Located east of Miami, Florida, Ecuador is on Eastern Standard Time and does not go on Daylight Savings time as it located on the equator.
Ecuador has it all. This one small country, about the size of Nevada, is divided into three continental regions — the Costa (coast), Sierra (mountains), and Oriente (east) — and one insular region, the Galápagos Islands (officially Archipiélago de Colón). The continental regions extend the length of the country from north to south and are separated by the Andes Mountains. From 600 miles out in the pacific ocean, the Galapagos Islands provide a study of volcanic islands, to the Pacific Coast and the varied beaches and flood plains, up to the snow-capped Andes Mountains of the Sierra region and down to the world´s largest rainforest, the Amazon Basin of the Oriente.
Ecuador's unequalled natural beauty, diverse population, tremendous biodiversity, and fascinating history make it, not only an incredible travel destination, but a wonderful place to study and learn about the varied regions of Latin America. Students explore the Amazon rainforest with guides and visit Shell; snorkel with sea lions and exotic fish in the waters of the Galapagos Islands while studying the historic volcanic islands; tour the capital city of Quito and visit the port city of Guayaquil.
In Cuenca the city's cobblestone streets, towering cathedrals, and marble and white-washed buildings give it a colonial air unequaled in Ecuador. It is a mixture of old and new. Officially known as "Saint Ann of the Four Rivers of Cuenca," it's not surprising that the city sits amidst four rivers. The river Machangara serves as the city's northern limit, the river Tomebamba - which means "River Valley of Knives" - runs through the historic district, and the river Yanuncay and the river Tarqui flow through the southern suburbs. The most visible of the four is Tomebamba, which separates Cuenca's colonial heart from the modern city and new residential areas, the stadium, and the city's two main universities.
The cultural center is in the historic area between the river Tomebamba and the street Gran Colombia to the north, General Torres to the west, and Hermano Miguel to the east. This area's compactness, grid-like layout, and numerous readily identifiable monuments make it easy to navigate. In addition to being the cultural Mecca of Ecuador, Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay province, the third largest city in the nation, and the economic center of the southern Sierra. Cuencanos, known for their traditional demeanor and conservative cultural values, match their 18th century surroundings and continue a proud intellectual tradition that has produced more notable writers, poets, artists, and philosophers than anywhere else in Ecuador. These distinctions, along with the city's incredibly preserved history, recently earned Cuenca the honor of being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.