9 Facts You Might Not Know About Ecuador
The country of Ecuador has many cultural and natural features that make it an attractive location for those seeking an alternative to more traditional tropic destinations. You may already know a few.
For example, this increasingly popular expat haven is known for its biodiversity, its affordability, and its rich culture. It also enjoys a sense of familiarity due to the established expat population.
However, as you continue to explore and get to know this unique expat hub, you may discover a few facts that will surprise you. Here are a few that make it stand out from the rest.
1. It’s the world’s most “far out” place.
Ecuador is actually closer to outer space than any other country on Earth. The reason? Mt. Chimborazo (Ecuador’s highest peak) is located on the equatorial bulge.
As a result, the summit of this mountain is the farthest point on the entire planet from the Earth’s core. Put another way, it is the point on Earth closest to space.
2. The Darwin Award goes to…
Ecuador is home to the Galapagos Islands, which were the location and inspiration of Charles Darwin’s research. Ecuador is viewed as one of 17 “megadiverse” countries on the planet and is widely considered as the most biodiverse country, per square kilometer, anywhere.
3. Even its name is special.
The name “Ecuador” itself is unique. While it is well known that the equator runs through the country, a lesser known fact is that Ecuador is the only country on Earth named after a geographical feature. The formal name of the country is República del Ecuador, the “country of the Equator.”
4. It offers a lot of bang for your literal buck.
Since 2000, Ecuador has used the U.S. dollar as its national currency. As a potential expat or investor, this means not having to deal with currency conversion rates and international fees, both in your daily life as well as in commercial transactions.
Being able to purchase real estate using U.S. dollars makes buying and investing both attractive and ultimately more affordable than in other locations. The fact that there are a growing number of properties on the market makes for a wide variety of options to choose from.
5. Yes, we have bananas…lots of them!
The singing of the old novelty song, “Yes, we have no bananas” (from 1922) would be woefully out of place in Ecuador. This country is actually the world’s largest exporter of the popular yellow fruit, shipping an average of 43 trillion of them annually. This translates to roughly 1/3 of all bananas exported worldwide.
6. You can be in both worlds at the same time.
One of Ecuador’s top tourist attractions is Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (literally “City of the Middle of the World”) where one can stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere.
Thanks to more modern technology, scientists have discovered that the true equatorial line is some 240 meters north of the popular monument and marker. However, the historic landmark is considered close enough for the many tourists who visit this location each year.
7. Nature has its own rights!
In 2008, Ecuador took an unprecedented step in declaring that nature had constitutional rights. Stating that it had the “right to exist, persist….and regenerate its vital cycles,” the Ecuadorian government declared that nature should not be treated as property.
This singular acknowledgement is, perhaps, one of the most forward-thinking statements about the environment you’ll find anywhere.
8. We’re the ones who really started the trend.
The familiar white straw and black hatband of the “Panama hat” has become a ubiquitous fixture throughout the Latin Tropics. Yet the many visitors to the region who purchase one of these signature hats might be surprised to discover that they didn’t actually get their start in Panama.
Originally from the coast of Ecuador, near the town of Cuenca, these hats were made for the workers who constructed the Panama Canal. Later, this headgear became a symbol of largesse of wealthy tourists who could afford to sail through the Canal. Today they’re still a popular souvenir choice of visitors to the region.
9. Expats are more than welcome.
It may come as a surprise that Ecuador is gaining popularity among expats as a preferred tropical destination. According to the annual survey done by InterNations.org, Ecuador has ranked as the number 1 choice among expats for the last two years.
From personal finance, quality of life, cost of living, and a number of other reasons, Ecuador has been consistently given the highest rating, rising above even other longtime favorite destinations in the Latin Tropics.
Discover Other Special Things About Ecuador
Perhaps the best way to discover what is special about Ecuador is to visit and explore it firsthand. You may just find that Ecuador is the unique tropical destination you’ve been looking for.