They were officially annexed by Ecuador on February 12, The main industry is tourism, and , visitors flock here each year to marvel at the blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, tame sea lions, and giant tortoises. Recent fears that the growth of tourist infrastructure on the main islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabela, including the growing number of cars, is having an increasingly negative impact on the wildlife have prompted measures aimed at regulating the numbers.
Most tourists still choose to visit the islands on cruise boats, which maximizes the number of islands and dive sites that can be seen.
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Despite its position on the Equator, Ecuador does not have typically tropical weather throughout the country as the climate depends on altitude. In the Sierra, the intermontane valleys enjoy a year-round spring, while in high mountain villages nights can dip below freezing. The coast is hot, and the jungles of Oriente are hot and humid. Rainfall depends on the season. The dry season temporada seca is also known as verano summer and the rainy season temporada de lluvia is also known as invierno winter.
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However, seasonal variations in rainfall depend on the region. In the Sierra, the rainy season generally runs from October to April. However, the weather is never predictable and citizens of the Sierra say you can experience four seasons in one day in the mountains. Even in the dry season you should pack for the occasional shower or cold spell. In the rainforests of the Oriente, high rainfall and humidity are the norm and there is little change in temperature throughout the year, although nights can get very cool.
The rainy season is generally from April to September, but it can rain on any day.
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The coastal area around Guayaquil can be very hot and humid in the rainy season from December to May. In the warm, wetter season from January to June there is very little rainfall on the low-lying coasts, and sunshine and blue skies are typical. Ecuador provided the world with some major scientific breakthroughs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, one of which gave the country its name.
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In , the French Geodesic Mission set out for South America to find out if the Earth was round, or if it bulged out at the middle like a squashed ball—a theory put forward by the great English physicist Sir Isaac Newton — Led by the French mathematician and naturalist Charles Marie de La Condamine —74 , the mission planned to measure degrees of latitude on the Equator and compare them to measurements from Europe and the Arctic. The expedition was planned for three years, but took nearly ten.
Their discovery led to the production of the first accurate maps. Inspired by the French expedition, the Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt — arrived in Quito in following a trip that took him from Venezuela through Colombia. A keen geologist and climber, he attempted to reach the snow-capped summit of Chimborazo, but only reached 19, feet 5, m before becoming affected by altitude sickness, which he correctly guessed was linked to oxygen deficiency. Passionately interested in the social conditions of the people he encountered on his travels, Humboldt marveled that Ecuadorians sleep peacefully amid smoking volcanoes, live in poverty atop riches, and are made happy by sad music.
Chimborazo remained unconquered until the British climber Edward Whymper made it to the top in He was immediately struck by the tameness of the local wildlife, and during the five weeks he studied the archipelago he noted differences between the plants and animals on islands so close to each other.
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Ecuador - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
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