Take Darwin’s path and discover the stunning beauty of the Galapagos Islands which is under the authority of this South American country.
South American country Ecuador stretches extends over an area of 283 000 square kilometers along the Pacific coast. It borders with Colombia in the east, with Peru in the southeast, and under its authority are the famous Galapagos Islands.
Geographically, Ecuador is divided into four areas: the Galapagos Islands, the west coastal area, central mountainous part and eastern area of Amazon rainforests.
The country has more than 13 million people and most of the population are descendants of indigenous people and European settlers. Oil production and agriculture are the main sectors of the economy of Ecuador, where the majority of the population is employed.
Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and is situated 25 kilometers south of the equator at an altitude of 2850 meters. It is a favorite tourist destination, both for natural and cultural beauty, and convenient shopping. In Quito silver markets are popular, but also markets with indigenous handicrafts that include hand-woven items, clothing and carvings.
Ecuadorian cuisine is a blend of many influences, and leading foods are meat, seafood and corn. Favorite dishes include Locri de papa – a soup made of avocados and potatoes, emapanadas – bun with cheese, meat and shrimp, Morocho – a dessert made from milk, sugar and cinnamon. Only the bravest, however, order cuy or roasted guinea pig.
With food they serve a varied range of fruit juices and alcoholic beverage Aguardiente, which is produced by fermentation of sugar cane.
5 memorable tourist attractions of Ecuador:
Inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution does not cease to intrigue travelers from around the world. Galapagos consists of 13 large volcanic islands and several smaller ones that are hiding spectacular plant and animal species. The largest island in the archipelago – Isabela – has a form of a sea horse.
Explore the capital of Ecuador and its cultural and historical monuments. Visit the historic core which is under the protection of UNESCO, Basilica del Voto National, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and numerous city parks. The best view of Quito is from a nearby, 4,000 meters high mountain of Pichincha, to where a cable car runs (teleferiqo).
Hire a tour guide and head to the eastern part of the country through which the Amazonian rainforest extends. Unavoidable destination is the Wildlife reserve Cuyabeno which includes wonderful tropical plants, five hundred different birds, dozens of ape species, pink dolphins, stunning snakes and butterflies.
The throne of the month
Refer to the Cotopaxi National Park, or in translation the throne of the month, which is situated in the middle of the country. The main attraction of the park is a same name volcano, 5897 meters high. It is a favorite tourist destination, although it is considered the highest active volcano in the world.
Lovers of lying in the sand and swimming in crystal blue sea choose coastal area of the country. In the southern part there are a number of small towns perfect for this kind of vacation, but also the most popular Ecuador destination for surfing – Montanita. However, in the northwestern part of the coast the most visited summer destination is situated – Esmeraldos.
Official language: Spanish
Religion: Christianity (95 percent)
Currency: U.S. Dollar (USD)
Visa: Not required for citizens of the Republic of Croatia
How to travel: by plane – the main airport of Ecuador is Quito International Airport near the capital.
When to travel: January to April (Galapagos), August, and December to March (Amazon); the mountainous area is best visited in the dry season from June to September and in December.
Disease and prevention: Mandatory vaccination against yellow fever, and recommended against typhoid and hepatitis A and B. You can get vaccinated at the Department of Public Health, dr. Andrija Štampar. You need to bring mosquito repellent, malaria tablets, and protection from strong sun, and take care of altitude sickness.
Accommodation: Radisson Royale and Hotel Mansion del Angel in the capital city are excellent choice.
Restaurants: Zazu and restaurant Alma in the capital serve distinctive South American flavors with a modern twist.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests caution when traveling to Ecuador. This is especially true for high crime rate, armed robbery and kidnapping in urban centers. Demonstrations and protests are frequent and they may become violent. Due to the deteriorated security conditions caused by the action of left-wing guerrilla group it is advised not to travel to areas near the border with Colombia.
Water from the faucet should be avoided, because it is not safe for drinking and brushing teeth.