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Ecuador Tours, Hotels and information to Travel to Ecuador

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In this section: Ecuador: a natural selection | Ecuador's Information |
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Ecuador: a natural selection

Only a Continent could give you more!

Traveling through this wondrous land is a thrilling adventure with touches of fantasy and gratifying emotions. Ecuador is the perfect setting for an action-packed and truly unforgettable vacation.

Ecuador is located on the northwest of South America, straddling latitude 0°. Its four natural regions are easily accessible and offer a wide variety of landscapes: From pearly beaches on the Pacific to magic rainforests in the Amazon. From snowcapped mountains and volcanoes to quaint Colonial cities. From business oriented centers to the fabled Galapagos Islands.

Traveling in and around the highlands and lowlands of Ecuador, you will particularly enjoy the amazing biodiversity of the country 1,800 species of birds, 1,000 species of fish, 680 of reptiles and amphibians, 230 of mammals, and more than 20,000 species of plants.

Beyond fauna and flora, the people of this endowed place developed, through centuries of civilization, a culture of rich heritage, as is evident in its traditions, archaeology and all manifestations of art, from architecture, to music and plastic arts.

Ecuadorians are gentle and friendly; you will be warmly welcomed in cities large and small. Local cuisine is highly appealing and varied, including the best Pacific shrimp and assorted tropical fruits. The weather is another plus springtime around the year.

Ecuador has some of the most fanciful handicrafts in South America. You can find them in local Indian markets and at shops and galleries in the main cities. Best buys are: ponchos, hand-knit wool sweaters, hand-woven rugs, embroidered dresses and blouses, wall hangings, shawls, the famous Panama hat (an original Ecuadorian handicraft), jewelry (including designer pieces with pre-Columbian beads worked in silver and gold), ceramics, primitive and modern paintings, leather, woodcarvings, etc.

This is Ecuador: A world of a country, a fascinating land blessed by nature, ready to fulfill your dreams of discovery.

Ecuador's Information

Traveling through this wondrous land is a thrilling adventure with touches of fantasy and gratifying emotions. Ecuador is the perfect setting for an action-packed and truly unforgettable vacation.  Ecuador is located on the northwest of South America, straddling latitude 0°. Its four natural regions are easily accessible and offer a wide variety of landscapes: From pearly beaches on the Pacific to magic rainforests in the Amazon. From snowcapped mountains and volcanoes to quaint Colonial cities. From business oriented centers to the fabled Galápagos Islands.  Traveling in and around the highlands and lowlands of Ecuador, you will particularly enjoy the amazing biodiversity of the country 1,800 species of birds, 1,000 species of fish, 680 of reptiles and amphibians, 230 of mammals, and more than 20,000 species of plants.  Beyond fauna and flora, the people of this endowed place developed, through centuries of civilization, a culture of rich heritage, as is evident in its traditions, archaeology and all manifestations of art, from architecture, to music and plastic arts.  Ecuadorians are gentle and friendly; you will be warmly welcomed in cities large and small. Local cuisine is highly appealing and varied, including the best Pacific shrimp and assorted tropical fruits. The weather is another plus springtime around the year.  Ecuador has some of the most fanciful handicrafts in South America. You can find them in local Indian markets and at shops and galleries in the main cities. Best buys are: ponchos, hand-knit wool sweaters, hand-woven rugs, embroidered dresses and blouses, wall hangings, shawls, the famous Panama hat (an original Ecuadorian handicraft), jewelry (including designer pieces with pre-Columbian beads worked in silver and gold), ceramics, primitive and modern paintings, leather, woodcarvings, etc. 

This is Ecuador: A world of a country, a fascinating land blessed by nature, ready to fulfill your dreams of discovery.

Casa GangotenaLast update: 5/2/2013 Casa Gangotena
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Mashpi LodgeLast update: 8/11/2011 Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve
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A mere two-and-a-half hour’s drive west of Quito, Metropolitan Touring is building a new lodge within a private reserve that protects a small piece of one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots for future generations and the enjoyment of sophisticated and inquisitive travellers to Ecuador.
   
Ecuador Information, Maps, Attractions, General FactsLast update: 7/30/2009 Ecuador Information, Maps, Attractions, General Facts
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Ecuador Travel Facts, Ecuador Maps, Galapagos Island Travel Ecuador, information, Galapagos National Park & Ecuador protected areas
   
The Spirit of the AndesLast update: The Spirit of the Andes
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It is a four-day immersion into the Andean World, a journey along the history, the spirituality, the Andean flavours, the customs, traditions and legends of the ancestral peoples of the Ecuadorian highlands.
   
