According to statistics in 2010 the different ethnic groups found in Ecuador are:
- Mestizos (mixed): 71.9%
- Montubios (country side people of the lowlands): 7.4%
- African-Ecuadorian: 7.2%
- Indigenous: 7%
- White: 6.1%
- Others: 0.3%
Indigenous Groups of the Ecuadorian Amazon
This natural region is the most diverse culturally and naturally, join us on a guided tour because riding through this natural paradise would give us a unique approach to this particular indigenous tribes that in most of the cases, they have kept most of the elements of their identity.
Secoya and Siona
These groups began to merge at the beginning of the 20th century, the Siona (approx. 200 people) and Secoya (approx. 250 people) are two different nationalities. Their cultures are similar, and their languages both belong to the Tucano language family. Their communities are found along the Shushufindi, Aguarico and Cuyabeno rivers.
Cófanes / A’i
The Cófanes, or A’i as they call themselves, probably migrated to Ecuador from the Columbian Andes. About 800 Cófanes live in northeast Ecuador between the Guamués and the Aguarico rivers, close to the Secoya and Siona groups, to whom they are linked through intercultural marriages.
Considered to be the fiercest warriors of the Amazon basin, the Waorani were able to keep settlers, oil and timber companies out of their territory until the mid-20th century.
In the 1950s, missionaries (the summer linguistic institute SLI) established contact with these forest dwelling people and pushed them to move closer to roads and rivers. Like other indigenous nations, their population fell to a couple of hundred people as infectious diseases spread epidemically. Today approx. 2,000 Waorani live in Ecuador between the rivers Napo and Curaray.
While the Tagaeri belong to the Waorani, the Taromenani are said to be an independent nationality that came from Peru. Together they form the last of the indigenous family groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon that refuse contact with outsiders and maintain their traditional semi-nomadic way of life inside the rain forest. They are threatened by oil exploration and much more so by illegal logging.
With 80.000 people and growing, the Kichwa are the most numerous indigenous nationality of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Though they speak a dialect of the Andean Quichua, they form a different cultural group. The Quichua language was introduced to Ecuador by the Incas, and was introduced in the Amazon by the churches after the lowlands have been discovered. So the Kichwa are supposed to have emerged from various pre-colonial indigenous tribes that developed a common identity and culture. Today many live in the cities of Tena and Puyo and surrounding communites.
The Zápara are the smallest indigenous group and in Ecuador only 170 Zápara remain, many already of mixed ethnic origin. They live in three remote communities situated between the Conambo and the Jandia Yacu rivers in the Pastaza province that can only be reached by airplane or a canoe trip of several days.
6.000 people form the Achuar nationality. In their language, Achuar means “the people of the morete palm”. Living in the remote upper basin of the Pastaza River, close to the Peruvian border, the Achuar were unknown till the end of the 1960s.
The Shuar were famous for their ritual of tzantza or shrinking human heads. The aim was to dominate the victim’s soul which was contained in the head in order it could not harm the warrior or his family anymore.
Today they are 80.000 people that live close to the rivers Pastaza, Upano, Zamora and the Morona’s tributaries.
The 1.200 Ecuadorian Shiwiar live in the southeast of the Pastaza province. Similar to other nationalities the families live in subsistence from their “chacras” (forest gardens) and additionally hunt, fish, collect wild fruits and buy products like clothing, gasoline etc.
Indigenous Groups of the Andean Region
This picture above describes a bit what we will try to find during our journeys! Ecuador’s most experienced motorcycle rental and tour operator guarantees to show our customers the Andean landscapes, but besides the beauty of the mountains, the different Kichwa groups will give you an additional experience.
This group is distributed into communities in the different Andean provinces (9 provinces) and basically divided in the following clusters: the Otavalo of Imbabura–Carchi, the Tigua–Zumbagua of Cotopaxi, the Colta of Chimborazo, the Cañari of Cañar and Azuay, and the Saraguro of Loja.
There is no better place in the world for motorcycling than Ecuador, with our responsible Tourism sense we will give the freedom to discover the local culture respecting all the boundaries.
African Ecuadorian Groups of Ecuador
Slave ships first arrived in Ecuadorian ports in 1553 and slaves worked on plantations and in gold mines. Although slavery was abolished at independence in 1822, the descendants of enslaved Africans continued to suffer the consequences of that socio-economic system. During the 18th century, the different religious orders brought slaves to work on their properties, mainly located in the Andes, that’s the main reason why we will find this lovely people on both regions of the coast and the Andes, and riding with us will let explore both areas increasing your Customer Satisfaction through sharing their culture. (The greatest soccer players are afro-ecuadorians!!)
Afro- Ecuadorians dancing the traditional rhythm called “Marimba”