Ecuador is located on the equator, in South America, which means that its territory is found in both hemispheres.  Its northernmost border is shared with Colombia, its southern and eastern borders are shared with Peru and its north-eastern limit borders Costa Rica (Pacific Ocean)* The Pacific Ocean is to the west.  The country is 256370 square kilometres in size.  It is divided into four regions, within which 25 provinces and 205 cantons are distributed. 

The provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, Los Ríos, Guayas and El Oro are located on the Pacific Coast.  Santo Domingo and Santa Elena are found in the mountains, while in the northern zone of the Andes are Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo.  In the southern area of the country are the provinces of Bolívar, Cañar, Azuay and Loja.  The provinces of Sucumbíos, Napo, Pastaza, Orellana, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe are located in the Amazon region.  The island region is comprised of the Galapagos, composed of 13 main islands, five of which are populated: Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Isabela, Floreana and Baltra.

For more information about the borders of Ecuador: 

Natural Regions

Ecuador has four natural regions:

  • The Coast (Northern Coast, Southern Coast)
  • The Andes (Northern Andes, Central Andes, Southern Andes)
  • Amazon
  • Galapagos Islands

Description of Ecuador’s Natural Regions

Pacific Coast

Its territory consists of fertile plains, hills, sedimentary basins and low-lying elevations.  Rivers run across its territory from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean.  Its seven provinces have very attractive beaches and resorts for tourists.

Highlights include Esmeraldas, Manabí and Guayas.  The most extensive river system in the country is located in this region.  This consists of the Guayas River Basin, which has approximately twelve tributaries, where the communities of Duale, Babahoyo, Macul, Puca, Paján and Colimes are located.  Ecuador has 640 kilometres of coastline.

The Sierra

The Andean Cordillera crosses the country from south to north.  The Western and Eastern Cordilleras are born from this mountain range, as it splits in the province of Loja to form basins and valleys all along the inter-Andean passage.  Between the two ranges, a plateau reaches an altitude of three thousand meters.

The Sierra covers ten provinces that have important mountainous elevations, such as Chimborazo, los Illinizas, el Cotopaxi, el Cayambe and el Antisana

  • Chimborazo: 6310 msnm
  • Cotopaxi: 5897 msnm
  • Cayambe: 5790 msnm
  • Antisana: 5758 msnm
  • Altar: 5320 msnm
  • Illiniza: 5248 msnm
  • Tungurahua: 5023 msnm
  • Cotacachi: 4.944 msnm

The highest elevations are found between the centre and the north of the country.  From Riobamba towards the south, the elevation falls but the range widens, forming a kind of plateau.

The Amazon

The topography of the Amazon is made up of a series of hills that originate in the eastern part of the Andes and continue down to the plains of the Amazon Basin, where the major rivers of the Putumayo, the Napo and Pastaza are located.  There are two geographical regions: the Upper Amazon and the Amazon Plain. In the first region, the ranges of Napo Galeras, Cutucú and Condor are found.

The highest topographies of the region are found in the north, near the Sumaco Volcano, and the lowest to the east.  Five of the country's provinces are found in the Amazon.

Galapagos Islands

The archipelago is composed of 13 main islands, 17 islets and dozens of old rocks (image: map of the islands).  Its origin is volcanic and it is found approximately one thousand kilometres from the continent.  Its territory consists of eight thousand square kilometres.  Its main volcanos, with heights between 1000 and 1600 meters, are located on Isabela Island and include Wolf, Cerro Azul and Darwin.


Text: Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador.

Additional information