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25 Fun and Interesting Facts About Ecuador for 2024

25 Fun and Interesting Facts About Ecuador for 2024

Ecuador is a small and yet incredibly ecologically diverse country in South America. Here, you will find stunning coastal landscapes, towering mountains and volcanoes, fertile valleys, and the rich rainforests of the Amazon.

But it’s not just natural beauty here. Ecuador is beloved for many reasons, including its history and fascinating culture.

This was, after all, an important home for the Incan Empire and many of the customs from their great civilization continue on today. Continue reading to learn more about the multifaceted country of Ecuador.

25 Fun Facts About Ecuador

Ecuador is a land of many surprises and unique features, like towering Andean volcanoes and the diverse Galápagos Islands, that set it far apart from others.

Within this small coastal country, you will find ancient ruins as well as progressive structures such as the world’s very first green airport.

There’s a lot to see and do here, and we hope the following list of 25 fun facts works to showcase the essence of Ecuador, and that its uniqueness inspires you to see the country’s many fantastic wonders for yourself!

1. It’s Named After a Geographical Feature

A map with a flag of Ecuador pinned on its location, an image for an item on the list of facts about Ecuador.


Ecuador is one of the very few countries in the world named after a specific feature. In Spanish, Ecuador’s official name is Republica del Ecuador which translates to “Republic of the Equator”.

Which yes, Ecuador means equator and this country was named such because that imaginary line runs right through the country.

2. Multilingual Population & Culture

Spanish is the official language of Ecuador, but this country also supports its native cultures and peoples with its 13 recognized indigenous languages. In fact, the second most popular language spoken here is Kichwa, the once prominent language of the Incan Empire.

3. Home to the Cotopaxi Volcano

One of the tallest active volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi, is located in the Andes Mountains where the range cuts north-south through Ecuador. Cotopaxi has erupted at least 87 times, the last of which took place from August 2015 to January 2016.

4. Adopted the US Dollar

Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency back in 2000 as a way to combat repeated cycles of inflation. This makes them one of only 11 countries to do so (including nearby Panama) and can ease travel between those countries and the United States.

5. Inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

A large tortoise standing on a coastal rock of the Galapagos Island in Ecuador, an image for an item on the list of facts about Ecuador.


Located to the west of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands and their unique wildlife are what famed scientist Charles Darwin credited for inspiring his Theory of Evolution.

He only spent five weeks here and yet spectacular animal species like the Galápagos finches offered unique insights into adaptive radiation and got his wheels really turning on how everything came to be.

6. Considered by Some as the Most Biodiverse Country

Ecuador’s landscapes are truly unique as while the country only exists as 0.2% of the planet’s landmass, it contains the most plant and animal species per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world.

This is largely thanks to it having three distinct and unique mainland bioregions as well as the very special Galápagos Islands.

7. Capital City That Sits Higher Than Any Other

Ecuador’s capital city of Quito lies within a volcanic valley and yet it still sits higher than any other capital city on the planet. Quito, whose full official name is San Francisco de Quito, sits an incredible 2,850 meters above sea level.

It is believed to have been first settled as early as 4,400 BC, making the city also an incredible historic location.

8. True Origin of Panama Hats

Despite the name, the finely woven straw hats known as Panama Hats actually originated in Ecuador. Communities along the coastal areas of Ecuador originally used the fibers from local palm trees to create these hats, which quickly became very popular among the Spaniards during colonialism.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the hats were shipped to Panama before being sold throughout North America and Europe which led to them improperly being named Panama Hats and not Ecuador Hats.

9. Leader in Banana Exports

Pile of bananas placed above wooden crates matted with cardboard boxes, ready for export from Ecuador as one of the leading exporters of bananas, one of the facts about the country.


Ecuador has a climate and geography that is very favorable to banana cultivation and this small country has risen to become the world’s leading exporter of bananas because of it.

