Ecuador

Ecuador, a country in South America, bordered by Colombia, Peru, and Pacific Ocean has a total land area of 109,415 square miles and a population of close to 15 million. The country includes the Galapagos Islands located 620 miles west of the mainland. Quito, Cuenco, and Galapagos are the popular heritage sights of this country. The country’s size belies its wealth of species. It is one of the seventeen mega-diverse countries of the world with many species endemic to the area. The highest point of Mount Chimborazo is considered as the farthest point from the center of the earth.  As Ecuador holds the third-largest proven oil reserves in South America it is no surprise that oil refining is the biggest industry of the country. Other industries are food processing, flowers, fresh tropical fruits, automobiles, processed coffee, wood products, chemicals, textiles, cocoa, metal products, paper and plastic production.

Travel Resources:

Even though Galapagos is the mightiest attraction of the country, other places are equally worth musing over. The oft-visited areas of Ecuador are Quito, Otavalo, Cuenca, Avenue of volcanoes, Guayaquil, and the Amazonian Jungle. While Cuenca is considered as one of the best-preserved cities of South America, Quito with its spring like climate year-round gets top honors as the most beautiful city of the continent. Typical Ecuadorian cuisine consists of two dishes - soup and a rice platter. Potato, bread, rice, and/or yuca are present in either the soup or the rice platter. The rice platter includes pork, chicken, beef, cuy (guinea pig).


ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Lonely Planet Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands978-1741048285$1779 maps and a full-color Galapagos wildlife guide. Introductory travel information followed by region-wise coverage including Quito, Northern Highlands, Central Highlands, Southern Highlands, The Oriente, North Coast and Lowlands, South Coast, and The Galapagos Islands.
Culture Shock! Ecuador: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette978-0761456643$11Excellent overall information from the author Nicholas Crowder who has lived in Ecuador for twenty years. It is a must-have for a new resident of Ecuador and tourists who want to know more about Ecuadorian culture than can be gleaned from typical travel books will find it in this book.
Laminated Ecuador Map by Borch978-3866093249$111:1,000,000 scale. Include Inset Maps of Galapagos Islands, Greater Quito, Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Ingapirca.
Ecuador Grounded Adapter Plug – GUAB001FDA8C6$8


Philatelic Profile:

The first stamps of Ecuador were released between 1865 and 1872 in the Coat of Arms theme. The set (Scott #1 to #6) catalogs for around $500 MNH and $175 used. The coat of arms theme continued until 1892 when a set of eight stamps that show a portrait of President Juan Flores was released. That set (Scott #23 to #30) along with the last coat of arms set (Scott #19 to #22) are remarkably inexpensive and catalogs for less than $5. Coat of Arms sets along with sets portraying Great Men were the dominant designs of Ecuadorian stamp issues throughout the 19th century.

Ecuador released a set of seven stamps on June 25, 1908 to mark the opening of the Guayaquil-Quito Railway. The set (Scott #174 to #180) catalogs for around $10 MNH and $20 used. The designs show Locomotive, Garcia Moreno, General Eloy Alfaro, Abelardo Moncayo, Archer Harman, James Sivewright, and Mount Chimborazo. The Guayaquil and Quito line was built between 1897 and 1908 and was considered one of the most difficult engineering tasks in the world. The 277.6 mile line starts at the harbor of Guayaquil and goes east into the Andean mountains. Following natural disasters, lack of maintenance, and the El Nino of 1997/1998, the service has stopped and parts of the original line are now used for transporting tourists: a 37-mile segment connecting Quito and Cotopaxi National Park; a 27-mile stretch between Ibarra and Primer Paso, and a 62-mile excursion from Riobamba to Sibambe. The last stretch takes 5 hours. The original line was a 2-day journey.

