Ecuador is a country in South America , with borders with Colombia and Peru . His landscapes can be divided into four regions: the Costa -called coastal lowlands, the Andean highlands ( Sierra ), Ecuador’s share of the Amazonian lowlands Oriente and the Galapagos Islands .
Ecuador lies in northwestern South America and is geographically , topographically , climatically and ethnically one of the richest countries in the world. Even Alexander von Humboldt observed 200 years ago that the only constant is its diversity in the geography of Ecuador.
Ecuador borders Colombia (590 km), in Peru (1420 km) and to the Pacific Ocean . The entire length of the country’s borders is 2010 km. The land area is 272,046 km ² with a little larger than that of Great Britain (244.14 thousand km ²). The land crossed by the equator can be divided into four completely different geographical zones:
The Costa (Coast) is the western part of Ecuador and approximately 80,000 square kilometers. In just over a quarter of the country to approximately half of Ecuadorians. The Costa consists of fertile alluvial plains and rolling hills about 500 km long and up to 200 km wide. By Costa runs the up to 800 m high coastal mountains Cordillera Costanera , in the Guayas in the mountain range Cordillera Chongón-Colonche passes. The southern Costa will flow through the system of the 60 km-long Guayas and its tributaries Babahoyo and Daule minted, with more than 36,000 km ² largest water catchment system of the American Pacific coast .
The Andean region of the country called Sierra (mountains) and is more than 80,000 square kilometers. Traditionally it is the most populous region, today 38% of Ecuadorians live here. The Sierra consists of the two mountain ranges Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Central (also: Cordillera Oriental and rareCordillera Real ), and the intervening valley (sometimes altiplano called). The Cordillera Occidental is generally lower, but is home to the highest mountain in Ecuador, the Chimborazo . The highest mountain in the Cordillera Central is the almost 5900 m high Cotopaxi . The valley is located at 1800 to 3200 m altitude and is about 500 km long and 20-30 km wide and is home to a number of medium-high mountains interandiner. Due to intensive volcanism called the Humboldt valley “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. The mountain valley is by Riegel (Nudos) in eight Basin ( Cuenca and Hoyas split), other authors include up to twelve such boilers.
With the exception of Guaranda all major cities in the region are located in such basins. The Cuenca are named after rivers and places, namely (from north to south) the Chota (see Chota Valley ), the Guayllabamba , the Pastaza , the Paute , the Chimbo , the site of the Bay of Pigs (or the location and flowYunguilla ) and the Catamayo . In Guayllabamba Basin is located in Quito, the highest capital of the world ( Sucre in Bolivia ). In the south of Ecuador to distinguish the two Cordilleras are less clear than in the center and north.
In the east, the Oriente (“East”) are the rain forests of the Amazon basin. The region is nearly 100,000 square kilometers, but only very sparsely populated.1941/42 as a result of the lost war against Peru, Ecuador had a 200,000 km ² Amazonian transfer (40% of the then land surface) to the southern neighbor and lost access to the Amazon, but this area was previously never under effective state control.
The Oriente can be divided into the densely wooded foothills of the Andes with the three volcanoes Sumaco , Pan de Azucar and Reventador Subkordillere ofNapo-Galeras and situated in the deep (below 400 m) and flat Amazonian plain. All rivers in the Oriente are tributaries of the Amazon. The most important ones are the 850 km long Napo , the coca , the Pastaza , the border to Colombia, Putumayo and the Aguarico . In Agoyan forms of Pastaza the largest drop height of 60 meters waterfall in Ecuador. The region’s climate is humid and hot tropical climate .
The 1000 km from the mainland in the Pacific Ocean located Galápagos Islands , officially the Archipelago de Colón hot, form the fourth geographic zone of Ecuador. Similar to Hawaii , the islands are geologically very young (700000-3 million years ago) and oceanic-volcanic origin. That is, they never had to contact the mainland in its history. The total area to 320 km of the scattered archipelago of more than 8000 km ², of which more than half on the main island of Isabela eliminated. In the northern part of the islands, exactly on the equator, lies with the Wolf volcano (1707 m), the highest elevation of the Galapagos Islands.
The climate in Ecuador is very diverse. The climate is characterized both by strong regional differences in temperature due to different altitudes (0 to 6000 m).Secondly, the rainfall is highly variable due to differences in the topography and by the Humboldt Current . Due to the equator, the temperature distribution over the year is relatively uniform. Particularly in the Sierra, there are pronounced day-night temperature fluctuations.
The climatic differences are clear even within short distances. Thus the north of Quito is much warmer and drier than their south. The summit is the Illiniza Sur glaciers, while the adjacent and practically the same high Illiniza Norte is mostly free of snow. Along the vertical profile is in Ecuador between Tierra Caliente(1000 m), Tierra Templada (up to 2000 m), Tierra Fría (up to 3000 m), Tierra Helada (up to 4800 m) and Tierra Nevada distinction (above). Within the first three of these sectors height (up to 3000 m) the climate is distinguished by very different amounts of precipitation, about all regions of high precipitation.
In the northern coastal region with a tropical monsoon climate, there is a pronounced rainy season from January to May In the Andean highlands, there is no distinct rainy season, however, are the months from November to May as the rain richer. The rainy seasons are called despite an average slightly above average temperatures, “winter” and the dry season “summer”.
In the southern coastal rainfall amounts of less than 250 mm per year are to be found. On the western slopes of the Andes Costa come up to 5000 mm, on the western slopes of the Oriente before even up to 6000 mm rainfall. In the valley of the Sierra received only 250-500 mm of precipitation per year, while elevations are often above 2000 mm. Except in extreme altitudes above 4800 m of rain falls almost always as rain or hail