Sometimes, the Philippines and Costa Rica will wrestle that title from them, but more often than not it is Ecuador who is shipping out the most of the highly lauded Cavendish bananas to hungry consumers around the world.

10. One-of-a-kind Thrilling Train Route

There’s a very special, thrill-inducing line of track between Ecuador’s Quito and Guayaquil cities.

Called the Devil’s Nose Train Route, this route takes train passengers across rocky ravines, dense cloud forests, over and beside whitewater river sections, and, most notably, zigs and zigs around some steep Andes Mountain tracks.

The switchbacks are pretty hair-raising and certainly earn the route its name as this is not a train ride for the faint of heart.

11. Special New Year’s Eve Tradition

In Ecuador, New Year’s Eve is a big event. You might think of it as a combination of Halloween, Christmas, and an Independence Day celebration all rolled up into one.

The whole country celebrates with dancing, feasting, and a tradition called Los Años Viejos, which translates to “the old years”.

This tradition involves the burning of paper mache dolls or effigies in a large symbolic gesture of ridding oneself of the previous year’s troubles and preparing for a new year.

12. Straddles the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Remember that bit about Ecuador being named after the Equator? Well, this also means that visitors and residents can stand at various parts of the country with one foot on the Northern Hemisphere and one foot on the Southern Hemisphere.

The Mitad del Munda Monument offers a very picturesque place to do so.

13. First to Recognize the Rights of Nature

A deep waterfalls with a very turbulent flow, where at the opposite , a concrete stairs can be seen integrated in the rocks for sight seeing, an image for a guide on the list of facts about Ecuador.

Fabricio Burbano/Shutterstock

In 2008, Ecuador became the very first nation in the world to codify the Rights of Nature within its constitution. Written as Articles 10 and 71-74, this Rights of Nature officially recognizes the inalienable rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish.

These articles include provisions that give citizens the right to petition in the name of nature and ecosystems and requires the national government to react to all judged violations of those rights.

Since being enacted, these articles have blocked certain mining contracts and oil development in the Amazon Rainforest.

14. Annual Celebrations Tied to a Historic Incan Ceremony

Ecuadorians love their festivals and one of the biggest and oldest of such festivals happens every year on June 24. The Inti Raymi or “Sun Festival” is an Incan tradition that celebrates the winter solstice, which is the day in which the Sun is farthest from the Earth.

Today, this is a national holiday with festivals and parades in just about every community. The biggest, however, takes place at the historic Cusco Center where over 800 entertainers star in a special recreation of the traditional Incan celebration of the Sun God.

15. Best in High Mountain Water Attractions

At least in our opinion, Banos de Agua Santa, more often simply called Banos, is a gorgeous city in the center of Ecuador that offers some of the best water attractions.

As its name suggests, this city has thermal springs that you can swim in at its heart. You’ll also find over 60 waterfalls in and around Banos, making it an excellent place for those who love water.

16. Home of the Beloved Arroba Nacional

Arriba Nacional is the most preferred type of cacao by chocolate makers and big-time enthusiasts thanks to its rich floral aroma and complex taste. This bean is endemic to Ecuador and has remained a major agricultural product and export for the country.

17. World Class Surfing at Montanita

A man skillfully riding large waves while surfing on the ocean Montanita village in Ecuador, known world class surfing experience.

Surfer. Pacific Ocean. Training surfers. Ecuador. The village of Montanita. 03,05,2006year/FOTOGRIN/Shutterstock

Montanita is certainly the surf capital of Ecuador, but many also see it as the best surfing destination in all of South America thanks to its consistent waves and welcoming surf scene.

That scene has really grown in recent years and visitors here can enjoy world-class waves during the day and a hip part scene come sunset.

18. Napo River Offers Amazonian River Adventures

Interested in experiencing the Amazon Rainforest? The rainforest town of Coca located at the confluence of the Napo and Coca Rivers is home to a myriad of river adventures that offer guests a unique glimpse into the Amazon by boat.

