Fascinating facts about Ecuador…

Look at all these iguanas sharing space on these lava rocks in the Galapagos Islands!

Sorry,, but yesterday was a hard day for me, and i didn’t upload a post. Here we go for today.

Unfortunately, while I continue to work on an appropriate drug regime for my non-stop Afib, there is no way we could consider sightseeing. Right now, walking is not on my radar when it only worsens matters. As I read through the Ecuadorian facts listed below, I’m disappointed that this is my fate right now. It would have been fun to go on a cruise on the Amazon River to see some of these locations, which was our original plan.

Nonetheless, I felt it was vital to share details about this country while we are here. Still, we aren’t sure where we’ll go from here, although possibilities are on our minds, all based on how I feel in a few months. As mentioned in prior posts, we return to the cardiologist on November 22 to perhaps begin a new series of medications.

In the interim, we’re making the best of our situation, busy throughout the days and relaxing in the evenings when we hunker down to relax and enjoy some mindless entertainment. We’ve figured out how to enjoy good dinners, and Tom, as usual, is a big help in the kitchen.

A blue-footed booby sitting in the rocks with blue feet tucked away.

After research, I stumbled across these interesting facts about Ecuador, and today is the perfect day to share them, especially since we don’t have new photos to post. Here they are from this site:

“Ecuador Facts: 10 Fascinating Things You Didn’t Know

1. Ecuador means “equator” in Spanish.

It may not surprise you that the country is called this because the equator runs through it. The country’s official name is ‘República del Ecuador’ (Republic of the Equator). In fact, Ecuador is the only country in the world named after a geographical feature.

Just outside Quito, there is a famous monument named the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world) to mark the equatorial line. In fact, the monument is actually about 240 meters from the actual equator, but it’s still a nice visit. There is a museum there and a few market-style shops and restaurants to wander about. It is also possible to climb the monument and take in the views of Ecuador from above. An interactive museum to mark the “real” equator is just down the road. (Although the equator is 5 kilometers wide, both museums are on the equator, and only one is in the center of it.)

2. Yasuni Park is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet.

This protected Ecuadorian National Park and Biosphere Reserve are located deep in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon. It is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, home to species that are entirely unique to the lands. Ecuador has more tree, amphibian, and bat species in only 100km than anywhere else.

As well as the hundreds of tree species, amphibians, reptiles, and small animals (such as Pocket Monkeys or Jaguarundi-small lions found only in the Americas), there are also much larger animals, like the Green Anaconda (factually, Ecuador has the largest snake in the world) and big cats, such as the jaguar to be found.

There is also a huge amount of crude oil in the park. This remains untapped due to a pledge made in 2007 by the President at the time, Rafael Correa. The pledge promised to protect the park and its resources.

3. The Galapagos Islands inspired the Theory of Evolution.

The Galapagos Islands are famous thanks to Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. The theory is centered around the finches of the islands. Darwin examined the way that the same species of bird had evolved differently on the 21 different islands of the Galapagos. It is a fact of Ecuador that Darwin’s research put them “on the map.”

The islands are a remote area found six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador. Teaming with rare and unique wildlife, as much as 20% of the creatures are exclusive to the islands. The wealth of this pristine site makes the Galapagos Islands one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Ecuador is a must-visit for all nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

4. Chocolate has a long history in Ecuador.

Cacao has been grown in South and Central America for centuries. It has long been a staple of Ecuador’s national and cultural heritage, often used for its anti-inflammatory properties and other medical benefits. Research shows that chocolate has been consumed here for nearly 5,000 years. Recent studies have indicated that Ecuador might even be the original source of cacao.

As the demand for high-quality chocolate has increased, so has the in-country production. Today, Ecuador is recognized as the producer of the highest quality cacao in the world. It is also one of the largest exporters, producing as much as 80% of fine cacao beans. Despite this, Ecuadorians eat only 300-800 grams of the stuff on average per year, whereas countries like Germany consume 9 kilos per person yearly.

