Where is Ecuador?

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

Ecuador location on the map pointed out by a flag pin.

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:

  1. Colombia (CO)
  2. Peru (PE)

Maritime Borders

A political map of Ecuador showing major cities and its borders with foreign countries as well as the Pacific Ocean.

Ecuador borders the Pacific Ocean and includes the Galapagos Islands, located about 966 kilometers (600 miles) off the country’s coast.

Ecuador Interesting Facts

A pink and orange sunset over the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.
Guayaquil, Ecuador

Administrative Divisions of Ecuador

Ecuador provinces map
Ecuador Provinces Map

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 snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano's reflection can be seen in a still body of water.
Cotopaxi Volcano in 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

Women perform a traditional dance during a parade in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Women dancing in Cuenca, Ecuador

People

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. 

Cuisine

A top-down view of a plate off Bolon de Verde, fried eggs, and meat.
Bolon de Verde, a traditional Ecuadorian dish

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. 

Arts

A group of musicians from an Indigenous community play instruments in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Musicians in Cuenca, Ecuador during Carnival

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

Art is on display in museums in Quito such as the Center for Contemporary Art and the Museum of Colonial Art.

Biggest Cities in Ecuador

Here are the largest cities in Ecuador based on 2021 data:

City Population
Guayaquil 2,723,665
Quito 2,011,388
Cuenca 329,928
Santo Domingo de los Colorados 270,875
Machala 231,260
Eloy Alfaro 230,839
Manta 217,553
Portoviejo 206,682
Loja 170,280
Ambato 165,185

Map of Ecuador with Largest the Cities

Ecuador Economy Facts

World Bank Income GroupUpper middle income
World Bank RegionLatin America & Caribbean
CurrencyUS Dollar (USD)
GDP in 2020$99.3 (billions of USD)
World Rank: 63
GDP per capita in 2020$5,628
World Rank: 96
Major Industries / Economic SectorsOil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, energy
Top 5 Import CountriesUnited States, China, Brazil, Colombia, Peru
Top 5 Export CountriesUnited 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

A Galapagos giant tortoise stands on an island in front of turquoise blue waters.
A Galapagos tortoise on 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

Cuenca

A view of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cuenca, Ecuador on a sunny day.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cuenca, Ecuador

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

Wild horses graze near the base of Cotopaxi Volcano on a clear day.
Wild horses in 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.

Ecuador Related Content

Ecuador Key Facts

CountryEcuador
CoordinatesLatitude: -1.831239
Longitude: -78.183406
Country CodesAlpha 2: EC
Alpha 3: ECU
Country Flag Emoji🇪🇨
Int. Phone Prefix+593
Capital cityQuito
Continent
Subcontinent
South America
South America
Country Area283,561 sq km
Population 202117,888,474
World Rank: 66
Median Age27.6
Life expectancy73.7
Major languagesSpanish (Castilian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2% (2010 est.)
UTC/GMT TimeNumber of time zones: 2
  • UTC−06:00 (GALT) — Galápagos Province
  • UTC−05:00 (Ecuador Time) — main territory of Ecuador
Internet TLD.ec
Biggest AirportMariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)
Average temperature21.85 °C
71.33 °F
Administrative Divisions24 provinces
Political systemPresidential representative democratic republic
Image Sources and Copyright Information
  • Ecuador Flag Pin on Map: © hyotographics/Shutterstock
  • Political Map of Ecuador with Capital and the Galapagos Islands Highlighted: © Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock
  • Sunset Over Colorful Hillside Neighborhood in Guayaquil: © Adodi Photography/Shutterstock
  • Colorful Map of Ecuador Showing Provinces: © Rainer Lesniewski/Shutterstock
  • Majestic Reflection of Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador: © Pavel Svoboda Photography/Shutterstock
  • Colorful Street Parade with Dancers in Traditional Dress in Cuenca, Ecuador: © ireneuke/Shutterstock
  • Ecuadorian Bolon de Verde with Fried Eggs and Meat on a Plate: © Fotos593/Shutterstock
  • Traditional Musicians Celebrating Carnival in Cuenca, Ecuador: © ireneuke/Shutterstock
  • Giant Galapagos Tortoise Overlooking a Scenic Cove: © FOTOGRIN/Shutterstock
  • Vibrant Plaza with Cafes in Front of the Imposing Cuenca Cathedral, Ecuador: © Jon Chica/Shutterstock
  • Wild Horses Grazing in Front of the Snow-Capped Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador: © Jonatas Neiva/Shutterstock