19. Most Accessible Clay Licks

The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador offers some of the most accessible and most popular clay licks in all of the greater Amazon Rain Forest.

These clay licks are a popular spot for parakeets and parrots who will come by the hundreds to enjoy the mineral-rich clays. This makes the park a must-go for any bird enthusiast.

20. Home to the World’s First “Green” Airport

Built in 2012, the Galapagos Ecological Airport in Ecuador was the very first airport (and remains one of the only airports) to operate fully on solar and wind power.

Furthermore, this forward-thinking transportation hub was primarily built from recycled materials and features its own desalination plant.

21. Camping Aside One of the Highest Lakes

A very large lake surrounded by mountains, camping on the mountains is one of the things to do in Ecuador, an image for an item on the list of facts about the country.

Jose Road/Shutterstock

Quilotoa Lake in Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Province is located nearly 4,000 meters above sea level. This incredibly high-altitude lake was formed from a collapsed volcano and uniquely sifts color from dark green to crystal blue depending upon weather influences.

Best of all, there are campsites here that offer incredible views of Quilotoa Lake by day and the stars by night.

22. Most Famous Playground Equipment

Well, technically, it’s just one type of equipment that is really famous and that’s a large swing that’s affectionately named the Swing at the End of the World.

Located within Casa del Arbol, this swing hangs from a large tree and offers a thrilling swinging experience over a hill’s edge that opens up to a dramatic backdrop of valleys and ancient volcanoes.

23. Top Destination for Orchid Observation

Ecuador’s unique location, climate, and geographical factors provide the perfect conditions for beautiful floral growth. Here, you will find plantations nurturing over 4,000 orchid species and nearly 400 varieties of roses.

This rich abundance makes Ecuador a top exporter of roses and orchids as well as a top destination for those who want to see the living flowers.

24. Home to the Most Hummingbird Species

With such conditions that are ideal for flowers is it any surprise that one of the most flower-loving animal species also thrives in great numbers here?

Ecuador is home to a record 132 species of hummingbirds, which account for around 40% of the world’s total hummingbird population. You’ll find these gorgeous birds flitting throughout the country’s ten distinct climate regions.

25. Likely Birthplace of Ceviche

A local dish mixed called Ceviche with seafood, vegetables, spices, and lemon prepared on a plate, the origin of this famous dish in Ecuador, a known fact to food lovers.

Larisa Blinova/Shutterstock

Ceviche, a delicious dish consisting of seafood marinated in citrus and other seasonings, is one of the most beloved Ecuadorian ethnic meals. Here, it traditionally comes served with toasted corn kernels, plantain chips, and a spicy pepper sauce known as aji.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Ecuador?

Ecuador is located in northwestern South America with a border running along the Pacific Ocean. It uniquely straddles the equator.

What is the top tourist attraction in Ecuador?

Ecuador is well-known for its ecotourism offering top environmental and ecological attractions like the Galapagos Islands and Amazon Rainforest.

What are cultural customs or etiquette visitors to Ecuador should know?

Ecuadorians are generally polite and hospitable. Greetings generally include handshakes or a polite kiss on the cheek, though overall the custom is more reserved with minimal physical contact among acquaintances.

Whenever entering one’s home, it is customary to bring either a small gift, dessert, or flowers (except for lilies and marigolds which are reserved for funerals).

Is Ecuador safe?

Ecuador has its share of crime but is overall seen as a safe place to live and visit. As with any foreign location, visitors should exercise common-sense precautions when traveling and steer clear of known problem areas.

In Ecuador, unrecommended areas lie primarily near the northern border and in northwestern port cities like Esmeraldas.

What’s the best way to get around Ecuador?

Most Ecuadorians get around by bus and this can be a cheap, reliable method of transportation for visitors — especially between cities. However, we think the best way to travel about Ecuador is by renting a taxi and driver by the day.

This is often affordable and allows for flexibility and personalized travel.

Over to You — Book Your Trip to Ecuador Today!

So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Ecuador has to offer. Happy travels!