Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Columbia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, about 620 miles west of the mainland.
Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970's for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in South America. The country's largest city is Guayaquil. The historic center of Cuenca, the third largest city in the 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's diversity of people and culture is distinguished by four geographic regions known as la Costa, being the coast; la Sierra is the Andes mountain range and highlands; el Oriente is considered the tropical rainforest of the Amazon region. The Region Insular is an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site, namely the Galapagos Islands, which are said to be the location of Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The country displays a tropical climate, but becomes cooler as you go further inland and to higher elevations.
The capital, Quito houses the Chief of State and the Head of Government, which are both represented by the President of Ecuador. The country's government type is considered to be a republic. As a result of an ongoing economic crisis the country adopted the U.S. dollar, to alleviate the country's financial problems. Ecuador is heavily dependent on its petroleum sector, which is affected by natural disasters and decline in world prices.
Ecuador's culture is fused with European, Amerindian, and African influences. The Ecuadorian people value a nuclear family, with extended family members. The cuisine is very diverse due to the regionalism with a variety of meals consisting of pork, chicken, beef, and a selection of seafood at the coasts. As with many Latin American countries, Ecuador enjoys soccer, which is their national sport.
Per-capita GDP: $ 8600
Size: 283,561 km2
Time Zone: (GMT - 05:00 hours) Eastern Time (US & Canada)