Towering volcanoes, lush rainforests, and pristine islands make Ecuador one of the most geologically fascinating countries in the world. But where is Ecuador exactly?
Ecuador is located in the Andean region and is part of the South American continent.
Precise Location Coordinates of Ecuador
The DMS (Degrees, Minutes, Seconds) coordinates for the center of Ecuador are:
- 1° 49′ 52.46” S
- 78° 11′ 0.26” W
The latitude and longitude of Ecuador are:
- Latitude: -1.831239
- Longitude: -78.183406
You can see the location of Ecuador on the world map below:
Ecuador Neighboring Countries
Located in the northwest corner of the South American continent, Ecuador borders two countries: Colombia and Peru. Ecuador’s longest foreign border is shared with Peru, which is 1,529 kilometers (950 mi) long. This border was disputed until the two countries signed an agreement in 1998.
The neighboring countries of Ecuador (EC) are:
Ecuador borders the Pacific Ocean and includes the Galapagos Islands, located about 966 kilometers (600 miles) off the country’s coast.
Ecuador Interesting Facts
- Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is closer to the equator than any other national capital.
- Ecuador’s Yasuni Park is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
- The peak of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point from Earth’s center.
Administrative Divisions of Ecuador
The highest administrative divisions in Ecuador are provinces, of which there are 24. Each of these provinces has its own administrative capital and is further divided into cantons.
There are a total of 221 cantons in Ecuador, and three of these are not part of any province. Cantons are divided into parishes, which are the smallest administrative division used in Ecuador.
Geography of Ecuador
The geography of Ecuador is notable for its diversity. The country’s territory covers a total area of 283,561 square kilometers (109,484 square miles) and can be divided into four major geographical regions: the Pacific Coast, the Andean highlands, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands.
Between the Pacific Ocean and the Andean mountain range lies Ecuador’s coastal region. This area is the most fertile and agriculturally productive in the country, thanks in part to the warm, humid climate. The waters off the coast of Ecuador are rich in marine life, and coastal cities have active fisheries. The largest city in this region is Guayaquil.
The Andes bisect the county from north to south, extending through the borders with Colombia and Peru. This region is where Ecuador’s volcanoes and snow-capped peaks are located, as well as Quito, the capital city.
In the eastern part of Ecuador is the Amazon rainforest, which is known for its amazing biodiversity. There are large national parks in this region, as well as Amerindian untouchable zones where indigenous tribes may live traditionally. There are also large reserves of petroleum in the Amazon, which has sparked conflict between Ecuadorians and oil companies
The Galapagos Islands, located far off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, are famous for helping inspire Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. The archipelago of volcanic islands is inhabited by roughly 30,000 people.
History of Ecuador
Humans have inhabited the area of modern-day Ecuador for thousands of years. Indigenous peoples lived in the area up to 8,000 years ago and were eventually invaded by the Inca Empire, which came to control the area in the early 15th century.
In the following century, the Incas were invaded and conquered by the Spanish. During the following centuries, the area was controlled by the Viceroyalty of Peru and then the Viceroyalty of Granada.
After years of conflict between Criollos (people of Spanish descent born in the viceroyalties) and Peninsulares (Spaniards born in Spain and residing in Latin America), Ecuador claimed independence in 1820 and eventually joined the state of Gran Colombia. This state included the territories of present-day Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama.
Gran Colombia dissolved in 1830, which led to the creation of the first Constitution of Ecuador in the same year. Ecuador was adopted as the country’s name due to its geographical location near the equator.
In the second half of the 19th century, Ecuador’s economy grew and the value of its exports grew tenfold. Around the turn of the 20th century, a railroad was completed between Guayaquil and Quito, and many public schools were established, as were civil rights such as the freedom of speech and civil marriages.
The latter half of the 20th century saw political instability and several military coups, followed by economic growth with the discovery of oil reserves in the Amazon which fueled an uneven distribution of wealth and social inequality.
Ecuador adopted its current constitution in 2008 and saw significant growth in its economy as well as reductions in poverty from 2006 to 2016. Guillermo Lasso was elected as the first right-wing President of Ecuador in 14 years.
Culture and People of Ecuador
Of the nearly 18 million people living in Ecuador, the largest ethnic group is Mestizo, mixed people of both Amerindian and European descent.
