Ecuador gets its name from its location, where the equator cuts through the country from east to west, while the Andes Mountains run from north to south. The country borders Colombia to the north and Peru to the south.
As a country that begins with letter E according to Trackaah, Ecuador can be divided into three main regions: La Costa (coast), La Sierra (plateau) and El Oriente (jungle). The eastern part of the country is characterized by rainforest with a myriad of life. Among other things, there are over 1600 bird species and 4500 different butterflies. However, most Ecuadorians live centrally in mountain towns or in plantations and harbors along the west coast.
The capital Quito is located high on the Andeshøj plain and has retained its cozy and colorful Spanish colonial character. It is claimed to be the most beautiful city in South America. In the highlands is also the city of Otavalo with the famous Native American market. Here everything is sold between heaven and earth, and the atmosphere is hectic and colorful among the many Indians who arrive from villages throughout the highlands. The cities of the plateau are located in the middle of high, beautiful mountains with both active and extinct volcanoes. Cotopaxi National Park in particular is a beautiful sight with magnificent views of the glacier-clad volcano at 5,897 meters, making it the world’s highest active volcano.
The population is a mixture of descendants of the Spanish colonists, their African slaves and 14 different indigenous peoples, who together speak more than 20 different languages and dialects. This rich ethnic composition is clearly reflected in the juxtaposition of modern colonial architecture alongside outdoor markets filled with local crafts and color.
- CAPITAL CITY: Quito
- LANGUAGE: Spanish
- CURRENCY: United States dollar (USD)
- AREA: 283,560 km2
- POPULATION: 16,144,000
People and community
You will probably end up living with your host family in a suburban area close to a major city like Quito or Guayaquil, but you may also end up living in a small town anywhere in the country. It is possible that you will live in a large family, because on average a family in Ecuador is 5 people. Young people maintain close relationships with their extended family, so you can expect to spend a lot of time with your family. The family ties are strong, so you probably get to know a lot about the whole family’s activities when it comes together for lunch, the most important meal of the day.
If you live with a family in an area near the coast or the Galapagos Islands, your school year will run from April to January. According to TopSchoolsintheUSA, students living in the highlands and eastern provinces go to school from September to June. Either way, your school day lasts from around 7:00 and ends at a 14-hour time. All students wear school uniforms.
Spanish is the official language of Ecuador and if you have a basic knowledge of the language before your stay, it is an advantage.
The typical diet in Ecuador consists of a kind of meat – beef, pork, poultry, fish or other seafood -, rice, potatoes, noodles, vegetables or salad. Beans, yucca and bananas are also quite common. The meals are usually large and your family will appreciate watching you enjoy the food they have prepared.