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ACADEMIA DE ESPAÑOL MUNDO ANDINO


ECUADOR TRAVEL GUIDE

ECUADOR INTRODUCCION

    Official name: Republic of Ecuador
    Capital: Quito
    Population: 14 million
    Currency: US dollar
    Official language: Spanish, Kichwa, Shuar
    Date of independence, or formation date: 1830
    Date when current borders were established: 1941
    National day: Aug 10
    Vehicle country identifying code: EC
    Time zone (hours plus or minus from GMT): -5
    International telephone dialling code: +593
    Internet country identifying code: .ec
    Ecuador Flag - Ecuador Travel Guide Ecuador Shield - Ecuador Travel Guide

 

Ecuador, 256,370 square kilometers in size, is geographically divided into four regions (the Amazon, the Highlands, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands). Falling on both sides of the equator, Ecuador has territories in both the northern and southern hemispheres and is one the planet’s top 17 most biologically diverse nations. With ecosystems existing from sea level to an altitude of approximately 6400m, Ecuador is home to rain forests, jungles, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. One of its main attractions is the Galapagos Archipelago and its marine reserve, which contain species unique to the area.

 

Sitting on the equator between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean nations, covering an area no bigger than Nevada. For all its diminutive size, however, the country is packed with startling contrasts of scenery, from steaming tropical rainforests and windswept highlands to ice-capped volcanoes and palm-fringed beaches, all within easy reach of the capital, Quito. In this land of bold contours and bright colours, you can find yourself beneath a canopy of dripping vegetation amongst clouds of neon-coloured butterflies one day, and in a highland market mixing with scarlet-ponchoed indígenas the next.

It's also a country of astounding biodiversity, boasting some 1600 species of bird (more per square kilometre than any other South American country), 4500 butterflies and more than 3500 orchids (a greater number than any country on Earth). Add to this a considerable historic and cultural legacy, stunning colonial architecture and a diverse array of indigenous groups, and it's easy to see why Ecuador is often regarded as a microcosm of South America. Perhaps the country's greatest attractions, though, are the Galápagos Islands, whose extraordinary wildlife played a pivotal role in shaping Charles Darwin's theories on evolution.

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Map of Ecuador

Useful Links

Official Quito Website
Official Ecuador Website
Google Maps Satellite View of Ecuador
Google Maps Satellite View of Quito
Google Maps Satellite View of Galapagos
Google Maps Satellite View of Cuenca
Google Maps Satellite View of Guayaquil
Wikipedia Entry on Quito
Wikipedia Entry on Galapagos
Wikipedia Entry on Cuenca
Wikipedia Entry on Riobamba
Wikipedia Entry on Otavalo
Wikipedia Entry on Guayaquil
Lonely Planet Quito
Lonely Planet Cuenca
Lonely Planet Galapagos
Lonely Planet Otavalo
Lonely Planet Puerto Lopez
Lonely Planet Guayaquil
Lonely Planet Riobamba
Lonely Planet MIsahualli
South American Explorers Quito / Ecuador
British Foreign Office Ecuador Advice
US State Department advice on Ecuador

 

QUITO INTRODUCCION

 

Quito, the capital city, is the central hub of Ecuador and the starting point for all other destinations in the country. In a beautiful setting at an altitude of 9,350ft (2,850m), nestled in the Andes Mountains and the snow-capped 15,728ft (4,794m) Pichincha volcano, the city of Quito is a vibrant amalgam of modern business executives and the traditional culture of the 'indígenas', or local Andean people.

 

 

The city is divided into two areas: the Old Town, declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, with its history and the architectural influence of the Spanish evident in the red-tiled roofs and balconies of the houses lining steep, cobblestone streets; and the more tourist-oriented New Town with its shopping centres, hotels, embassies and travel agencies.

Quito is the cultural centre of the country. Indígenas make up a large proportion of the population and evidence of their culture is all over the city, from the handicrafts displayed on street corners and ramshackle shops selling traditional everyday goods, to the women in thick woollen clothing and felt hats queuing for bus tickets; the Quechuan language pervades the streets and central plazas (squares) throughout the city.

A city rich in historical churches, monasteries, convents and museums containing a wealth of religious paintings and sculpture dating back to the 16th century, there are also a few museums worth visiting in Quito, like the Museo del Banco Central with beautiful pre-Colombian artefacts, the ethno-historical Museo Mindalae, and the contemporary art museum Museo Guayasamin.

Quito is a beautiful city with natural settings to enjoy, like the tranquillity of the Botanical Gardens with their glassed orchid houses; and the magnificent views from the Pichincha Volcano, which can be accessed by hiking or via the Telerifico, the world's second-highest cable car.

 

Points of Interest in Quito

 

La Ronda Street in Old Town Quito

 

One of the oldest and most historic streets in Quito, La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place. Walking down La Ronda is like walking into eighteenth century Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. The narrow, pedestrian-only road is lined by remnants of the city’s Spanish influence - narrow wooden doors opening into homes built around interior stone patios, wrought-iron balconies where geraniums hang from window baskets and whitewashed walls.

