Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Located in the heart of South America, Ecuador is rich in both culture and history. The capital city, Quito, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered history center in Latin America.
Located on the equator in the middle of the world, Ecuador has four natural regions: The Amazon,The Andes Mountains, The Galapagos Islands, and the Coast.  Since Ecuador is such a small country, you can easily experience the culture of the indigenous people in the Andes mountains in the morning, and the beaches of the coast or the intrigue of the Amazon forest in the afternoon. In addition, the incredible experience of the Galapagos Islands is only a short flight or ride from the coast.
In addition to its rich history, Ecuador is known for hosting a variety of species, many of them endemic, such as those of the Galapagos Islands. It is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world, with the most species diversity per unit area.
Quick FACTS:
Location: Northwestern South America
Capital: Quito
Population: 1.8 million (2005).
Language: Spanish is the official language. Indigenous dialects are also spoken including Quechua.
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Size: 283,520 km ² or 109,468 Square miles (including Galapagos)
Population: 13.5 million (estimate from 2000).
Population density: 49.8 inhabitants per km ².
Religion: Over 95% of the population is Roman Catholic.
Time Zone: GMT - 5 (GMT Galapagos Islands - 6).
Phone Code: 011-593
Electricity: 120 volts AC, 60Hz. The plugs are American and Japanese.
Geography: Ecuador shares a border to the north with Colombia and to the South and east with Peru, and the Pacific Ocean is on the West. There are three very different geographical areas. The first is the Sierra or highlands of the Andes, from the Colombian border in the north to Peru in the south. In this region there are two mountain ranges: the Eastern and Western. The second region is the Coast, a coastal plain between the Andes and the Pacific. In this region there are large plantations of bananas, cocoa, coffee and sugar. The third is on the East, formed by the upper Amazon basin, and has large tracts of forest surrounded by rivers. This area, while approximately 36% of the Ecuadorian territory is inhabited by only 3% of the population. The Galapagos Islands are located 1000 km. off the continent, out in the Pacific Ocean, also belong to Ecuador.