In Ecuador, there is a great diversity in not only the ancestry of the people, but the land, food, and even the animals. With a population of 16,942,196 people, Ecuador makes up approximately 0.22% of the Earth’s population . Between the 16 million plus people about 12 recognizable languages are spoken, Spanish being the official, along with about 10 others that are indigenous to Ecuador. Even if the possible language barrier does not discourage you from wanting to visit then you should take into account that Ecuador’s crime rate is 24% higher than and the capital punishment for the said crimes are 7% lower than America.
With 4 main regions the only thing that seems to have more variety than the languages would be the land and climate. First, El Oriente which is the Amazon region it normally has a warm, humid and rainy climate. Next Is La Sierra, the Andean highlands, it actually sits on the equator and surprises visitors due to how cool it actually is. Then there is La Costa, the Pacific lowlands climate here is usually very warm during the year. Even during the rainy season (December to May) it is warm and very humid. Last but not least the Galápagos Islands where you can find warm and dry weather year-round.
Originally inhabited by the Inca empire, on August 1563 under a royal decree the first Spanish colony Audiencia of Quito, was settled. As time went on, Spain went through a depression which reflected not only on the country but their colonies. The combination of economic decline along with the Enlightenment movement sweeping through the Quito encouraged Ecuador to Rebel. In 1820 Guayaquil was the first Ecuadorian city to gain independence, it was not until their victory in the Battle of Pichincha in 1822 that the rest of Ecuador gain freedom. Eventually Ecuador joined Venezuela and Cundinamarca to form the Republic of Great Colombia only to part and become their own republic in 1830.
Staying true to many countries that dominated with Spanish origins religion, sports, and food play a big role in their everyday lives. Due to the mixture of American Indian, African slaves, European, and now borderline modern customs Ecuador has a notably interesting culture. As far as religion goes over 80% of the population belongs to the Roman catholic church with the practicing of Mormon and Protestant surprisingly growing in popularity. However in the spirit of sports Ecuador follows the trends of many prominent Spanish countries and puts soccer or fútbol over any other sport.
Throughout the world ever country has its own prefered diet and what they consider a delicacy. Quite frankly Ecuador is no different, everything from a Melloco, to a Yuca are common in an Ecuadorian kitchen. But, with climate and land conditions so mixed up it is a given that what you find on your plate would be just as varied depending on where you are. You see depending on what part of Ecuador you occupy determines whether you get a common delicacy like Hornado which is rice and roasted pig for dinner or Cuy, which in English terms, guinea pig. If you think you can handle eating guinea pig and still want to visit Ecuador than you should visit during one of their many festival.
The first and probably most well known festival would be Carnival, which takes place 40 days before Easter each year. In Ecuador, the festival mixes the older tradition of celebrating the second moon. Most events begin with the Father Carnival being elected, then children and teenagers soak everyone around them with water. The parades and parties feature elaborate costumes, music, dancing, food, and drink. The city of Ambato celebrates the Flower and Fruit Festival, which includes the usual parades and music, as well as concerts, plays, a beauty pageant, and fireworks. Then there is Santa Semana, Easter Holy Week, which is important in Ecuador seeing that majority of the population is Catholic it is a major religious event. Many of the practicing Catholics fast during Lent and most towns hold massive Good Friday parades.
Next is Festival of the Sun, or Inti Raymi that has been held in Ecuador and Peru since Ican times. The festival consists of indigenous people dressed in native costume “taking over” the plaza to represent the rebellion against oppression. The week-long celebration features large barbecues, bonfires, traditional dances, and parades. If the festivals are not exactly what you want and cause a little too much cultural shock, then consider celebrating a holiday you may be more accustom to like New Year’s or Christmas, but be warned they do not exactly celebrate the same as we do in America. In conclusion, Ecuador is overall just a diverse and unique country. Everything from the different regions that all coexist together or the crazy and wild festivals that happen annually. Though it may just seem like another typical Spanish speaking country it has its own distinct personality that no other country can duplicate.