Useful travel information on Ecuador, type of currency, climate, things to bring, different areas to visit and where to stay.
 
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The Republic of Ecuador, is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America (with Chile) that do not have a border with Brazil. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 965 kilometres (600 mi) west of the mainland. Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of 256,371 square kilometres (98,985 sq mi). Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic centre in Latin America. The country's largest city is Guayaquil. The historic centre of Cuenca, the third largest city of this country, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, for being an outstanding example of a planned inland Spanish style colonial city in the Americas. Ecuador is a medium-income country with an HDI score of 0.807 (2007), and about 38.3% of the people living below the poverty line. Ecuador is also home—despite its size—to a great variety of species, many of them endemic, like those of the Galápagos islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the top eighteen megadiverse countries in the world. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.

POLITICS OF ECUADOR

Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected President, for a four year term. Its current president Rafael Correa, exercises his power from the presidential Palacio de Carondelet in Quito.

The executive branch includes 25 ministries. Provincial governors and councilors (mayors, aldermen, and parish boards) are directly elected. The National Congress of Ecuador meets throughout the year except for recesses in July and December. There are 69 seven-member congressional committees. Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Congress for indefinite terms.

Ecuador has often placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to international issues. Ecuador is a member of the United Nations (and most of its specialized agencies) and a member of many regional groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Economic System, the Latin American Energy Organization, the Latin American Integration Association, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Andean Community of Nations.

GEOGRAPHY OF ECUADOR

Ecuador has three main geographic regions, plus an insular region in the Pacific Ocean:

Ecuador's capital is Quito, which is in the province of Pichincha in the Sierra region. Its largest city is Guayaquil, in the Guayas Province. Cotopaxi, which is just south of Quito, features one of the world's highest active volcanoes. The top of Mount Chimborazo (6,310-m above sea level) is considered to be the most distant point from the center of the earth, given the ovoidal shape of the planet (wider at the equator).

RELIGION IN ECUADOR

Approximately 95% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic, and 4% are Protestants. In the rural parts of Ecuador, indigenous beliefs and Catholicism are sometimes syncretized. Most festivals and annual parades are based on religious celebrations, many incorporating a mixture of rites and icons.

The Jewish community of Ecuador, with domicile in Quito, has about 500 members. However, this number is decreasing because young people are emigrating to study in Israel or elsewhere abroad and not returning. There are some small percentages of Eastern Orthodox Christians, indigenous religions, Muslims, Buddhists and Bahá'í. Ecuador also has a rapidly growing number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

POPULATION DENSITY

The majority of Ecuadorians live in the central provinces inland in the Andes mountains, or along the Pacific coast. The tropical forest region to the east of the mountains (El Oriente) remains sparsely populated and contains only about three percent of the population

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN ECUADOR

Ecuador is a plurinational state. In addition to whites, blacks, and mestizos, many Ecuadorians belong to indigenous nations, principally: