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15 things you probably didn’t know about Ecuador

For those who dream of adventure, Ecuador offers a wealth of discovery and experience. Its best-known attraction, the Galapagos Islands, already features on the travel wish-lists of nature-lovers and photographers the world over – and that’s just the beginning. From the Amazon jungle to snow-capped Andean peaks, here are 15 facts you might not know about Ecuador.

  1. Ecuador is named after the equator, which runs through the country, making it the only nation in the world to be named after a geographical feature. A popular tourist attraction is Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) near Quito, where visitors can put one leg over the equator in each hemisphere.
  2. Quito, Ecuador’s capital city is 2850m above sea level, making it the second-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz in Bolivia.signature-blogs-ecuador-quito
    Quito, capital of Ecuador
  3. Quito’s World Heritage-listed old town is recognised as the best-preserved historic centre in Latin America.
  4. The 6268m-tall Mt Chimborazo is the closest point on Earth to the sun due to the planet’s equatorial bulge.signature-blogs-ecuador-engine
    Chimborazo dwarfs a Tren Crucero train
  5. The main airport in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, located on the island of Baltra, is the only airport in the world operating exclusively on wind and solar energy, thanks to a $40 million engineering feat which also saw it win a major US award for environmentally friendly design.
  6. The world’s highest active volcano is found in Ecuador: Mt Cotopaxi, which is 5987m above sea level.
  7. Ecuador grows and makes 70% of the world’s fine cacoa, Arriba, which is used in chocolate products worldwide.signature-blogs-ecuador-cacao
    Cacao of Ecuador
  8. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas and the total value of Ecuador’s banana exports exceeds US$2 trillion each year.
  9. While it is one of the smallest countries in South America – just 8% bigger than Victoria – Ecuador is the most bio-diverse country in the world per square kilometre, with the distinct Amazon, Andes, Coastal and Galapagos regions.signature-blogs-ecuador-station
    Colourfully dressed locals
  10. Ecuador is home to more than 1600 species of birds, which is more than double the number found on the continents of North America, Europe or Australia.
  11. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to include recognition of the rights of nature in its constitution.signature-blogs-ecuador-locals
    A nation of diverse people and landscapes
  12. Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism secured the rights to the Beatles hit song ‘All You Need is Love’ in 2014 to use as part of its new ‘All You Need is Ecuador’ campaign to show how Ecuador can help people emotionally connect with culture and nature.
  13. The Galapagos Islands served as Charles Darwin’s inspiration for his Theory of Natural Selection. There he observed the way the unique creatures were similar from island to island, but had perfectly adapted to their habitats.signature-blogs-ecuador-seal
    A beach of seals
  14. The Galapagos Islands are home to a number of endemic species, making Ecuador the only place where the waved albatross, the Galapagos sea lion and the giant Galapagos tortoise can be seen in the wild.
  15. Despite their name, Panama hats were invented in Ecuador and are still worn by proud locals today.

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