Welcome to Ecuador! If you’re about to jump on your plane to Quito, or just stopping by on your way to Colombia, you’re still in time to learn a thing or two about the country. What’s the capital city? Good. What does the flag look like? Mm… almost. Well, all that’s down here to help you prep your arrival. You’ll discover also a couple of things about the landscapes of Ecuador, the weather, altitude and the country flag. And the coolest part: at the bottom, you’ll find all Green Mochila posts to prepare your travel to Ecuador.
Jump directly to:
Why visit Ecuador
After being an important scientific destination, Ecuador is now often overlooked by visitors. Yet its physiognomy is very similar to that of Peru, and it offers the same attractions; with less archaeological sites and more volcanoes.
Visit Ecuador for its extreme nature and its unique wildlife: jungle, high mountains, marine treasures. Enjoy Ecuador for its outdoor activities, from surfing and mountain climbing to zip lining and rafting. Discover Ecuador for its charming colonial towns and modern trendy cities, for its colourful Indigenous communities and countryside life. Love Ecuador for its friendly people, its hearty food and its welcoming climate.
Choose Ecuador, lastly, because not many travellers do it and it’s a shame.
Already set on visiting Ecuador? Find more travel tips in our backpacking guide.
Weather & Climate in Ecuador
Ecuador, being as it is on the Equator line (got it?), has only two seasons: wet and dry. The dry season runs from June to September and the wet season from October to May. Having said that, climates differ between the 3 regions.
The costa has an average temperature of 25°C (77 °F) and it gets very hot and humid between December and May. The sierra keeps a mild climate, rather cold at high temperatures. As a matter of example, the average yearly temperature in Quito is 17.8 °C (64 °F) The oriente is always hot and humid, all year round.
Fun fact: because of the Equator line cutting the country in two, when it’s winter in the north of the country, it’s summer everywhere else.
Discover the landscapes of Ecuador
Ecuador, despite being such a small country, can be divided in 3 different areas. Ecuadorians commonly use these names to speak about the different regions of their country:
Costa: the coast on the Pacific ocean. It includes sandy beaches and dunes, small islands and the marshland of the Guayas delta.
-> Highlights: Machalilla National Park & the Mangroves Churute Ecological Reserve
Sierra: the wide line of the Andes mountains that crosses the country in its middle. It’s a land high-lying turquoise lakes, snow-topped peaks and an impressive number of volcanoes.
-> Highlights: Lake Quilotoa & Mount Cotopaxi
Oriente: literally the East, is the name given to the Amazonian part of the country. It’s dense, moist and lush like in your wildest sex dreams.
-> Highlights: Yasuní National Park & Cuyabeno Wildlife Preserve
Let’s add the Galápagos Islands, wonderful string of droplets in the ocean, some 906 km (563 mi) from the continent.
Altitude in Ecuador
The whole central corridor of the country sits on the Andes, therefore in high altitude. The altitude sickness, here known as soroche, can have nasty effects on your body. It’s of the utmost importance that you give your body a day or 2 to get used to it: keep it easy and rest.
Here are 10 of the highest towns in Ecuador:
- Zumbahua: 3,510 m (11,515 ft)
- Papallacta: 3,300 m (10,826 ft)
- Tulcán: 2,980 m (9,780 ft)
- Machachi: 2,886 m (9,469 ft)
- Quito: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
- Cayambe: 2,830 m (9,280 ft)
- Latacunga: 2,800 m (9,200 ft)
- Riobamba: 2,754 m (9,035 ft)
- Ambato: 2,577 m (8,455 ft)
- Cuenca: 2,560 m (8,400 ft)
Name & capital of Ecuador
The Republic of Ecuador takes its name from being on the Equator line that divides our blue marble in two. Sure enough, there are several countries in Africa that could have taken the same name (in fact, Equatorial Guinea has). But Ecuador, due to its high altitude, has always attracted scientists who wanted to study the stars and the movements of the Earth.
The capital of Ecuador is Quito, which means “the middle” in the indigenous Kichwa language. It sits in fact only a few kilometres south of the middle of the world as we know it.
Flag of Ecuador
The flag of Ecuador is a horizontal tricolor of yellow, dark blue and red, with the yellow stripe taking up about 2/3 of the flag. The colours represent:
- Yellow: represents the crops and the fertile soil
- Blue: is for the ocean and the clear skies
- Red: stands for the blood of the heroes who died for the independence of South America
You’ll notice that it’s very similar to the flags of Colombia and Venezuela; the 3 countries used to belong (together with Panamá) to the same country called Gran Colombia.
In the middle of the flag lies the coat of arms of Ecuador. It represents the condor, a sacred animal of the Andes, stretching its wings in a gesture of power. The mountain is Volcan Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak, and the river is the Guayas, which is very important to the harbour city of Guayaquil. They symbolise the regions of Sierra and Costa respectively.
Languages in Ecuador
Spanish is the one official language of the country. But due to the presence and importance of several Indigenous peoples, there are 24 Indigenous languages that are official in their respective region.
Ready to rumble? Discover Ecuador with our handcrafted itinerary for 2 & 3 weeks.
Discover all our travel guides and stories about Ecuador!