Geography of Ecuador

Physical Features

In spite of its small size, the geography of Ecuador is one of the most diverse in the world. Located on the northwestern coast of South America, between Peru and Colombia, Ecuador encompasses four distinct geographical regions which are-

  • El Oriente (Amazon jungle) in the east
  • La Sierra (Andes Mountains) in the center
  • La Costa (the Pacific coastal lowlands) in the west
  • The majestic Galapagos Islands off the coast
According to the geography of Ecuador, the total area covered by the country is 283,560 sq km of which 276,840 sq km is land and 6,720 sq km is covered by water. Ecuador has a coastline which stretches to 2,237 km. The country is quite prone to natural hazards like floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides which adversely affect the geography of Ecuador.

Owing to its remarkable topography, Ecuador has five distinct ecological zones with a distinctive climates, vegetation, and varied wildlife.

People and Population
According to the 2008 census, the population of Ecuador has been estimated to be 13,755,680. The most populated city is Guayaquil which is predominantly a port and industrial city, and is growing at quite a fast pace. The second most populated city is Quito which is also the capital of Ecuador. Another large and interesting city is Cuenca located in the Southern Highlands.

There are 22 provinces in Ecuador which are Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, and Zamora-Chinchipe.

Natural Resources and Wildlife

The major natural resources found in Ecuador are petroleum, fish, timber, and hydropower.

Ecuador has a variety of wildlife sanctuaries which is the habitat of a whole range of birds and animal species. Ranging from aquatic creatures to terrestrial animals, Ecuador has a rich and varied biodiversity.

In the Andes you will find Pudu, Andean fox, puma, spectacled bear and mountain tapirs and a variety of hummingbirds and the great Andean Condor. The cloud forest regions of Ecuador are full of birds such as tanagers, hummingbirds, Long-wattled Umbrella birds and plate-billed toucans. The Amazon Jungle is filled with reptiles including large iguanas, lizards, colorful geckos, tortoises, the caiman and huge anacondas. Mammals found in Ecuador's Amazon are river dolphins, ocelots, jaguars, sloths, monkeys, and anteaters. Among the biggest and most unusual terrestrial mammal in Ecuador is the Tapir.

Climatic Conditions

The climatic conditions in Ecuador range from tropical along the coast, while it gets cooler inland at higher elevations and back to tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands. Rainfall in the tropical Amazonian areas is about 500 centimeters every year.


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