Ecuador Regional Overview
Like a magic lantern, Ecuador holds a wide range of charms at your fingertips: the Galapagos Islands, snow-capped peaks, unique flora and fauna, vibrant indigenous cultures, cities of contrasts, and the Amazon Rainforest . These are just a few of the wonders within short reach in this petite country which is also very easy to travel within.
Ecuador is one of the most megadiverse countries in the world thanks to its incredible variety of birds (over 1600 species), mammals and plants. In addition to this natural wealth, Ecuador is proud of its cultural diversity (more than 30 indigenous groups), and its centennial cities declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. For its eternal springlike weather, the warmth of its people, and its amazing natural and cultural beauty, Ecuador is considered by many the best kept touristic jewel of the world.
With the size of the State of Colorado in North America or that of the United Kingdom in Europe, Ecuador boasts a superb geographical diversity, matched by a rich cultural heritage; varied scenery, habitats and ecosystems; some of the planet’s hotspots of bio-diversity protected through national parks and reserves; many different ethnic groups; delicious cuisine; original handicrafts; fine lodging and dining and good roads, as part of a great tourism infrastructure; accessibility and genuinely friendly people. All wrapped up in a small country, easy to reach and easy to travel within.
It takes just 30 minutes by air to travel between the majestic volcanoes of the Andean Region and the lush vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest, or from the Pacific Coast and its pristine beaches to the heart of the Andes. And it just takes a one and a half hour flight to reach the unique Galapagos Islands. Ecuador offers the voyagers a magic kaleidoscope of colours, sights and a host of memorable experiences.
EQUATOR & ECUADOR
Crossed by the equator (hence its name), the mainland of Ecuador is located on the northwest of South America and borders with Colombia to the north, Peru to the South and East, and the Pacific Ocean to the West. The enchanted Galapagos Islands located 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west are also crossed by the equator.
The continental mass of Ecuador, covering approximately 256,000 Km2 (99,000 square miles) is longitudinally (north/south) divided in 3 natural regions: the lowlands of the Pacific Coast to the West, the Andean Region in the middle, and the Amazon Rainforest to the East. The fourth geographical area of the country is the Galapagos Archipelago.
Politically, the country is divided in 24 provinces with local capitals and governments. Scroll down to the bottom to see a map showing these provinces and our four-region division.