million species of insects and 4,500 species of butterflies that live in Ecuador.
Flora: Ecuador is home to ten percent of the world’s plant species, the majority of which grow in the northeastern Amazon, where an estimated 10,000 species thrive. The diversity of the climate here has given rise to more than 25,000 species of trees. Moreover, the Andes is home to an estimated 8,200 plant and vegetable species. In the orchid family alone, 2,725 species have been identified in the area. In the Galapagos, there are about 600 native species and 250 more which were introduced by man. Three of the twelve key biodiversity zones identified by the naturalist Norman Myers can be found on the Ecuadorian mainland.
Airports: Twelve cities have their airports and are served by local air companies. Costs vary depending in distance and service. The longest flight inside Ecuador may take 45 minutes, with the exception of the Galapagos Islands which may take like an hour and a half.
Airport Tax: The tax rate on international flights is US$ 25,- dollars to be paid at the airport.
Climate: Due to geographic differences in altitude and the climatic effects of the Pacific Ocean, the Amazon, and the Andes, the various regions and sub regions of Ecuador have very different climates and microclimates. The Pacific coast has a rainy season between December and May and a dry one from June to November. The temperature oscillates between 23 and 26 degrees centigrade. The Highlands, on the other hand, has a rainy, cold climate from November to April and a dry one from May to October. The temperature here is between 13 and 18 degrees centigrade. In the Amazon, the climate is rainy and humid between January and September, with temperatures between 23 and 36 degrees centigrade, and it is dry between October and December. The Galapagos has a temperate climate with temperatures ranging between 22 and 32 degrees centigrade.
Clothing: In Guayaquil, the Coast and the Oriente, you will need summer clothing all year around; however, in Quito and the Sierra in general, this is recommended only from May to August. For the rest of the year, you will need warm clothing and a raincoat.
Communication: Big cities and towns have a good telephonic service. You can find public phones in most of the public buildings in Quito, Guayaquil and the capital cities in each province. There are hundreds of "coffee-nets" in the commercial and touristic areas that offer net2phone, email, internet and fax services at very reasonable prices.
Currency: The Ecuadorian currency is US$. In big cities you may purchase with credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Master-card, Diners.
Documents - Passports: Always carry your passport while traveling in Ecuador. Police checks are semi-frequent and it may be a problem if you are caught without your documents. However, if you are staying in Quito, Guayaquil or another large city for an extended period, it is advisable that you carry only a copy of your passport. Most foreign embassies provide their citizens with an "official" copy of their passport that is recognized by Ecuadorian law.
Documents required: If you wish to stay for three months, you need a six-month visa. The country issues a ninety-day permit, which can be renewed for the same period of time upon request. If you wish to stay longer, you need an appropriate visa.
Electrical current: 110v. 60 Hz plugs. Take the appropriate adapter before you travel.
Transportation in Ecuador: Getting around Ecuador and its cities is pretty easy, however, you should know some tips for traveling in a fast and safe way.
Taxis: Cabs are also a very popular way to move around in big cities. The cost depends on the taximeter.
Buses to provinces: You may get anywhere in the Country just by taking one or two buses. Costs may vary due to distance and the quality of service. There are some express buses which means that they would not stop in any town until you get to your destination. Many transport companies have new units, with bathroom, TV and comfortable chairs. Some even serve some snacks during your travel.
Car rental: The following car rental com-panies are available: Avis, Budget, Rent-A-Car, Hertz.
Safety in Ecuador: Ecuador is considered one of the safer countries in the Andean Region, however, it is always a good idea to be cautious during your visit. Ecuador's urban centers, especially Quito and Guayaquil, are generally more dangerous than the countryside. The best way to prevent crime is using your common sense and reduce the likelihood of being a crime victim by following a few basic precautions:
Stores: Stores and shops in general are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 p.m. Many small stores, however, stay open longer until 10 p.m. even Saturdays and Sundays.
Time zone: Commensurate with middle European countries, Ecuador has 7 hours less during summer and 6 during winter. The Galápagos Islands have one hour less than continent Ecuador.
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