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Galapagos

Mindo

Quito

ECUADOR

SOUTH AMERICA
La Mitad del Mundo, equator, Ecuador
La Mitad del Mundo

Ecuador was part of the Inca Empire in the 1400s when the Spanish arrived.  It is officially known as the Republic of Ecuador and became a presidential deomcracy in 1830.  It has a population of more than 15 million and is more than 90% Spanish.  The country is bordered by Colombia to the north, the Pacific Ocean to its west and by Peru for the remainder its border.  Ecuador also owns the Galapagos Islands, about 1,000 km or 600 miles offshore.  The most common airline route to the Galapagos is through Quito and then Guayaquil.  Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, while Quito is its capital.  The country straddles the equator and water will enter a drain spout without spinning from a location exactly on the equator, such as the Museo de Sitio de Intinan at La Mitad del Mundo.

The climate of Ecuador cannot be generalized, as it is greatly influenced by elevation and position relative to the Andes mountain chain.  Quito, at an elevation of  over 9,000 feet has a very different climate than Mindo on the descent from the Andes to the Pacific.  The Galapagos is located on an equatorial Pacific island.  Regardless of location in Ecuador, though, the length of daylight will not vary with the seasons due to the proximity to the equator. 

Visas and Travel Documentation:

For most countries, there is no requirement to obtain a tourist visa for visits under 90 days to Ecuador.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.  For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.  An immigration document is issued, but unlike Peru, there is no need to provide the document at hotels during your stay.  An exit fee in cash was charged in the past, but as of 2012 this fee is incorporated into the cost of airline tickets.  This makes for a much more efficient and less frantic airport departre. 

Currency:

Travelers will be interested to note that the $US is the official currency of Ecuador.

Water:

Don't drink tap water anywhere in Ecuador.  Some documentation indicates it may be safe in some cities, but it is not worth the risk.  Bottled water is readily available throughout the country, even in the more remote locations.

Toilet Paper:

The general rule for Ecuador is the toilet paper is not put in the toilet.  There are a few exceptions.  Most of the time directions are posted in bathrooms indicating that toilet paper should not be put in the toilet.


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