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25th January 2013

Get to know Ecuador’s Marvelous Destinations: Inca, Andes, Rainforest And Galapagos

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posted in South America, Travel Tips, Getaways, Vacation, Tropical, weekend getaway, holiday, Winter Getaway, rainforest |

by Wesley Vanderhill

Ecuador is around double the size of Pennsylvania, USA, or about 50 % the seize of France, totaling about 175,000 sq mi. For tourism schedules, Ecuador is very pleasant, because most distances can be done by road in just a day’s travel. Buses are affordable and for a little more money you can buy a really luxurious bus ride. From Quito you can fly quite a few cities in the country on flights that typically take 30-45 minutes, facilitating efficient and comfortable tourism schedules.

The mainland has three unique regions, being the Eastern and Western lowlands, divided by the Andean Mountain Range. As the world is a somewhat flattened sphere, it is wider along the equator, and there the distance to the middle of the earth is greater than from the poles. With 6,267 m above sea level, the Chimborazo , is farther away from the center of the earth than Mount Everest. The highlands of the Andes and Galapagos have a number of very active volcanoes.

You can find 7 climate zones in Ecuador, with precipitation varying from extremely wet on the Andes slopes to semi arid in the southern coast and temperatures varying from tropical in the lowlands to permanently cold high up in the mountains. The Central valley with the Andes is specially comfortable with a permanently spring-like climate.

Many cultures prospered in Ecuador millenniums before these peoples were occupied by the Incas in the late 14 hundreds. Many different native dialects are continue to be alive, besides the Spanish language and the Inca language Quichua. Ingapirca is the is the main historical monument from the Incas, because the Spanish mined most buildings for construction materials. Diseases coming over with the colonizers killed tens of thousands of natives in the first decades of colonization. The “encomienda”, the forced labor system of the colonizers seemed to have also been a considerable cause of high mortality during the colonial period.

Quito was declared the administrative centre or “audiencia” (administrative district) of the northern Spanish colony in 1563. In 1717 incorporated in the Vice-royalty of New Granada, which combined the lands of what is now Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. New Granada declared independence in 1822 and took the name Gran Colombia.

In 1830 Ecuador split off from the federation. Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors and several border issues remained in dispute. In 1999 all disputes were resolved following a brief border war with Peru in 1995 had set off negotiations under the beneath the auspices of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the USA. The country has enjoyed four decades of democracy.

Ecuador’s population of around 15 million was heavily concentrated in the mountainous central highlands as recently as a couple of decades ago, but today’s population is distributed about equally between the Andes region and the coastal lowlands. Migration toward cities has increased the urban population to around 60% of the total, with Guayaquil - 2.6 million - and capital Quito - 1.8 million - being the largest cities. The Amazon region, usually called the “Oriente” (East) remains sparsely populated with approximately 3% of the population.

The principal economic activity is obviously based on oil, while other important activities include manufacturing - mostly for the domestic market - commerce, agricultural production for domestic consumption as well as for export. Important products besides oil, are bananas, shrimp, flowers, and some other primary agricultural products. In 2010, oil accounted for 56% of the export income. Ecuador is still the greatest exporter worldwide of bananas and plantains ($2 billion worth) while it also is a significant shrimp exporter ($800 million) and cacao ($400 million). Non-traditional export products include cars ($375 million), canned fish ($600 million), and flowers ($600 million).

Ecuador is rapidly developing into a world-class tourist country with famous destinations being Galapagos, the old centers of Quito and Cuenca, and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Cajas and Cotopaxi National Parks and not to mention the Otavalo Indian market. As Cuyabeno can now be reached within a mere few hours from capital Quito, it’s been quickly developing a reputation as the best Amazon destination in Latin America.

About the Author:

Find out why Ecuador is such a great place to go on vacation. For almost 40 years Wesley Vanderhil has worked in The Andes and tells you about the great things to see inEcuador.

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