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Ecuador
 
Introduction:

Ecuador is situated in South America with Pacific Ocean on one side. The famous Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are about 965 km (about 600 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean. The population of Ecuador is composed of people from Europe, Native America and Africa. Though Mestizos, individuals of mixed European and Native American ancestry are in majority. The largest city is Guayaquil, which is a port along the Pacific Ocean. The capital of Ecuador is Quito, located in the Andes Mountains. In 1978 Quito’s historic center was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Geography: Top

The cordilleras of the Sierra are highest in the north. Many of the peaks are cones of volcanoes, some still active. Cotopaxi (5,897 m/19,347 ft) is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. The Galápagos Islands are a group of rocky, volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. They consist of 13 large and many small islands out of which some of the volcanoes are still active. There is a zone of low plains and hills at the western base of the mountains, about 100 km (60 mi) wide, along the Pacific Ocean. This is called Costa or coastal plain which joins border with Colombia and Peru. The Guayas Valley lies between the Andes and a hilly area that separates the valley from the coast. The Costa covers a little more than one-quarter of the area of Ecuador. The Oriente is crossed by many rivers that flow into the Amazon and is mostly covered by tropical rain forests.

Climate: Top
Ecuador has a diverse climate because of the different altitudes even though it is on equator. The Costa has a tropical humid climate, with daily temperatures of 21°C to 29°C (about 70°F to 85°F). The average temperature at Guayaquil 25°C (79°F), and has 1,000 mm (39 in) rainfall annually, mostly from January to May. Quito, is about 2,850 m (9,350 ft) above sea level and has an average annual temperature of 13°C (55°F). The Andean plateau basins are generally cool.
People and Culture: Top

Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its mestizo majority and, like their ancestry, is a mixture of European and Amerindian influences infused with African elements inherited from enslaved ancestors. Ecuador has a diverse variety of food because of the altitude and associated agricultural conditions. The most popular sport in Ecuador is soccer. Ecuador's aboriginal communities are integrated into mainstream culture to varying degrees, but may also practice their own autochthonous cultures. The people of Ecuador are very friendly and hospitable.

Tourist Visas: Top

Consulate General of Ecuador
151 Bloor Street West,Suite 470
Toronto, ON
M5S 1S4
Tel: (416) 968-2077
Fax: (416) 968-3348

Embassy of Ecuador

316-50 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2
Tel: (613) 563-8206


Money: Top

In March 2000 the government changed the basic unit of currency in Ecuador from the sucre to the United States dollar, with the exchange rate set at 25,000 sucres to the dollar.
Currency & Exchange:
US$, Pound Sterling and Euros are acceptable at most shops, restaurants and hotels. Yet it’s advisable to change at the exchange bureaus or banks only.
Credit and Debit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted with the exception of smaller stores and vendors. Bigger stores and hotels also accept AMEX and Diner’s Card. ATM machines: are found easily all over the major cities and banks. Money can be withdrawn on credit or debit cards. Keep the receipts for your records.

Travelers Cheques: are accepted at banks and moneychangers. There will be a processing fee. Shops and emporiums may also accept traveler’s cheques, but rates might not beat the bank rates.
 
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