Culture Cafe: Ecuador

It’s almost December, but we still can enjoy some warm and sunny days... What is the reason? We definitely know! It’s power of our Culture Cafés, and the latest we had was about glaring and lively Ecuador. We immersed onto atmosphere of the four regions, and we want to thank our ESN international students Thais Panimboza, Antonella Sarzosa, Francisco Cruz, José Quintana, Fredy Márquez, Estefanía Sánchez and Adriana Carrión. It was a great pleasure for us to have small but very informative trip to your homeland!

As always, we started with location of the country: Ecuador is country in South America bounded on the west of Pacific Ocean. It’s the westernmost country that lies on the equator. The country has four main geographic regions, and the whole presentation was dedicated to them. We’ve got an opportunity to discover some new places and become more familiar with those we had heard about. These regions are: Costa, Sierra, Oriente, Galápagos. Let’s have more distinct view!

Our first region is the Coast, lowlands. It consists of the provinces to the West of the Andean range - Bolivar, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, El Oro, Santa Elena and Santo Domingo. It’s fertile and productive land, the seat of the large banana exportation plantations. There you can feel tropical climate, be ready for temperature ranging from 24°C to 32°C. The climate is suitable for the people living in the coastal region: they are energetic and vibrant! 

Next is Andes region, mountains or highlands, also known as Sierra. It consists of of the Andean and Interandean highland provinces: Azuay, Cañar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha, and Tungurahua. Its cultural and natural diversity spans grassy highlands (páramo), cloud forests, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, thermal baths, Indian markets, colonial towns and haciendas. The Sierra region is known for preserving unique ecosystems of high Andean plateau, peaks and valleys of great scenic value, which is complemented with crafts, food and other cultural expressions. You can also admire the beautiful lagoons there.

Now we’re moving forward to Amazon region. The oriente consists of the Amazon jungle provinces - Morona Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe. Amazon has national parks and indigenous intangible zones, which are vast stretches of land, set aside for the Amazon indigenous tribes to continue living traditionally. It is also the area with the largest reserves of petroleum in Ecuador. The population is primarily mixed indigenous Shuar, Huaorani and Kichua, although there are numerous tribes in the deep jungle, which are little-contacted. In the Amazon, there are eight thousand species of medicinal plants as well as animal species.

And for the dessert is Insular Region - Galapagos islands. These are islands and 107 rocks and islets, distributed around the line of the terrestrial Ecuador. There peculiar species of fauna and flora of natural, unique in the world. For instance, the birds represented by more than 13 different species of finches, penguins, cormorants, boobies, hawks, sparrows, albatrosses and flamingos, among others. So what to do on this magical island? There are plenty of activities to enjoy: wildlife watching, diving, snorkeling, kayaking or surfing.

Our meeting was supported with different areas of entertainment, where we could listed to the traditional songs, learn something more about culture and discover some dishes of the national cuisine, for example, Ecuadorian-style  ceviche or plantain- and peanut-based dishes, there are many of them. Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, varying with the altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Each region has its specific preferences, so we highly recommend to visit all the regions and enjoy taste variety!

So it was our warm Wednesday evening, we hope, you really enjoyed time spent with us and opened something new for you. Great thanks to our presenters and listeners, you make us happy to continue and create the most entertaining content. Counting time to see you on our next Culture Café!

 Text: Svetlana Dzhafarova