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  1. Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. In the Andean foothills at an elevation of 2,850m, Quito, the capital, is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center, with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces and churches including the ornate Compañía de Jesús cathedral.

  • Industry: Petroleum, food processing, textiles, metal work
  • Agriculture: Bananas, coffee, cacao, rice; cattle; balsa wood; fish
  • Exports: Petroleum, bananas, shrimp, coffee, cacao

Fast Facts

Population:13,032,000Capital:Quito; 1,451,000Area:283,560 square kilometers (109,483 square miles)Language:Spanish, QuechuaReligion:Roman Catholic
Life Expectancy:71GDP per Capita:U.S. $3,200Literacy Percent:93Currency:U.S. Dollar
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  1. Quito

  2. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the Metropolitan District of Quito.

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Straddle the Equator in Quito

Visiting the Equator, known in Ecuador as the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), is as easy as a fewbus rides, or a faster but costlier taxi ride, from the backpacker neighborhood of La Mariscal.

Be sure to visit both the real Equator, which is marked with a series of interesting experiments, as well as the larger monument built in the wrong place about 100 meters away.

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Explore the Amazon Jungle

Ecuador is perhaps the cheapest place in South America to visit the Amazon.

Get up close and personal with the exotic wildlife only found in the rainforest, and learn about the indigenous people who call the region home.

3-day trips departing from Quito start around just $100.

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Galapagos Islands

Home to famed sea tortoises and the location that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands mesmerize visitors with their stunning natural beauty. Located about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the 13 large and 6 small Galapagos Islands have become a popular tour destination for travelers to the country, earning a reputation as a must-see attraction.