Useful travel information on Ecuador, type of currency, climate, things to bring, different areas to visit and where to stay.


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Ecuador Culture

The majority of the Ecuadorian population is mestizo, a mixture of both European and Amerindian ancestry, and much like their ancestry, the national culture is also a blend of these two sources, along with influences from slaves from Africa. 65% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic, although their Christian beliefs are mixed with ancient indigenous customs.

Ecuador can be split up into three parts, geographically; the Costa (Coast Region), the Sierra (Highlands) and El Oriente (the east; which includes The Amazonic Region). The Galapagos Islands, or Archipiélago de Colón also belong to Ecuador.

El Oriente is characterised by rainforest, the sierra by the snow-capped Andes, and the costa by lowlands that are highly fertile and used for agriculture, and for its beaches. The country was rich in history even before the arrival of the Inca. Ecuador was inhabited with numerous civilizations which constructed the ethnic cultural background of Ecuador years before the Incan empire. Many civilization rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Chorre, and the Valdivia which span its existence before any civilization in the Americas. The most notable groups that existed in Ecuador, before, and during the Incan conquest were the Quitus (near present day Quito), the Cañari (in present day Cuenca), and the La Vegas Culture (near Guayaquil). Each civilization developed its own distinguished architecture, pottery, and religious beliefs, while others are under a disputed system of writing by archaeologist, an achievement the Incan did not achieve. After years of fierce resistance the Cañari fell to the Incan expansion, and were assimilated loosely into the Incan empire. The Inca were an advanced society. They originated in Peru, and established a great empire in one century. It dominated Peru and extended as far as Bolivia and central Chile. To communicate they made stone-highways thousands and sent messengers along them. These messengers passed each other records of the empire's status, which are disputed to have been coded in system of knots along a rope. Remarkably, the Canari, Quitus, and Caras were able to hold back Tupac-Yupanqui for years, though they proved less successful against his son, Huayna Capac. After conquering Ecuador, Huayna Capac the of the Inca Empire indoctrinated the tribes to Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still widely spoken in Ecuador. The Cañaris were the strongest, and fierce group in Ecuador to fall, after their collapse, and assimulation, conquest of the north became easier.

In celebration of his victory, Tupac Yupanqui ordered a great city to be built at Tomebamba, near Cuenca called Pumapungo over the ancient Cañari town. When he died in 1526, Huayna Capac divided the empire between his two sons, Atahualpa and Huascar. Atahualpa ruled in the north from Quito, while Huascar ruled in the south from Cuzco. Huascar and Atuahualpa wanted all the empire, the could not share the territory, so an internal war took place. Francisco Pizarro landed in Ecuador in 1532, accompanied by 180 fully armed men, he is mission was to find gold. Several years earlier, Pizarro had made a peaceful visit to the coast, where he heard rumors in Colombia of El Dorado of inland cities which had incredible amounts of gold. This time, he intended to conquer the Incas just as Hernando Cortez did in Mexico--and he couldn't have picked a better time. Atahualpa had only recently won the war against his brother Huascar when Pizarro arrived. Pizarro ambushed the ruler, forced him to collect an enormous ransom, and then executed him. Spanish governors ruled Ecuador for nearly 300 years, first from the viceroyalty of Lima, then later from the viceroyalty of GranColombia. The Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism, colonial architecture, and today's national language. Independence was won in 1822, when the famed South American liberator Simon Bolivar joined Sucre and defeated a Spanish army at the Battle of Pichincha.