Ecuador is a beautiful destination on the equator known for its mountains, forests, and islands. Here are 18 or more interesting facts about this northern west country of South America.
The top of Mt. Chimborazo in Quito is as far as you can get from the centre of the earth. While Everest is recognised as the highest mountain in the world, the earth bulges at the equator, making Chimborazo technically 1.5 miles higher than Everest and thus can be considered the actual highest mountain in the world.
In Ecuador, the world’s very first and second UNESCO World Heritage Site can be seen. The Galápagos Islands is the first and the capital city of Quito is the second because of its excellently preserved heritage. They were both recognised by UNESCO in 1978.
Ecuador is home to many rare faunae especially on the Galápagos Islands. Such animals include Marine iguanas, Darwin’s Finches and the Galápagos tortoise, the largest tortoise species in the world. In the rainforest, there is the “Punk Rocker” frog where its skin changes from smooth to spiky in a matter of minutes and the Olinguito which is the first carnivorous mammal discovered in the Western Hemisphere in the past 35 years. Also, in the Andes, the recently endangered Pinocchio Lizard was rediscovered in in 2007 named this because it nose is longer than their head.
In terms of more common animals, there is the Andean Bear: the bear on which Paddington Bear was based on. Although 5% of its diet is composed of meat, it is recognised as the largest land carnivore in South America. Also, more than 1600 different bird species live in the country including the Andean Condor which is the bird on the flag of Ecuador.
Guinea Pigs are a delicacy in Ecuador. Also known as Cuy, the taste is similar to rabbit or duck. However, a word of caution: as with any other food, be cautious where you choose to eat. If you are daring to eat it, be sure to pick a place with a high standard of hygiene. And don’t worry, the little fellow is hidden safely in the house he built.
Here are some other brief food facts. Tree tomatoes been used to make juice and Ahi, which is a condiment mixed with onions and herbs and is more popular than ketchup in Ecuador. Also, Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, exporting 2.7 billion worth of them annually. In terms of drink, there is a specialty drink Canelazo made of a spiced cinnamon rum.
Food and some items are cheap. Water costs 35 cents while a decent meal should be around 3-7 dollars and can go as cheap as 1-3 dollars. However, if you are shopping for food at a store, be sure to ask for Consumidor final. This is a receipt that says you are the final consumer and that not going to resell the product. This shortens the process of shopping for food compared to those shopping and do not ask for it.
When it comes to going to the bathroom in Ecuador, toilet paper isn’t thrown into the toilet. The reason for this is because of the poor sewage systems where the piping can’t handle it. Instead it recommended that you place the toilet paper in a plastic bottle, wrap it up and throw it in a waste basket.
Ecuador’s national tree in the cinchona tree. Its bark can create Quinine which was the first drug ever used to cure malaria since 1632.
Ecuador’s Healthcare System is top notch as it is ranked 20th in the entire world. Free medical care (with an extensive system of hospitals and regional health clinics) is available to all residents regardless of income and without buying any type of medical insurance and private is regarded as very expensive.
Voting is mandatory for all citizens of Ecuador between the ages of 18 and 65 especially native citizens. If you do not vote, you will be fined $ 45.50.
Families may be formed through two different methods that which have equal rights. First is civil marriage where a man and a woman are married in a civil ceremony. The other method is referred to as Free Union, in which a couple decides to start a family without any official service. The way knots are tied on indigenous women’s shawls identify their marital status. A knot over the shoulder means they are single while a knot in the middle shows they are married.
Indigenous people in Ecuador wear a lot of red clothes as they believe red attracts good spirits and positive energy. They also wear a lot of gold necklaces to represent the sun and corn. Very positive aspect to the people of Ecuador.
The Panama Hat was made in Ecuador not Panama. The hats were first designed in the 1600s in Ecuadorian small details. It was until 1835 that craftsman Manuel Alfaro opened a shop Panama selling these hats to be to protect canal workers from the sun. Today the hats are more associated with Panama instead of Ecuador hence the name.
There are more mobile phones than people in Ecuador. They are also very important to have Ecuador to the point the government sees the use of phones as an opportunity to test the use of digital currency. It might suit forty percent of the adults as they do not have currently do not have access to a bank account.
Ecuador Independence Day is August 10th or Diez de Agosto which is a popular name for streets, parks, and markets. It is also known as 'Día del Primer Grito de Independencia de Quito' marking Quito's declaration of independence from Spain in 1809. The day is celebrated with music, parades, festivities, concerts, and cultural exhibitions.
In Ecuador, every person must be acknowledged when you and enter before you leave a room. Men shake hands with direct eye contact and a smile while a man and women or two women, usually touch right cheeks and make a kissing sound in the air. As for the latter, this is only done when in a close relationship, so a handshake should be offered to strangers.
Despite an average temperature of 25 °C, Ecuador can become quite cold in the winter. They also care about cold places as they maintain a scientific research station in Antarctica called Pedro Vicente Maldonado Base. The 1987 Antarctica Treaty designated this continent be set aside for research and not ownership which Ecuador signed. The company out there maintains a strong outreach program to raise awareness and knowledge about Antarctica, especially with the youths by having contests on Antarctic topics made between schools annually.
Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet