Geography and demographicsCountry’s surface: 256,370 sq. km. (98,985 sq. mi.)
Population: 16.38 million (2016)
Capital city: Quito 2.2 million
Main cities: Guayaquil 2.3 million, Cuenca 320,000
Official language: Spanish (93%)
Native languages: kichua (4 %), shuar
Literacy rate: 94.46 %
Life expectancy: 76.12 years (2015)
Religions: Catholic (74%), Protestant (10 %)
National Day: August 10
MoneyWhat is the cost of living like in Ecuador?
At the present time, the cost of living is at least twice less than in other industrialized countries. Please see our Cost of Living page for details.
What is the currency in Ecuador?
Since 2000, the US dollar is the currency in Ecuador.
What are the payment methods available?
ATM network are available in all cities. Many local shops accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club.
HealthWhat about health care?
High quality, affordable health care is available at public and private clinics throughout the country, including in Manta. We have received many positive comments from clients about the quality and speed of the service and the costs.
EconomyWhat are Ecuador’s economic highlights?
Ecuador’s GDP is essentially based on oil and agriculture exportations. The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of shrimps, bananas, coffee, cacao and flowers. Its main economic partners are the United States, China and some Latin American countries. Ecuador also joined a trade agreement with the European Union, Colombia and Peru in 2016.
What about the Ecuadorian people’s economic situation?
As in any country, the situation varies from urban to rural areas and through the social classes. Generally, the unemployment rate in Ecuador is amongst the lowest in Latin America. Since 2008, the government has made strides in reducing inequalities and the level of poverty has dropped from 44.6% in 2004 to 23.3% in 2015.
GovernmentWhat is the political system?
The central government polity is a four-yearly elected presidential representative democracy with a single legislative assembly.
How is the relation between the government and foreigners?
The Ecuadorian government has recognized the value of foreign investment and tourism. Foreign investors benefit from the same rights and obligations as nationals.
ClimateWhat are the average temperatures?
The Ecuadorian Pacific Coast has moderate temperatures year-round (25oC / 77oF on average), without the extreme wet seasons that are common to the tropics. The sunniest months in the areas we are developing (between Manta and Puerto Cayo) are generally from January to June, which is interesting because these months are also part of the rainy season that runs from December to April. From January to March, you can expect downpours (that often happen at night), alternating with magnificent blue skies. The rest of the year is relatively dry and a little cloudier, but the temperature is still very pleasant.
Are there hurricanes?
Due to the location at the equator, hurricanes are inexistent.
Tourism and transportationWhich documents do I need to enter the country?
No visas are required to visit Ecuador for a period of 90 days per year, only a valid passport.
What is there to see in Ecuador?
Ecuador is one of 17 countries in the world classified as “megadiverse” by UNESCO, with an incredible variety of birds, mammals and plant species. With the two beautiful UNESCO cities of Quito and Cuenca, endless sandy beaches, the Amazon rainforests, the majestic Andes, the Galápagos Islands (also UNESCO heritage site) and dozens of national parks, Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse and eco-responsible places on the planet.
- 40 protected areas (19% of Ecuador’s territory)
- 1,695 bird species (18% of the World’s bird species)
- 10% of the World’s amphibians
- 2,999 orchid species (18% of the World’s orchid species)
- 14 Indigenous languages
What are the activities available on the Coast of Ecuador?
Of course, the Coast is a paradise for water sports and activities. Surf, kite surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, whale and dolphin watching as well as rides in the mangrove can all be enjoyed in the area. A few spots in Ecuador are known worldwide by surfers and kite surfers. Parasailing, biking, motocross, ATV and golf are also available in the region. For the best hiking, trekking, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, zip lining and mountain climbing, the Andes region with its majestic mountains and volcanoes will offer breathtaking backdrops and experiences.
How are the routes?
From 2007 to 2014, the country invested 7.6 billion US dollars to improve 7,261 km (4,512 mi.) of roads and highways; as a result, the World Economic Forum rates Ecuador in the top 3 countries in Latin America for quality of roads.
How to rent a car?
There are car rentals in many cities, including at the airports. The procedure and rental costs are similar to those in North America. Please note that they will hold a certain amount on your credit card until the car is returned. They will also note your passport information. This procedure is typical for international rentals.
What are the costs like for a taxi ride?
Taxi is a good and affordable way to go where you want at any time. As an example, a ride in Manta, a city of over 200,000 inhabitants, can cost around $2 to $3. A 10-minute ride in big cities like Guayaquil or Quito may cost about $5. The government recommends using only the taxis with the seal of “Secure Taxi”.
Is the bus a good means of transportation?
With very low prices and quality roads, the bus is ideal for journeys between cities or provinces. The service is well developed and, as an example, a bus ticket from Guayaquil International airport to Manta (190 km / 118 mi.) is about $15. For urban transportation, you can pay as little as $0.25 for tickets, according to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism’s website.
What about the air transportation network?
There are 2 international airports, over 15 domestic airports and three domestic airlines in Ecuador. A flight from Quito to Manta, on the coast, is about 50 minutes. Domestic round-trip flights can often be found for $50 to $100 depending on your destination and trips to nearby countries for $150 to $200.
What is the electrical voltage?
110v and 60Hz outlets are single-phase two-wire with the same plug configuration as in North America.
For more tourist information and travel tips, you can visit ecuador.travel/about-ecuador
FoodA lovely thing to do in Ecuador is enjoying the almuerzo (lunch) in a beachside restaurant or on a Malecon (boardwalk), including soup, main course, dessert and beverage for prices as low as $2.50 to $5.
Seafood lovers can indulge in a variety of dishes served on the coast of Ecuador where our projects are located. You can get a large plate of fresh local seafood or fish for $5 to $10, depending on the type of restaurant you choose. Ceviche, a mix of raw seafood and shellfish “cooked” in citric juices is also very popular. And their tuna, fresh or canned, is incredible. Strolling down the road, you will often see markets where fishermen sell their morning catches and gladly share their cooking tips with the newcomers.
Meat can also be found in many different markets, grocery stores and restaurants. A tasty filet mignon can be found for about $7 and the adventurous foody will definitely try the cuy (Guinea Pig), a local delicacy eaten by Ecuadorians to celebrate special occasions. Along with your meal, you will certainly get rice, plantain and/or llapingachos, potato patties made with cheese.
An interesting fact: Ecuador is amongst the largest exporters of bananas, coffee, cacao and shrimps. Ecuador being an important coffee producer, coffee amateurs might be surprised to find out that most of the coffee served in Ecuador is instant coffee. On the other hand, the Latin American country is a favourite destination for globetrotting chocolatiers in search of the best chocolate, and cocoa production has also become a sustainable source of income for the country’s farmers.
Presentation by Rafael Correa on 2014-11-26, powerpoint document produced by the Government of Ecuador.
Irene Caselli (june 6, 2013). Is Ecuador home to the world’s best chocolate? On line: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22733002