Plaza de la Independencia

The square, also known as Plaza Grande, has always been the heart of the city, and as the hub of the old centre it is the best place to sit and people-watch. Around the square are the Cathedral, the City Hall, the Government Palace and the Archbishop's Palace, the most notable municipal and religious buildings in the city. The cathedral, the oldest church in South America, is one of the city's most impressive historical and architectural sites. Both the Government Palace and the cathedral were scenes of shocking murders; in 1875 President García Moreno was murdered by machete, and in 1877 Bishop of Quito was poisoned during a Good Friday Mass.

Plaza San Francisco

 

The plaza is a large cobbled square with the western side completely dominated by the enormous façade of the Iglesia de San Francisco and its belltower, and the Monastery of the same name. It is a peaceful place, without the shady benches full of people and the business of Plaza de la Independencia. Inside the church are chapels gilded in gold, splendid altars and many religious paintings and carvings produced by the Quito School. The Monastery holds some priceless examples of Spanish sculpture and art. It is the biggest religious compound in South America with seven courtyards and buildings stretching behind the church, which only become evident once the visitor has ventured through the stone doorway of the main entrance.

Museo del Banco Central

One of the few sights in the New City is the round walled Casa de la Cultura. It houses a theatre, a cinema and two museums, the more impressive being the Museo del Banco Central. Ecuador's premiere museum, it contains an astonishing collection of religious art, Columbian ceramics and pre-Hispanic gold, and a huge archaeological repertoire. Of interest are the ceramics of the La Tolita society (600 BC to 400 AD), the Gigantes de Bahía, the Sala de Oro filled with gold, and the Sala de Arte Colonial, packed with religious paintings and sculpture.

La Virgen del Panecillo

In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 41 m tall aluminum monument of a madonna to be assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo, a hill overlooking all of Quito. The monument was inaugurated on March 28, 1976, by the 11th archbishop of Quito, Pablo Muñoz Vega.
The people of Quito proudly claim that their virigin is the only one in the world with wings like an angel. The monument was inspired by the famous "Virgen de Quito" (Quito's Madonna) also known as "the dancer", sculpted by Bernardo de Legarda in 1734, which now decorates the main altar at the Church of St. Francisco.

Telefériqo (cable car)

Quito's cable car, known as the "Telefériqo," travels from the city center to the hill known as Cruz Loma on the east side of the Pichincha volcano. The ride takes visitors to an altitude of about 4100 m and to a number of restaurants, coffee shops and stores in addition to numerous hiking trails.
Besides the cable car to Cruz Loma, the Telefériqo also houses an amusement park (Vulqano Park), restaurants, Go Karting, Paint Ball, shopping malls and other attractions.

El Mitad del Mundo

(The Middle of the World) is a purpose-built complex of museums and shops that was constructed to mark the equator, the line that gives the country its name. The 96-foot (30m) high Equator Monument is the focus of the square, topped by a brass sphere representing the world, from where a painted line stretches out on either side marking the equator that divides the world, and the complex, into northern and southern hemispheres. Also on the square is a set of weighing scales to illustrate the fact that one loses a bit of weight on the equator, being further from the centre of the planet's gravity than usual. An anthropological museum has interesting displays of Ecuador's indigenous populations and their customs, and there is a scenic lookout at the top.

Shopping

Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal. This well-known and much visited market in Quito is a small but well organized market filled with several permanent stalls that is especially buzzing on Saturday afternoons. Strikingly colorful pottery, rugs and eye-catching Incanesque jewelry made by indigenous artisans from across Ecuador are sold in independent boutiques, many of which support local groups. You can find plenty of craft items including handmade woolen clothing, wood carvings, jewelry, hand manufactured wind instruments and more. This is the place to go for souvenirs and gifts in Quito.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Locals and tourists alike throng to the Andean and folkloric dance performances in Quito's many theaters and cultural centers. Opera, ballet and music grace the white-pillared Teatro Nacional Sucre and the Teatro Bolívar, and the Ecuador National Symphony Orchestra hops between different venues every week. Shake your hips to salsa or infectious reggaeton music in the jam-packed bars and clubs of the La Mariscal neighborhood, where a night of dancing can last until daybreak.

Restaurants and Dining

Sample the warming (some say soporific) Ecuadorean home cooking, where lamb stew, creamy cheese and potato soup and avocado- and corn-heavy plates of grilled chicken and fried pork ensure contented, sleepy smiles. Otherwise, you'll have no trouble finding pasta, pizza, and other international flavors. Dine out in elegant courtyard restaurants and converted colonial houses in the Old Town or more casually in the New Town's international eateries. North of New Town, many upmarket favorites serve everything from French to Japanese.

 

 


 

Mundo Andino Spanish Language School In Otavalo Ecuador South America / Otavalo Spanish School in Ecuador

About us - Spanish School in Otavalo

Academy Spanish “MUNDO ANDINO” in Otavalo Ecuador
The Academia, established in 1998, which specialises in teaching Spanish as a second language to foreign students. Read More..

Host Family in Ecuador

The Housing - "Host family in Otavalo"
Students have the option of living with an Ecuadorian family. Families have been carefully selected and they have experience in welcoming students to their homes. Read More..

CONTACT US

Address: Bolívar 8-16 y Abdón Calderón, Third Floor
Phonefax:
(+593-6) 2921 864
Cell: 24/24H - 0987370714
Email: espanol@interactive.net.ec
espanol@interactive.net.ec
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