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Ecuador is an exciting destination for travelers, students, volunteers, and scientists. Located between Colombia and Peru, this small Andean nation has long been a favorite place to experience one of the most culturally and geographically diverse countries in South America. Best known for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is also home to the world's highest active volcano, the famous indigenous market of Otavalo, and staggering natural beauty.

Church in Old Town Quito

Basilica church with animal gargoyles of the Galapagos Islands.

Named for the equatorial line running through the country, Ecuador (in blue on the map) contains a rich diversity of culture, climate, and spectacular geography.


Nestled in a highland valley at 9,348 ft. (2,804m), Quito is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Founded in 1534 by Sebastian de Benalcazar, Quito's Old Town is a throwback to its colonial past, with cobblestone streets and ornately carved facades of churches and museums. The paradox of the New Town's skyscrapers and nightclubs gives travelers a rich variety of diversions in the capital.

When in Ecuador, stop by South American Explorers Club.  It is a non-profit organization providing educational and scientific resources for travelers, students, volunteers, researchers, and explorers in South America.

Presidential Palace guard


Area Size

272,046 sq. km


12 million

Ethnic Groups

10 groups +

Geographic Regions

The coast, Andes mountains, the Amazon


dry and wet

Political Parties

18 or more

Saraguro ethnic group displayed in Mitad del Mundo (Center of the World monument to the equator).

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