5. Ecuador is where to find orchid flowers.

Ecuador is known as the orchid capital of the world. It has over 4,000 species of these beautiful plants. With over 25,000 plant species worldwide, the orchid is the most varied of them all. It also boasts some of the greatest levels of diversity within the species ranges. Some of the varieties flower for half a year, and some for mere hours. Some of the flowers can even live up to 100 years old. No wonder they’re the world’s most popular houseplant! You can find these plants in Cuenca!

6. Ecuador has some of the finest colonial architecture in the Americas.

The Architecture of Ecuador has seen a lot of influences over the years, the larger cities especially. In the center of Quito, there is the Old Town. The Old Town is one of Ecuador’s first UNESCO-protected sites (along with the Galapagos). It was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an Incan city. The town and its buildings have survived many earthquakes and have Latin America’s best-preserved Spanish Colonial architecture. The city still has many indigenous elements and European inputs, making it a beautiful place to visit.

7. Bananas are an important food product in Ecuador.

Bananas are an undeniable staple of Ecuadorian diets and cuisine. With around 300 different types of bananas growing in the country, supply meets the demand. Here, there truly is a banana for every occasion.

For the last 60 years, Ecuador has been one of the world’s largest fruit producers, producing 25% of the world’s bananas, missing out on the top production spot to India. However, they remain the biggest exporter of sweet bananas to Europe (the climate in Europe is incompatible with the growth of our yellow friends).

8. Ecuador is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

This is one of the best Ecuador facts for nature lovers. Ecuador has more birds per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. With 1632 different confirmed species and 48 more hypothetical, there are plenty of feathers to flap. They also hold the world record for the number of hummingbird species, with an incredible 132 (out of 340) different types of birds calling the country home. Hummingbirds can only be found in the Americas. They are also the smallest bird, with the highest metabolism, in the world. In fact, their metabolism is so high that they have to enter a hibernation-like state every night. This is called torpor and done to conserve the birds’ energy.

9. Ecuador’s different regions are truly unique.

Ecuador has four distinct regions: the Mountains, The Coast, The Amazon, and the famous Galapagos Islands.

Each region has its unique culture; everything from clothes to food varies. In Fact, even languages used vary in Ecuador- particularly in rural indigenous communities. Much of this depends on the materials readily available to the people and how communities have developed to utilize them. For example, coastal food is very coconut and fish-based. However, the food from the mountain settlements is much more likely to be cuy (guinea pig) and corn.

The differences have lessened gradually over time. With the increased amount and quality of transport between mountain and coast (car instead of llama, roads instead of dirt paths) it has become much easier for people to share their goods. Language has also become much more standardized as Spanish has become more predominant in the country over regional languages like Kichwa.

10. Ecuador Has the Real Space Mountain (this is one of our favorite Ecuador facts).

One of Ecuador’s most surprising facts is that the country is home to the closest point on Earth to space. Mount Chimborazo is the highest mountain on Earth… sort of. The Earth is not a perfect sphere, bulging around the equator… In fact, Ecuador sits right on the bulge. (This is also why you are more likely to get sunburnt in equatorial countries). At its peak, Ecuador’s highest mountain, Mount Chimborazo, is the furthest point from the Earth’s center. Although from sea level, Mount Everest still takes the cake.”

A giant tortoise from our time in The Galapagos.

With a base 20 kilometers wide and a peak of 6263 meters, this inactive volcano can be seen from a staggering 140 kilometers away in Ecuador’s biggest city, Guayaquil.”

As we go along in the next few months, we’ll include more interesting facts about Ecuador, especially appealing to those who may be considering becoming expats and moving to this country or visiting at some point in the future.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, November 15, 2013:

We’re not as tidy as we used to be, but there is no cupboard space for food. None of these items will be packed to travel with us. For more photos, please click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *