Ecuador is famous for its rich and colourful history, stunning Andean landscapes, indigenous traditions and cultural foods. From the Galapagos to the bustling capital of Quito, you’re not short on things to explore. Whether you’re planning a trip or just brushing up on your Ecuadorian trivia, here are the most fascinating facts about Ecuador.
7 Interesting Facts About Ecuador
1. Ecuador is the World’s Largest Exporter of Bananas
The Andean nation holdest first place for the world’s banana exporter. Each year, Ecuador produces more than 6.5 million tonnes of bananas and exports around 5.5 million around the globe. Raking in around 2.3 billion USD annually, bananas are the nations largest and most important export followed by petroleum.
2. It was the First Country to Recognise the Rights of Nature
In 2008, rather than viewing nature as property, as the rest of the world did at the time, Ecuador granted nature constitutional rights. They were the first nation ever to do this. In short, this means that the nation views all forms of nature as having the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”
3. Ecuador is the Closest Country to Space
Speaking of nature, Ecuador has a lot of it. In fact, the summit of Ecuador’s highest mountain, Mount Chimborazo, is the closest point to the sun on Earth. The mighty peak sits 29,029 feet on above the equator’s “bulge”, making the Andean stratovolcano the closest point on Earth to the sun and the farthest point from the Earth’s core.
4. Ecuador is one of the Most Biologically Diverse Nations on Earth
According to Conservation International, Ecuador falls in the top 20 “megadiverse countries.” Ecuador’s biodiversity accounts for more than 6% of all species worldwide and is home to more than 25,000 species of plants; 5,000 of which are orchids. Additionally, the nation boasts 492 amphibian species, 414 reptile species and nearly 400 individual mammal species.
5. It Holds the Title of Highest Capital in the World
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sits 2,850m above sea level. Thanks to this, it’s the highest official capital city in the world. Why the need to specify “official”? Well, La Paz in Bolivia is higher, but it’s not the constitutional capital, just the seat of government. Curious about the world’s lowest capital city? That’s Baku in Azerbaijan.
6. Guinea Pigs are a Delicacy Here
The guinea pig or ‘cuy’ are considered a national delicacy in Ecuador and are also enjoyed in the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands. Eating cuy can be traced back to ancient times when the Incans considered them to be a status of wealth. It’s typically seasoned with garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and cooked rotisserie style.
7. It’s a Very Linguistically Rich Nation
One of the most interesting facts about Ecuador is that it is home to at least 14 unique languages. In addition to the official language of Spanish, Ecuador also recognises 13 indigenous languages. Among the most widely spoken pre-Columbian languages are Quichua and Shuar.