Fun Facts About Ecuador

Here you will find not one, but several curious facts about Ecuador that make it a unique place in the world.

The debate of scientists that gave us a name

Something that a lot of people don’t remember nowadays, but of enormous importance in the scientific and academic world of the time, was the so-called Geodesic Mission, ordered by King Louis XV in 1753 to the French Academy. This Mission was destined to Cuenca, Viceroyalty of Peru, with the aim of determining the shape and roundness of the Earth and finally solving the controversy. It became a matter of state between the English physicist Isaac Newton and the French thinker René Descartes.

Something that today is as simple as determining our position using a GPS or a cell phone, in 1753 it became the most rugged and complex adventure of the time, which lasted more than nine years and involved crossing the Amazon and climbing the Andes to determine how much a degree of latitude measured at the equator.

To set up the measuring triangles, the geodesic scientists had to climb some of the highest peaks in the world, such as the Cotopaxi volcano (5,900 m). Just taking the first step, which involved climbing the Pichincha mountain (4,700 m), took them 4 months, and they still needed 25 more mountains. This is something that today visitors and mountaineers can do in minutes with the cable car that has the city of Quito.

The Expedition brought to the world scientific and technological advances like the use of wax from rubber, the analysis of the properties of quinine or the bases of the metric system, aspects that have led to the development of technology and to the saving of millions of lives around the world.

One of the most surprising aspects of the mission, which had enormous impacts on the development of Latin American societies, is the influence of the nationalist ideas that led to the so-called First Cry of Independence of Quito on August 10, 1809. The relevance and influence of the Mission was such that the Creole elites, when deciding the name for the Republic, defined themselves as Ecuador.

The most bio-diverse space on earth

If we have to talk about biodiversity, something that must have surprised Geodesicists is the Amazon and its forest. The National System of Protected Areas of Ecuador (SNAP), covers 18,401,927 hectares which correspond to 13.64% of the national territory of Ecuador, divided into 11 national parks. The Yasuní National Park, for example, is one of the most biodiverse areas on earth. Studies speak of 150 species of amphibians, 121 species of reptiles, 598 species of birds, 169 (confirmed) and 204 (estimated) of mammals. In flora, it is estimated that there are about 3100 species. This park has more species of animals per hectare than all Europe combined.

Spain in the Andes: Colonial Haciendas

If a visitor wants to know and delve into the history of the last 500 years of Ecuador, he or she can do so through an entertaining trip to the colonial haciendas of the Ecuadorian highlands. These farmhouses bring the European architectural heritage and merge it with the landscape of the valleys, with varied climatic floors, surrounded by the imposing mountains of the Andes.

The haciendas allowed the development of the local economy through social relations and power that marked a history in many cases of abuse and exploitation of the indigenous population, aspects that have been collected in novels of global importance such as Huasipungo by Ecuadorian author Jorge Icaza. Haciendas like Zuleta, Piman, El Porvenir and many others, today converted into modern, comfortable, and welcoming accommodations in the rural areas of Ecuador, open the door not only to the fresh air and to the peaceful landscapes of the Andean nature, but also to travel back in time and experience the splendor that characterize these places.

Orchids and Chocolate

Orchids are the plants that present the most varieties of all. There are more than 4,000 species of orchids in Ecuador. For lovers of these flowers, Cuenca is the best city to visit.

But if there is one thing that Ecuador is known for worldwide, it is for its fine cocoa, raw material for chocolate that is the passion of millions of people of all ages around the world. Ecuador is the producer of the highest quality cocoa in the world and visiting its plantations in the Amazon, on the coast and in the foothills of the Ecuadorian Sierra, is a unique experience recommended for any traveler.

Adventure, Archaeology, and the Jungle

Ecuador is one of the countries that has managed to preserve the vestiges of important pre-Inca civilizations in the Sierra, the Coast, and the Amazon. Tourists who want to delve into the magical pre-Inca world, not only can find places like Tulipe, just 2 hours from Quito, or the ruins of Cochasquí, but also go into hidden places that call for adventure and the discovery of mystical scenery such as the Agua Blanca commune in Machalilla National Park of Manabí.

Distances are not a problem

One of the biggest advantages of visiting the relatively small Ecuadorian territorial space, is that it would allow a visitor to have breakfast in the Amazon, have lunch in the mountains and enjoy the sunset on the sunny Ecuadorian coastal beaches, all in the same day.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are the cherry on the cake of this beautiful and wonderful country, and speaking or trying to describe its beauty, does not sympathize with the experience it represents for the visitor.

What remains to be discovered? The best-preserved historical center of Latin America, the culinary delights of the typical dishes of the three regions of Ecuador, the observation of the birds, the highest snowfalls in the world, etc., etc.…

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