Otavalo Market Tours Last update: 7/22/2009 Otavalo Tours Ecuador indigenous market tour
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To the north of Quito, the province of Imbabura is one of the most popular destinations in Ecuador: a magical land of lakes, snow-covered mountains and terraced farmlands.
   
Quito Tours and InformationLast update: 8/11/2009 Quito Tours, Hotels in Quito, Day trips, Information
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Quito city located in equinoccial - ecuador line, with an impressive Historic downtown with more than 300 blocks of colonial houses, churches, squares, was the first World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1978, with architectonic treasures like San Francisoc convent, La Compañía Church, Santo Domingo, La Basilica del Voto nacional
   
Cuenca & Southern Andes Tours Last update: 8/6/2009 Cuenca Tours, Loja Tours & Hotels Southern Andes of Ecuador
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Cuenca Ecuador World Heritage Site by UNESCO, offers a wide variety of hotels, tours to discover Cuenca, museums, churches, Cuenca's downtown architecture and more atracctions near Cuenca and Loja in Ecuador
   
Cotopaxi, Antisana and Papallacta ToursLast update: 7/30/2009 Ecuador Highlands, Cotopaxi, Antisana and Papallacta Tours
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Cotopaxi national park tours, Antisana Volcano Tours, Papallacta tours, are some of the Ecuador tours offered by Metropolitan touring
   
Trekking & Hiking ToursLast update: 8/11/2009 Pure Nature, Ecuador Cloud Forest Tours, Trekking & Hiking
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Ecuador highlands "Pure Nature" tours offers trekking, hiking, birdwatching tours Mindo Cloud Forest, Papallacta pass and thermal springs and Pasochoa Ecuador volcano for lovers of nature and soft adventure tours in Ecuador
   
Adventure tours in EcuadorLast update: 8/11/2009 Adventure tours in Ecuador
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Ecuador Adventure tours are excellent options for travelers who seeks ecuador tour like rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and more Ecuador adventure tours options
   
Guayaquil & Pacific Coast ToursLast update: 8/6/2009 Guayaquil Tours, Ecuador Pacific Coast
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Guayaquil tours to the Ecuador Pacific coast shows atracctions in a nice green beaches, Starting at Los Frailes pristine beach, enjoy Bahia de Caraquez tours, then Guayaquil a modern city with cultural expressions like music, art and others, finally interesting archaeological remains of the oldest cultures ever found in the Pacific Coast of South America.
   
Amazon Rainforest ToursLast update: 8/7/2009 Ecuador Lodges and Amazon Rainforest Tours
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Ecuador amazon rainforest tour is full of options to discover the amazon rain forest animals and plants, our selected group of Amazon rainforest lodges provides the right space for thie rain forest experience
   
In this section: General facts |

General facts

  • Official name: Republic of Ecuador
  • Area: 110,000 square miles (256,370 Km2) 
  • Capital city: Quito 1.841.452 inhabitants (estimated 2008) 
  • Government: Democratic based on 3 powers: Executive, Legislative and Judicial 
  • President: Rafael Correa EC (2007-2011) 
  • Main Cities: Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca 
  • Official languages: Spanish and Kichwa. English is widely spoken
  • Independence date: August, 10th 
  • Currency: U.S. Dollars (Euros can be easily changed) 
  • Religion: Majority Roman Catholic


DEMOGRAPHIC FACTS

  • Population: 13,927,650 (July 2008 est.)
  • Population density: 47.7 Hab/Km2 
  • Population growth: 0.935% (2008 est.) 
  • Urban - rural population: Urban 62.4 % - Rural 37.6 % (2008 est.) 
  • Distribution per sex: Masculine 50.25 % - Feminine 49.75 % (2008 est.) 
  • Population forecast: (2010) 15,495,700 
  • Birth rate : 21.54 births/1,000 population (2008 est.) 
  • Mortality : 4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.) 
  • Fertility (children): 2.59 children born/woman (2008 est.) 
  • Life Expectancy: male: 73.94 years / female: 79.84 years (2008 est.) 
  • Literacy rate: 91.0 % (population over 15; 2008 est.) 
  • Education: Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary, Superior 
  • Ethnicity: Indian 25.0 % - Mestizo 65.0 % - White 7.0 % - Black 3.0 %

THE COUNTRY
Although covering just 256,370 sq. km. (110,000 sq. miles) Ecuador contains one of the most varied geographies in South America. There are four distinct regions: the Andean highlands, the coastal tropical plains, the Amazon Basin and the Galapagos Islands, located 1,000 km. (600 miles) off the coast in the Pacific Ocean. Quito, on the highlands, is the capital city; Guayaquil, on the coast, is the main port and the largest city in the country.