The majority of Ecuador’s population is Roman Catholic, and Spanish is the official and most-spoken language in the country. Pre-colonial American languages such as Kichwa, Awapit, and A’ingae are also spoken by communities in the country.
The cuisine of Ecuador is as diverse as its geography. Differing altitudes, agricultural conditions, and regional traditions all influence the types of food people eat across the country.
Seafood, such as ceviche, is popular along the coastal regions of Ecuador, while pork, chicken, and guinea pig are popular in the highlands. Bolon de Verde is considered one of the national dishes of Ecuador, which consists of a ball of dough made from green plantains with meat and cheese inside.
Both music and visual art have long histories in Ecuador. Pasillo, a genre of indigenous Latin music, is considered the national genre of music. Many genres of music exist in Ecuador, some of which include Bomba, Tecnocumbia, and Rockola. A traditional Ecuadorian folk dance is Sanjuanito.
Biggest Cities in Ecuador
Here are the largest cities in Ecuador based on 2021 data:
|Santo Domingo de los Colorados
Map of Ecuador with Largest the Cities
Ecuador Economy Facts
|World Bank Income Group
|Upper middle income
|World Bank Region
|Latin America & Caribbean
|US Dollar (USD)
|GDP in 2020
|$99.3 (billions of USD)
World Rank: 63
|GDP per capita in 2020
World Rank: 96
|Major Industries / Economic Sectors
|Oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, energy
|Top 5 Import Countries
|United States, China, Brazil, Colombia, Peru
|Top 5 Export Countries
|United States, China, Colombia, Peru, Mexico
Government and Politics in Ecuador
Ecuador is a representative democratic republic with a democratically elected president as head of state. The President of Ecuador is elected for a four-year term and can be re-elected for one more term.
There are five branches of the Ecuadorian government: the executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch, electoral branch, and the transparency and social control branch.
Political instability and uncertainty in 2023 have led to an impeachment trial of President Lasso and early elections.
Tourist Attractions of Ecuador
There are countless ways to enjoy Ecuador as a tourist, including many excellent guided tours. Beaches, national parks, and cultural attractions are among the top things to experience in the country. In this section, we’ll take a look at a few of the best attractions in Ecuador for tourists.
The Galapagos Islands
There’s nowhere on Earth like the Galapagos Islands. This is probably one of Ecuador’s most famous places, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. With very high percentages of endemic species, the flora and fauna of the islands are the main attractions. The islands have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.
Located in the south-central part of Ecuador, Cuenca is a city that’s popular among tourists for its cultural heritage and beautiful architecture. It’s even been referred to as the “Athens of Ecuador” for its beauty and contributions to Ecuadorian arts and sciences.
The historic center of Cuenca is especially noteworthy for the remains of important historical buildings and unique architectural designs.
Cotopaxi National Park
Vastly different from Ecuador’s beaches and islands, Cotopaxi National Park has its own striking beauty. Here visitors will encounter wild horses, wildflowers, and the massive Cotopaxi Volcano. There are trails that make it possible to ascend the volcano, but it’s worth noting that it is moderately challenging.
Transportation and Infrastructure of Ecuador
For most people traveling to Ecuador, arrival will happen via one of the country’s two international airports in Quito and Guayaquil. Those traveling to the Galapagos Islands will transfer from one of these to an airport on the islands.
It’s also possible to travel to Ecuador by bus from Colombia or Peru, and one can travel to the Galapagos Islands by sea from the mainland.
Once in Ecuador, by bus is one of the most popular ways to travel for foreigners and locals alike. It’s also possible to rent a car for intercity travel, and taxis are convenient for navigating urban environments.
Climate and Weather of Ecuador
The climate in Ecuador varies greatly by region but is generally tropical due to the country’s proximity to the equator. The year is defined by a wet and dry season, but the timing of these seasons varies across the country.
The mountain valleys of Ecuador experience milder temperatures, while the coastal areas and lowlands are humid and experience more rainfall. Higher elevations in the Andes receive snowfall.
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Ecuador Key Facts
|Alpha 2: EC
Alpha 3: ECU
|Country Flag Emoji
|Int. Phone Prefix
|283,561 sq km
World Rank: 66
|Spanish (Castilian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2% (2010 est.)
|Number of time zones: 2
|Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)
|Presidential representative democratic republic