Pope Francis is visiting Ecuador at the start of his seven-day tour of Latin America.
Ecuador’s left-wing President Rafael Correa called the Pope’s visit “an honor”.
Pope Francis will also travel to Bolivia and Paraguay, as part of his second trip to the region since becoming pontiff in 2013.
In 2007, before becoming Pope, Bishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio told a gathering of Latin American bishops that they were living in the most unequal part of the world.
During his previous trip in 2013, Pope Francis addressed millions on Brazil’s Copacabana Beach.
Pope Francis has requested to chew coca leaves while in Bolivia, according to Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao.
Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant.
In September Pope Francis will travel to Cuba ahead of a trip to the US.
Pope Francis is credited with helping bring about last December’s diplomatic thaw between the two countries.