THE PEOPLE
Of Ecuador's close to 14 million inhabitants, those in the highlands are mainly mestizo, a mixture of European and Native South American extractions. Indigenous peoples live mainly in the Andean highlands and in the Amazon regions. Coastal dwellers are descendants of Native South Americans, Europeans and Africans.

BANKS AND BUSINESSES
Most city offices and shops open from 9:00 to 18:00 Monday through Friday. Currency exchange facilities are open week days and Saturday morning in major hotels. Banking facilities are not available in remote areas. U.S. dollars are accepted throughout the country. ATM's are easily found throughout the main cities. Cash advances can be made at most banks or ATM's.

CURRENCY
Ecuador's currency is the Dollar of the United States of America. U.S. dollars are used for all transactions. There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency or travelers cheques brought into Ecuador.

CUSTOMS
Each passenger is allowed two bags of up to 70 pounds (31.8 kilos) each, plus carry-on luggage, photo or video camera, and binoculars. Professional filming equipment, diving and climbing gear require special permits.

ELECTRICITY
110 volts, 60 cycles AC is used. Most outlets are for two flat prongs. It is useful to carry a small flashlight. For TV and video equipment, Ecuador uses the NTSC system.

LANGUAGE
Ecuador's official language is Spanish, but Kichwa, the lingua franca of the Inca Empire, is the tongue of the majority of the Indian population. English is spoken in major visitor centers.

PASSPORTS AND VISAS
Valid passports are required for entry into Ecuador. No visas are needed for stays of up to 90 days. Before landing, your airline will give you an embarkation/disembarkation card to be filled out and presented to the Immigration officer.

TAXES
There is a sales tax added to purchases; hotels and restaurants charge sales tax and service. There is also an international departure tax is to be paid in U.S. Dollars at the airport.

CLIMATE
Ecuador has a land area similar in size to England or the State of Colorado (USA) and is divided into four different geographic zones: the Amazon, the highlands, the Pacific lowlands and the Galapagos Islands. Since Ecuador is located right on the equator, the country as a whole experiences no extreme weather changes. Rainy seasons vary in each zone. See our specific brochures for information on each area.

FOOD
International cuisine is available throughout the country, but try some of the Ecuadorian specialties: humitas and tamales (made of corn and wrapped in leaves), llapingachos (fried mashed potato patties with cheese), ceviche (a saucy shrimp cocktail), and locro (a soup of stewed potatoes and cheese topped with an avocado). There are many excellent restaurants in the main cities and a restaurant guide is distributed free to all visitors upon arrival in Ecuador.

TIPPING
As in many places, gratuities are customary, but entirely at guest's discretion. Guidelines for tipping will be found in the "Welcome Kit" you receive upon arrival.

TIME
Local time on the mainland is Greenwich Meridian Time minus 5 hours (Eastern Standard Time in the United States). Galapagos time is GMT minus 6 hours.

PARK FEES
Visitors to the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rain forest, the Cotopaxi National Park and other National Parks and Natural Reserves must pay entrance fees. Such prices vary and are not included in tour rates.

HEALTH
No inoculations are required for entry. Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their physicians about high-altitude travel, as well as preventive measures for visiting tropical areas. Bottled water is advised and available everywhere. For guests traveling to Ecuador's Amazon Region, a yellow fever vaccination is required.

DRINKING WATER AND DRINKS
Bottled mineral water, with or without carbonation, is available at all hotels, ships and lodges. Ecuadorian beer is excellent, and bottled soft drinks are available everywhere. Coffee and tea are usually served at the end of meals.

CLOTHING
Lightweight woolens are ideal for the highlands; and warm jackets are essential after dusk at high altitudes. Cottons for the Amazon, Pacific lowlands and Galapagos. Dress is informal. Dressing in layers is ideal. Do not forget swimming wear and comfortable walking shoes.

CHILDREN
Some tours and programs are not suitable for smaller children, and thus not recommended for them. Children over eight will have no problem in the mainland or in Galapagos. Hotels in the major cities cater to children of all ages, providing children's menus, baby sitters and extra beds/cribs.

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Fundación Galápagos and Coca Cola in “Every bottle has a story”

Fundación Galápagos has been chosen by Coca Cola to participate in the campaign “Every bottle has a story” for its commitment to making a positive difference to the Islands

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Metropolitan Touring is one of South America’s most known and respected travel companies, providing unrivalled service to our guests for nearly 60 years. Along with our operations in Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, we also own and operate the finest ships for Galapagos Island cruises - the M/V Santa Cruz, Yacht Isabella II and Yacht La Pinta - as well as the Finch Bay Eco Hotel. Come explore with us!
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