How many of us can name even one single world famous Ecuadorian? The fame of local personalities hasn't quite managed to cross international borders. Even though some have made it on the continent, none of them is world famous.
The most famous man of all is also the most ancient. During your holiday in Ecuador you're sure to hear talk of Atahualpa. The son of a princess from Quito, he governed the northern part of the Inca empire before being assassinated by Pizarro in 1533. Besides him, Rumiñahui was the Inca general who, as legend has it, hid the treasure that was intended to be used as a ransom to free Atahualpa.
Later on, Gabriel García Moreno became president and, from 1865 onwards, set Ecuador off on its path towards industrial development. Eloy Alfaro, another president, committed himself to improving conditions for the Indians. Elected as head of state five times between 1934 and 1972, José Maria Velasco Ibarra was one of the country's most popular presidents.
Jorge Icaza is one of Ecuador's best known authors. His book Huasipungo exposes the problems faced by Indians in their daily lives. It's a very informative, insightful work.
The artist and painter Oswaldo Guayasamin became known over the whole of the American continent. He was friendly with Rockefeller, Pablo Neruda and Fidel Castro. All of them were great admirers of his work.
A well-known celebrity in all of Latin America, Julio Jaramillo was a bit like the local Tom Jones of his time. His waltzes, boleros and tangos are known all over the country.
You'll notice whilst on holiday in Ecuador that the people are passionate about two subjects: sport and politics.
The current leader of the country, Rafael Correa is very popular in Ecuador. He's said to have the backing of 75% of the population. It has to be said that the country's tense relationship with the US appeals to the the Ecuadorians. Despite the expulsion of the American ambassador, Correa's popularity ratings have beaten all the records.
Three times world champion, with two Olympic medals, one of them a gold, Jefferson Pérez, born in Cuenca, is seen as an idol all over the country. This athlete, whose speciality is the 20km walk, is the highest ranking sportsperson in Ecuador.
It's football that has made Ulises de la Cruz popular. After an international career, where he played for Brazil, Scotland and England, he claimed his greatest success in 2009 and 2010 by bringing home the South American cup and then winning the national championship.