• Capital City: Quito (Metro Area Population: 2 million)
• Location and Borders: Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
• Administrative Divisions: 22 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe
• Area: Total: 283,560 sq km
Land: 276,840 sq km
Water: 6,720 sq km
• Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
• Population: 13,756,000
• Demographic Growth Rate: 1.56%
• Industries: textiles, petroleum, food processing, wood products, chemicals
• Languages: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
• Government System: republic
Regions of Ecuador
Ecuador is split into three distinct regions: the coast, the sierra, and the orient. The coast and the orient are actually split down the middle by the Andes sierra region which runs right down the middle of the country from north to south.
The portion running along the coastline of the Ecuador is rich with beaches and beach resorts as well as various fishing villages and agricultural areas. In addition to the beaches, the vegetation in the is characterized by marshes and mangrove forests. The beaches are scattered with palms and gorgeous sands and have year round warm waters that are great for swimming. The northern region of the coast is characterized as much hotter and humid with much more rain the southern region. This region is home to a culture with African roots which appears in much of the delicious food and entertaining music and dance.
Most known for its incredible volcanoes, the sierra highlands region is rich biodiverse region with lush wildlife, cloud forests, thermal baths, and unparalleled landscapes. These natural characteristics as well as the region's strong culture has made the highlands region one of the most popular and visited places by tourists traveling to Ecuador.
Located east of the Andes mountain range in Ecuador is the region known as the oriente. This area is made up of tropical rainforests with strong rivers fed by the melting snow from the surrounding volcanoes and high reaching mountains. These tropical characteristics also make this region very biodiverse with many different species of plants and wildlife. This region is not as traveled to by tourists because of its lack of entry points though it is nonetheless an excellent destination to partake in the various activities and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings.
Of Ecuador's more than 28 million hectares, over one quarter is designated protected which is roughly 5% more than other South American countries. Ecuador is home to 135 different nature reserves, wilderness areas, and national parks as well as 8 internationally important wetlands and 3 biosphere reserves. Also, there are over 19,300 different plant species as well as 640 different bird species. The Ecuadorian wilderness also houses some 300 different species of mammals and nearly 1,100 species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Clearly, Ecuador is a truly biodiverse regions with various regions and ecosystems worth visiting during your upcoming trip to Ecuador.