About Ecuador - Quick Facts

Submitted by Peter R. on Sun, 09/12/2010 - 20:39

Travel and Tourism Facts

  • In 2005 the National Geographic Society named Ecuador as one of the top ten countries in the world to do adventure and nature tourism.

Biodiversity Facts


  • In the Ecuadorian Amazon, which represents just 2% of the whole basin, live 1/3 of all the bird species in the entire Amazon region and 10% of all the tree species on earth.

  • Although Ecuador has a relatively small size (256,595 km2, 0.19% of the world's surface), it possesses 1,640 bird species (2nd place in the world), 402 species of amphibians (3rd place in the world), 347 species of reptiles (8th place in the world), 4,500 species of butterflies (7th place in the world), 369 species of mammals, 800 species of marine fishes and 16,087 species of vascular plants, including 2725 species of orchids. Hence, given its area, Ecuador is the most bio-diverse country in the world (Source: Conservation International and Macro Magazine).

  • Ecuador has more than 720 species of fish.

  • Ecuador has 290 species of snakes and 30% of these are poisonous.

  • Ecuador is the most diverse country in the world per square kilometer.


  • Ecuador has more than 17,000 species of vascular plants.

  • Ecuador has 4187 species of orchids which accounts for 24% of the total vascular plants found in the country.

  • Ecuador has the only tropical dry forest of South America, which is located in Machalilla National Park.

Cultural and Historical Facts

  • Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was the first Cultural Heritage Site of Humanity, declared so by the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization) in 1978.

  • The city of Cuenca was declared a Cultural Heritage Site of Humanity in 1999 by the UNESCO. This city is also known as the "Athens of Ecuador".

  • The city of Zaruma, in El Oro province in Southern Ecuador, is a National Monument and has been nominated to become a Cultural Heritage Site of Humanity.

  • The city of Loja won 3rd place in an UN contest known as Nations in Bloom, which awarded prizes to the most environmentally friendly cities of the world.

National Parks & Protected Areas

  • The Puyango Petrified Forest has 2658 hectares and here we find fossils of 70 and 100 million years. This park is one of the largest petrified forests in the world.

  • The Podocarpus National Park was established in 1982 in order to preserve the podocarpus tree, the only native conifer of Ecuador.

  • The Machalilla National Park, has the only tropical dry forest of South America.

  • The Sangay National Park was declared a Natural Heritage Site of Humanity by the UNESCO in 1983. This park has 324 lagoons and 3 volcanos: Altar, Tungurahua and Sangay.

  • The Yasuni National Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1989 by the UNESCO. This park has the highest biodiversity of Ecuador. Around 500 species of birds (30% of the birds of Ecuador) have been found. This park is also the homeland of the Huaorani, an Ecuadorian indigenous nation.

  • The Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador and they were declared a Natural Heritage Site of Humanity by the UNESCO in 1978. The Galapagos is the first ever natural area to receive this mention. In 1985 these islands were declared by the UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve. The Galapagos Archipelago has 13 islands and 42 isles.


  • The "paramo" is a natural ecosystem that is found along the Andes between 3300 and 4700 meters above sea level (masl) or in other terms this ecosystem is found between the tree line and the snow line. Here we find 88 species of birds and 60% of Ecuador's endemic plants.

  • The Ecuadorian Amazonia is located in the eastern part of the country between 180 and 1000 masl. This is the most diverse region of Ecuador.

  • The Chocó Region is the second region of Ecuador with the highest bio-diversity. This region is located in the north-western part of the country.

  • El Cajas National Park is under study to be declared a National Heritage Site of Humanity.

  • The Sangay volcano has 5230 meters of altitude.

  • The Antisana volcano has 5740 meters of altitude.

  • The Altar volcano has 5320 meters of altitude.

  • Mount Chimborazo has 6310 meters of altitude and along the equatorial region of the world, it is the highest protruding point of the planet.

  • The Cotopaxi volcano, with 5897 meters in altitude, is the highest active volcano of the world.