Covering 192,279 sq. miles, Ecuador is the smallest of the Andean countries and contains some of the most varied geography in South America. There are four distinct regions: the Andean highlands, the Coast tropical plain, the Amazon basin, and Galapagos Islands, situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 Km. (620 miles) due west from the mainland. The capital city of Ecuador is Quito.
Among more than 12 million citizens, those who live in highland cities are mixture of European and Indian stock. Most of the Indian people live in the small settlements mountain or in the Amazon regions. Along the coast the mix is Indian, European and African.
Ecuador has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua, the lingua franca of the Inca Empire. English is spoken in major visitor centers.
Climate & Clothing
Even though Quito and the central highlands are near to the equator line, the altitude is between 7,000 and 10,000 ft. and the weather is surprisingly comfortable all year around.
The driest months run from July to October with 70ºF (average temperature) during the day, and 50ºF at night. During the rest of the year expect some afternoon showers. On the coast, the average temperature is 83ºF, with the hot-rainy season from november to may. The dry season is from june to december. Wear cotton or tropical clothing with a shawl, sweater or light jacket for cooler evenings and air conditioned restaurants. A sun hat and sun glasses are recommended.
In the jungle, tropical temperatures average around 82ºF. Rainfall is constant almost all year around, especially from may to november. However, at this time, most of the rivers in the jungle are navigable.