World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of South America

Ecuador Travelling Guide
Ecuador Travelling Guide

General background: The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than Nevada

Climate: Tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Terrain: Coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)

Population: 13,447,494 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Mestizo (Mixed Amerindian and White) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, Black 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%

Language: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

Government type: Republic

Capital: Quito

Legal system: Based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economic overview: Ecuador has substantial oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Ecuador joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but has failed to comply with many of its accession commitments. The aftermath of El Nino and depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy into a free-fall in 1999. The beginning of 1999 saw the banking sector collapse, which helped precipitate an unprecedented default on external loans later that year. Continued economic instability drove a 70% depreciation of the currency throughout 1999, which forced a desperate government to "dollarize" the currency regime in 2000. The move stabilized the currency, but did not stave off the ouster of the government. Gustavo NOBOA, who assumed the presidency in January 2000, has managed to pass substantial economic reforms and mend relations with international financial institutions. Ecuador completed its first standby agreement since 1986 when the IMF Board approved a 10 December 2001 disbursement of $96 million, the final installment of a $300 million standby credit agreement.

Communication/Telephone system: Generally elementary but being expanded.

Places of interest:

Travel tips: Though most travel in Ecuador is relatively safe, economic instability provoking unrest in the country's recent past does warrant that extra bit of caution from the traveler.