20 Fun and Interesting Facts About Ecuador
Today’s fun facts about Ecuador showcase this amazing country it is and how much it has to offer.
Ecuador has a rich culture that values nature. Even though it’s a relatively small country, it has amazing landmarks including part of the Andes Mountain Range, coastal sites, diverse cuisine, the Amazon jungle, and much more!
Keep reading to fuel your wanderlust and add Ecuador to your travel list. It’s an impressive nation full of wonder and stunning animals. Let’s dive into 20 interesting facts about Ecuador.
20 Fun Facts About Ecuador
These intriguing facts about Ecuador will make you want to visit as soon as possible!
See also: A Traveler’s Guide to Ecuador: Culture, History, and Language
1. Peru and Spain Ruled Ecuador
Ecuador was ruled by Peru for 300 years and then by the Spaniards. They brought their religion, architecture, and language to the region. Ecuador became independent in 1822, but the Spanish influence is strong.
2. Bolivar United Ecuador with Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama
Simon Bolivar, also known as El Libertador (the liberator), united Ecuador with the territories now known as Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. Together they were called La Gran Colombia (Great Colombia) from 1819 to 1830.
3. The 1st and 2nd UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in Ecuador
The first and second UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world are in Ecuador. The famous Galápagos Islands is the first site, and the city of Quito is the second. Both were named World Heritage Sites at the inaugural conference in 1978.
4. Ecuador Contains Four Unique Geographic Regions
Ecuador’s i four unique geographic regions contribute to the country’s economy in different ways. They are:
- the mountain highlands, La Sierra
- the coastal lowlands, La Costa
- the Galápagos Islands, La Región Insular
- the eastern jungle lowlands, La Amazonia o El Oriente (the east)
5. Families Form In Two Different Ways
Another Ecuador interesting fact is that families can be formed in more than one way. You have the more traditional way, which is a civil marriage where two people are legally bound.
The second is a “free union” in which a couple comes together to form a family without getting officially married. Both unions are granted the same duties and rights.
6. It’s Home to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City)
An Ecuador fun fact is that it’s the only nation in Latin America where you can be in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere simultaneously. The Middle of the World City has a marked line where you can stand with one foot in the Southern Hemisphere and the other in the Northern Hemisphere. This Ecuadorian landmark is 16 mi (26 km) north of Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
7. The Closest Country to Space is Ecuador
Since Earth is not a perfect sphere and due to its rotation, it bulges towards the equator. That’s why Ecuador is the closest county to space in the world.
The equator is farther from the center of the Earth and closer to space. The bulge is so big that Mount Chimborazo is actually 1.5 mi (2.41 km) taller than Mount Everest.
8. Ecuador Maintains a Scientific Research Station in Antarctica
The Antarctic Treaty was made between 12 scientifically active countries in Antarctica in 1958. It has continued to grow, and the treaty now protects 54 countries. Ecuador is one of them and the country maintains its own scientific research facility in Antarctica.
9. Ecuador Was the First Nation to Give Nature Constitutional Rights
Another Ecuador interesting fact is that it was the first nation to declare that nature should have constitutional rights. Ecuador recognized in 2008 that nature has the right to exist, persist, and regenerate its vital cycles without human intervention. Pachamama (Mother Earth to many indigenous tribes from Ecuador) has rights. Ecuador serves as an example of how we all can help the planet and fight for nature’s rights.
10. The Galapagos Islands Have Over 9,000 Different Species
With its collection of 20 islands and islets, the Galapagos Islands is definitely Ecuador’s main attraction. It is one of the most unique destinations in the world with more than 9,000 species.
Thanks to the laws in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are protected and cherished by locals and visitors from all over the world.
Handpicked for you: What To Expect When You Travel to the Galápagos From Ecuador
11. Darwin Formulated the Theory of Evolution in the Galapagos Islands
Charles Darwin spent 5 weeks at the Galapagos Islands during his voyage on the HMS Beagle. There, Darwin observed the flora and fauna and noticed differences in local birds’ beaks depending on their environment and the food that they consumed. Darwin used these findings as a basis for his theory of evolution he presented in On the Origin of the Species.
12. Ecuador Has the World’s Biggest Tortoise
The Galápagos tortoise is a signature animal in the Galapagos Islands and the biggest living species of tortoise in the world. The Galápagos tortoise weighs more than 900 lbs (408 kilos) and grows up to 5 ft (1.5 m) tall.
Fifteen tortoise species have been identified on the islands. Sadly, four of those species have gone extinct and many others are endangered.
13. The Cinchona Tree Is the National Tree of Ecuador
Another Ecuador fun fact is that its unique national tree is a flowering plant with more than 20 varieties. It can reach up to 50 ft and the bark produces quinine, which is the first known medicine for malaria.
Many Ecuadorians believe that this healing tree also treats bloating, leg cramps, and stomach problems.
14. The Andean Condor Is the National Animal of Ecuador
Ecuador’s national bird, the Andean condor, belongs to the vulture family and has been the country’s national animal since 1958. It has an average weight of 15.4 lbs (7 kilos) and a wingspan of 10 ft (3 m).
They’re the largest flying bird and definitely a sight to see. If you go to the Andes, look out for this magnificent bird.
15. Ecuador Only Has Two Seasons
Ecuador only has summer and winter. The winter season is from June to September and the summer is from October to May.
Most of Ecuador is located in the southern part of the hemisphere, which is why it’s a bit colder than people expect in the winter. The winters are dry and cold while the summers are warm and humid.
16. Snow Seldom Falls in Ecuador
Since the winters in Ecuador are colder than people expect, it does snow there on occasion. Even though it’s not common for it to snow in Ecuador, the snowy peaks of Chimborazo are the exception which are covered in snow throughout the year.
17. Mount Chimborazo is the Highest Point in Ecuador
Speaking of Mount Chimborazo, an Ecuador fun fact that you might not know is that Mount Chimborazo is the highest mountain in all of Ecuador. Peaking at 20,548 feet (6,263 meters), it’s only a little shorter than Mount Everest.
18. The Panama Hat Is Actually Made in Ecuador
The famous Panama Hat—or Ecuadorian Hat, as they call it in Ecuador—is actually made in Ecuador. Coastal craftsmen wove straw hats for workers on the Panama Canal to protect them from the sun. After the Panama Canal was built, they were still popular among workers and tourists.
19. The Official Currency of Ecuador Is the US Dollar
Throughout its history, waves of immigration and invading forces that bring their own cultural influences have strongly influenced Ecuador.
Initially, the country only had indigenous tribes but when the Spanish invaded in the 1500s, Ecuador received immigrants from Italy and the United States. The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar.
20. Ecuador is the World’s Biggest Exporter of Bananas
While several Latin American countries are banana exporters, Ecuador is the king! Ecuador exports 25% of the world’s total banana exports.
Travel to Ecuador and Practice Spanish
Check out this documentary in Spanish about traveling by train in Ecuador and prepare for your trip to this mesmerizing country. What’s amazing about traveling to South America is getting to know the culture and history of each unique country. Ecuadorian people love and protect their land, and you feel that energy when you’re there.
Traveling to practice your Spanish is the best investment. Plus, in the United States alone, there are approximately 53 million people who speak Spanish. The U.S. is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. According to CNN, there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US who speak Spanish in their homes.
Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy before your trip to Ecuador and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Check out our flexible programs and affordable prices to choose which one is best for you!
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