As a lot of people seem to think I’m going to Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina or Columbia I feel I need to supply a beginners’ guide to Ecuador.

– It’s in South America, next country down from Columbia (North West South America) and borders to the South and East with Peru click on the map below . It’s about the size of Italy.

Map of South America

– Ecuador is split into 3 vertical strips. Westerly strip is the coastal area, middle strip is the ‘Sierra’ (mountains and general high ground – this is where I’ll be), and the ‘Oriente’ which is rainforest which feeds the Amazon basin on the east coast of South America.

Map of Ecuador, showing three different regions

– Borders are dodgy, Columbia for obvious reasons, Peru because they keep fighting on where to draw the line. I will be avoiding these places.

It’s high up, think thin air, no running, hearts work hard here. The airport in Quito is 2,800 meters high. Although the highest Volcano in Ecuador is 5,897 meters. To give you some context Ben Nevis (highest peak in the UK) is only 1,343 meters above sea level and Pen-y-ghent which some of you may have climbed is only 693 meters high.

– the currency as of 6 years ago is the US dollar. It was the ‘Sucre’ – some important bod responsible for the independece of Ecuador called Mariscal Sucre, seems to have everything named after him in Ecuador, including the Airport, a University and area in Quito city that I’ll be staying in. A very good and brief history of Ecuador (including Mr Sucre) is here.

– They speak Spanish and a native language which I can’t pronounce called Quechua.

Ecuadorians look rather tanned and short. Am not expecting to meet my cowboy ‘Juan’ and live happily ever after.

– The weather is tropical along the coast, becoming cooler inland (where I’ll be) at higher elevations. So around (22-25 degrees), rainy (especially in the afternoons) and cold (at altitude and at night). So everything really. A bit like here with more extremes.

– There are lots of volcanoes, as Ecuador is on something known as the ‘ring of fire’. See little map below, and my scrappy marking of where Ecuador is (roughly).

Ring of fire - Ecuador is circled

– The Galapagos Islands are about 3 hours on a plane West into the Pacific Ocean.

– That’s all for now… but I’ll try and add to this again later on.





5 Responses to “So where’s Ecuador then?”

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