10 Fun Facts about Ecuador, the Country in the Middle of the World
In this edition of # ElEspañolEnElMundo, Rosario Traducciones travels to South America. This month's destination is a small country rich in abundant natural and cultural resources.
Do you need to communicate with a Latin American audience? Are you exporting or selling your products and services to Spanish-speaking countries? Rosario Traducciones y Servicios SA invites you to join us on a virtual linguistic tour through the different countries of Latin America, as we explore their diversity and cultural richness. In this edition, we travel to Ecuador, a small country whose name refers to its geographical location on the equator, the imaginary line on the planet, equidistant from the two poles, dividing it into northern and southern hemispheres.
1) In the Middle of the World
Although the equator cuts across 13 different countries, Ecuador is the only country named after this imaginary line. It is also the only country in the world that is named after a geographic element. In the suburbs of Quito, the capital city, a famous monument stands on the equator line. Pichincha is located in the Middle of the World in Ecuador (Spanish: La Mitad del Mundo), marking the location of the equator (0° 0' 0” Latitude). The monument is about 790 feet (240 meters) from the real equator, but despite the slight inaccuracy, it is still worth visiting, since it also has a museum, several shops, and a beautiful panoramic view.
2) The World Capital of Orchids
There are more than 4,000 orchid species in Ecuador, the highest number in the world. Of all the plants that grow on the planet, it is estimated that the orchid has the most varieties. Some bloom for six months, others for just a few hours. Some of the flowers can live up to 100 years.
3) One Banana for Each Day of the Year
Bananas are a staple in Ecuadorian cuisine. Around 300 different types are grown in the country to satisfy local demand, so it can be said that, in this country, there is a banana for each day and every occasion.
Over the last 60 years, Ecuador has been one of the world's largest producers of this fruit, supplying 25% of the world's bananas. In addition, it is the largest exporter of bananas to Europe, where the fruit cannot grow due to climate differences.The fruit also received different names around the world, slightly related to different varieties: "banana," "plátano" (plantain), "guineo," "banano," "cambur," "gualele," and finally "maduro” (ripe), as it is called in Ecuador.
4) The Highest Capital City in the World
Quito, the capital city where more than 3 million inhabitants live, is the highest capital city in the world, standing at 9,350 feet (2,850 meters) above sea level. Some say the honor goes to the city of La Paz in Bolivia, which stands at a higher altitude. However, La Paz is the seat of the Bolivian executive, legislative and judicial bodies. The capital city is Sucre.
Due to its altitude, water boils at 194ºF (90ºC) in Quito, not at 212ºF (100ºC) like at lower altitudes.
5) Inspiring the Theory of Evolution
The Galapagos Islands comprise an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean located 621 miles (1,000 km) off the coast of Ecuador. These volcanic islands have a rare and unique flora and fauna, so much so that 20% of the fauna are only found in this land. The unique wildlife includes giant tortoises; land iguanas and the only marine iguana in the world; sea lions, the smallest of the world's six species of sea lions, yet the largest land animal in the Galapagos; countless exotic birds; and the only penguin species in the northern hemisphere.
These islands became famous thanks to Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. Darwin's evolutionary theory is centered on finches, a native bird species that evolved differently on each of the different islands that make up the archipelago. Darwin's research put Ecuador on the map of the global scientific community.
The islands have also served as inspiration for several fictional works of world literature.
6) A Space Mountain
One of the most surprising facts about Ecuador is that the country is home to the closest point on Earth to outer space. Earth is not a perfect sphere, rather it bulges around the equator and Ecuador is right on the bump. Ecuador's highest peak, Mount Chimborazo, has an elevation of 20,548 feet (6,263 meters) and is the farthest point on the surface from Earth's center. That said, the summit of Mount Everest is higher in terms of the altitude above sea level.
Chimborazo, an inactive volcano, can be seen from a distance of 89 miles (140 km) in Guayaquil.
7) Volcano Land
Ecuador is one of the countries with the most volcanoes in the world. Although the exact number is unknown, there are 98 active and inactive volcanoes cataloged in Ecuador (including those of the Galapagos Islands). Of these volcanoes, 31 are potentially active and erupting. This is because Ecuador is located in the Ring of Fire, the geographic area with the highest seismic and volcanic activity on the planet. In recent years, the eruptions of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Sangay, Reventador, and Guagua Pichincha have made them the most famous of Ecuador's volcanoes.
8) A Destination for Bird Lovers
Ecuador has more birds per square mile than any other place on earth. With 1,632 different species confirmed and 48 other species under investigation, we can find feathers of all sizes and colors.
The country also holds the world record for the largest number of hummingbird species, with 132 different types.
9) A Unique National Park
Located in the Amazon area of Ecuador, Yasuní National Park, which covers approximately 1000 km2, is considered one of the most diverse places in the world. You can access the park by the Napo River. In addition to its biodiversity, it is the ancestral home of the Huaorani and Kichwa indigenous communities, who live in the depths of the forest.
10) Canelazo, the Preferred Drink
One of the most popular drinks in Ecuador is canelazo, a mixture of hot cinnamon water, naranjilla (a fruit), and liquor. Although its origins are unknown, its recipe is still passed down from generation to generation.
This drink is generally served hot, at night, to ward off the cold and warm the spirit, but it can also be drunk cold. It is frequently served at the traditional festivals celebrated in Quito and other regions of the country.