Describing Ecuador

Ecuador became an independent nation in 1830 after the collapse of the confederacy known as Greater Colombia. This confederacy was comprised of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador. Prior to this the region was a tribal area before incorporation into the Inca Empire. Spain exploited the countries and the peoples therein from the mid-sixteenth century until the first revolts against Spanish rule in the early nineteenth century.

Ecuador is now a democratic republic progressing after the Incan invasion from the south brought the many Ameriandian communities under their control. The Spanish ended Incan control and ruled until 1822 when independence was proclaimed after 200 years of European domination. The 2008 Constitution was approved in a referendum by 64% of the population.

Quito is the capital of Ecuador. It is the highest capital city in the world at 2800 metres and the administrative, legislative and judicial functions of government are all based there. The city, formally known as San Francisco de Quito, has a population exceeding two and a half million even though it is on the slopes of an active volcano, Pichincha, in the Guayllabamba river valley. The central square is just 16 kilometres south of the equator and the outskirts extend to just one kilometre south of latitude zero. Together with Kraków Quito was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978.

The economy of Ecuador is that of a developing Third World nation. From agriculture sugar, bananas and cocoa are the major crops but oil is the important and growing natural resource production commodity in the industrial sector. The long coastline makes fishing an important local occupation. As an economic venture tourism is not large in Ecuador but it is growing with government support. The Galapagos Islands are an important asset in this field. Also featuring importantly among the attractions for visitors are the country’s ethnic population and culture and there are ten national parks.

Ecuador can be divided into three distinct strips running north to south. The eastern strip is equatorial forest of the Amazonian basin, the middle strip consists of the Andes mountain chain and the the western area is the Pacific Ocean coastal region.

A glance at a map of Ecuador shows that it has really great tourist potential. Any country having a tropical coastline, a Mountain chain, tropical rain forests and numerous rivers with both calm scenic stretches and white water rapids would attract any number of visitors. Domestic and international tourism should be a major contributor to the economy. Add a group of islands, the Galapagos Islands, on which live some creatures found nowhere else in the world and a rich ethnic diversity and history and the place should be irresistible.

As has been stated the tourist industry does not contribute greatly to the economy. The government is beginning to make an effort with respect to tourism via an internet site. There are as yet no government tourist offices open in other countries. The climatic variety, the Galapagos islands and ten national parks together with its ethnic and cottage industry attractions should make Ecuador an easy sell to tourists from all over the world.

The cost of living in Ecuador, as is usual anywhere, varies from place to place, especially from city to country areas. Service also diminish with the distance from main centres.

Many sports are played in Ecuador with Football (soccer) is the most popular. There are also a wide variety of activities from summer to winter sports. Keeping fit in Ecuador should not be a problem.

All of the above points can be further studied via the links at the "Resources" tab on this site and in the book "How to Retire in Ecuador" by Les Johns which can be obtined directly from this site. Much research time will be saved by intending retirees by using these two points of reference.

Other Considerations

If you like what you have read and seen so far then Ecuador could be a good choice. Retirement visa options are similar to many countries and details should be well studied to discover the qualifying requirements. Financial, geographical and political parameters must also play an important part in any decision to settle here. It must be stated immediately that the good visiting periods that are given to tourists make the application of the “Golden Rule" - visit before settling - very easy.

The links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in Ecuador" by Les Johns, which can be bought at this site will prove valuable starting research points.