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Ecuador takes its name from the equator, which it straddles. The capital city is Quito, high in the Andes at 9186 feet (2800m) and home to over 1.4 million residents. Although the official language is Spanish, Ecuador has adopted the US dollar as its currency. Ecuador is amazingly biodiverse with 1600 species of bird, 25,000 species of plants and 6,000 species of butterflies. Its territory includes the remote Galapagos Islands, known for their endemic species, which helped Darwin devise his theory of evolution.

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