The Republic of Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, bordering Colombia in the north and Peru in the southeast. This biodiverse country has approximately 16,777,000 inhabitants and is located below the equator line; north from its capital Quito the equator crosses the prime meridian line, marking "the middle of the world".
Ecuador has 24 provinces, but the country's geographical regions are more frequently used to define its different areas: Amazon Rainforest, Andes Mountains, Pacific Coast, and Galapagos Islands.
The port city Guayaquil (2,644, 891) is Ecuador's largest city, followed by Quito (2,644,145), and Cuenca (603,269) with its gorgeous colonial center.
The Amazon Rainforest, divided in the Upper Amazon and the Lower Amazon, covers the eastern part of the country and has a tropical, humid climate year-round.
The higher part of the Andes Mountains has a much colder climate, with temperatures that can drop below zero at the highest altitudes.
Traveling further west, the temperature rises, and the rain showers become heavier while descending to the coast.
The Pacific Coast and the Galapagos Islands have both extremely dry and humid areas, mainly depending on the altitude. Its wide variety of climates combined with its location below the equator line make Ecuador a very biodiverse country with unique flora and fauna.
Because of its location, Ecuador does not have clearly defined seasons, only rainy and dry periods depending on the area.
The time zone of the country's mainland is UTC -5 and UTC -6 on the Galapagos Islands, located 973 kilometres out of the coastline. The sun rises at approximately 6 am and sets around 6 pm every day, all year long. Daylight Saving Time is not applied,
Ecuador's capital of Quito, officially called “San Francisco de Quito”, is located high in the Andes at an altitude of approximately 2,800 meters, making it the highest official capital in the world.
Its historical centre divides the northern from the southern part of this long-stretched city and was one of the first city centres to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Catholic churches, one even more beautiful than the other, determine the streetscape of colonial Quito; the Spanish were eager to make the city theirs after conquering it from the Incas. Many of the churches, houses, and other buildings from colonial times are built in the Baroque School of Quito with a clear Spanish influence.
Most of Quito's wealthier neighbourhoods are located just north from the historical centre. People living further up north and in the south of city generally have a lower income, although it depends on the area.
Most expats live in Central North Quito, in desirable neighbourhoods like La Paz, El Batan, La Carolina, and the bohemian La Floresta. Also the valleys (especially Cumbayá), just outside of Quito are popular residential areas, because of their mild climates and tranquillity, although it takes about 45 minutes to reach the city centre from these suburbs.
It is frequently said that Quito is the city of eternal spring and many days, people indeed can enjoy sunny mornings interchanged by cloudy afternoons and a temperature between 18 °C and 25°C. However, some periods of the year are characterized by heavy rains during which the temperature can drop significantly. These rainy periods normally take place between February and April and from October to December.
For current weather information, check BBC Weather.
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