7 Wonders of Ecuador
Ecuador is officially known as the Republic of Ecuador, which in Spanish literally translates to mean the Republic of the Equator. With the unique ecological heritage of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador was the first country through a new constitution to establish Rights of Nature or ecosystem rights. Seven Wonders applauds Ecuador and hopes many countries will follow suit.Ecuador extends across a 109,484 square mile (283,561 sq. km) area including the Galapagos Islands. It is the western most country that is located on the equator. The coastline along the Pacific Ocean stretches 1,452 miles (2,337 km). Ecuador is home to one of the 7 Natural Wonders of South America.
Along with the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador has a rich variety of species and is recognized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries of the world. Around 15% of the world’s species are found in the country with 38 being endemic to the Galapagos. It has the most biodiversity per square mile (sq. km) of any nation in the world.
What are the 7 Wonders of Ecuador?
Basilica of the National Vow
The Basilica of the National Vow, also known as the Basilica del Voto Nacional, is a Roman Catholic church located in the capital, Quito. The basilica is known for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadorian animals such as the iguana, tortoises of the Galapagos, and armadillos.
The Basilica of the National Vow measures a length of 460 feet (140 m), a width of 115 feet (35 m), and a height of 98 feet (30 m). The Spire height extends to 377 feet (115 m). It is the tallest church in Ecuador and the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas.
The towers provide a spectacular view of Quito and the neighboring mountains. Visitors can experience this attraction and the scenic view for $1. There are 14 bronze images that reflect the eleven disciples and three evangelists of the area. It also serves as a crypt for several heads of state.
Chimborazo is an inactive stratovolcano located in the Cordillera Occidental range of the Andes. The volcano has not erupted since approximately 550 C.E. Chimborazo reaches a summit of 20,548 feet (6,263 m) making it the highest mountain in the country of Ecuador as well as the highest peak of any mountain near the equator.
Although not the highest mountain above sea level, however the location near the equator creates the greatest distance from the peak to the Earth’s center. Subsequently, it is also the closest point to the moon.
The summit of Chimborazo is entirely covered with glaciers that flow down approximately 15,091.8 feet (4,600 m). Chimborazo is only one degree south of the Equator. Chimborazo is a popular climbing attraction with ascents occurring throughout the year. The best climbing season occurs during the months of December and January and then again July and August.
The Galapagos Islands is archipelago or collection of volcanic islands located across the equator about 563 miles (906 km) west of Ecuador. There are 21 islands with 18 of them having significance of any kind. The largest of the islands is Isabela accounting for 2,250 square miles (5,827 sq. km).
The Galapagos Islands account for an area of 3,040 square miles (7,880 sq. km). They are most notable for the endemic species and the scientific study of Charles Darwin which lead to the theory of evolution through natural selection. The Galapagos Islands are protected by the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The collective islands are one of the 7 Natural Wonders of South America.
There are several endemic species of which the marine (swimming) iguanas and the giant Galapagos tortoise are the most notable. Some of the different islands actually have species that are endemic to that island alone and not found on any of the other islands.