Other issues of Ecuador enjoying good philatelic interest include:
  1. A set of thirteen stamps released on August 1, 1930 to mark the centenary of founding of the republic. The set (Scott #304 to #316) catalogs for around $60 MNH and $25 used. The designs show plowing, cultivating cacao, cacao pod, loading sugar cane, growing tobacco, export of fruits, landscape, building in Quito, another building scene in Quito, a portrait of Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, and a monument to Simon Bolivar. Olmedo was a patriot and poet from Guayaquil (1780 to 1847) who along with others declared the city of Guayaquil as independent from Spain. He was President of the province until Simon Bolivar united Guayaquil with Gran Colombia.
  2. A set of ten stamps released in March of 1939 to mark the first Bolivarian Games of 1938 held in Bogota. The set (Scott #377 to #381 and C65 to C69) catalogs for around $35 MNH and $5 used. The designs show the parade of athletes, runner, basketball, wrestlers, and diver. Bolivarian Games is a sports event held in honor of Simon Bolivar, open to athletes from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
  3. A set of twelve stamps released on June 17, 1966 in the Birds theme. The set (Scott #751, a-c, C441-C448) catalogs for around $20 MNH and $5 Used. The designs show pavonine quetzal, blue-crowned motmot, paradise tanager, and wire-tailed manakin.
  4. A set of twenty one stamps released on September 11, 1975 to mark the third Ecuadorian Games. The set (Scott #914 to #929 and C554 to C558) catalogs for around $8 MNH and $5 used. The design shows hurdling, chess, basketball, boxing, bicycling, steeplechase, soccer, fencing, golf, vaulting, judo, wrestling, swimming, weight lifting, table tennis, and paddle ball. The design is distinct in that the sports drawn use Inca style.
  5. A set of seven stamps and a sheet of four released on February 12, 1986 to mark the 450th anniversary of the Discovery of the Galapagos Islands. The set (Scott #1115 to #1122a-d) catalogs for around $25 MNH and $20 used. The design on the stamps show land iguana, sea lion, frigate birds, penguins, sea turtle, Charles Darwin, and Fray Tomas de Berlanga. The sheet of four shows a map of the Islands. Fray Tomas de Berlanga discovered the islands accidentally on March 10, 1535.
  6. A strip of five stamps released on March 24, 2000 showing structures at Cuenca. The strip (Scott #1510a-e) catalogs for less than $5 MNH or used. The design shows buildings, Puente Roto and Tomebamba River, Church bell bable at the Concepcion Monastery, cathedral and city skyline, and San Jose Church. Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador. Along with Quito, Cuenca is a World Heritage Site for being a planned inland Spanish style colonial city that is well preserved. 
Numismatic Profile:

The first coins of Ecuador were counter-marked (MDQ monogram) issued on Nueva Granada Reals. General coinage started in 1842 with the introduction of Silver Reals showing Fortress and two Elliptical Lines in Reverse and inscriptions in Obverse. The issue is pretty valuable cataloging around $1000 for VF. Decimal Coinage was introduced in 1884 with the issue of Copper-Nickel Centavos (10 Centavos = 1 Decimo, 10 Decimos = 1 Sucre, 25 Sucres = 1 Condor). The issue catalogs in the $100 range for UNC.

Numismatic items of Ecuador include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Coins$1 and upCommon Sucres from the 1940s onward start around $1 in VF. Silver coins from the 1930s onward start around $10 in VF. Commemorative Silver Proofs start around $40. Early 19th century Silver Reals in VF start well into the 100s.
Paper Money$1 and upCommon UNCs from the 1980s onward start around $1. Recent Year Sets in UNC, Early Issues from the 1920s in VF, etc start around $40. Newer bundles, Specimen, and Rare dates go into the 100s.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Colorful balso wood birds, straw hats, woolen garments. and hammocks are the popular buys from the region.


ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Art$10 and upPhoto prints from the 19th century start around $10. Indigenous folk art paintings start around $25. Guayasamin Ethnic Paintings start around $100. Works by Raquel Moncayo, Marco Serrano, Gustavo Moncayo, and Miguel Yaulema go well into the 100s and 1000s.
Antiques$10 and up19th century maps start around $10. Pre Columbian Guangala Beads start around $20. Pre Columbia idols, statues, and Quichua Indian Masks go well into the 100s.



Last Updated: 12/2015.

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