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Traveling Cheap in Ecuador

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Ecuador Travel - Hugged by Columbia (on the north) and Peru (south and east), Ecuador is bounded by the Pacific Ocean (on the west). Strategically located at the equator, the country is defined by its locale and is home to 13.2 million people, with most living in Guayaquil (2 million) and Quito (1.8 million). The World Bank finds that Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands) is “...one of the countries with the highest biodiversity on the planet.”

Ecuador Economics - It is really easy to do business and travel throughout the country as the US dollar is the local currency (beginning in 2000). However, the well-educated, left-leaning president, Rafael Correa (elected in 2007), a man who counts Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales among his best friends, creates an environment that does not encourage new business development.

Given the fact that President Correa holds multiple college degrees, including an MS in economics (1999) and a doctorate in economics (2001) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the expectation is that he would encourage Latin America’s seventh-largest economy to become the poster-child for entrepreneurship. However, according to the CIA World Fact Book, the “Economic policies under the Correa administration – including an announcement in late 2009 of its intention to terminate 13 bilateral investment treaties, including one with the United States – have generated economic uncertainty and discouraged private investment.”

The major economic engine for Ecuador is oil (approximately 500,000 barrels per day). However, other major exports (2002) include: bananas (US$936.5 million), canned fish (US$333 million), cut flowers (US$291 million), and shrimp (US$251 million). Ecuador also benefits from money transfers (US$1.7 billion, 2003) sent “home” by nearly a million Ecuadorian immigrants employed outside the country.

Ecuador Travel at Agosto 15, 2011 10:03 AM