Ecuador is divided into four regions. Each one is truly distinct and diverse. They include: from east to west, the Galapagos, The Pacific coast, the Andes, and the Amazon. These four regions gives Ecuador the distinction of being the most bio-diverse nation on Earth. Ecuador occupies a good portion of the Upper Amazon which is considered the richest part of the Amazon and . It also includes the Galapagos Islands which are also rich in animal species and the place that led Darwin to his theory of Evolution.
The landscapes in Ecuador are wide and varied. From beaches and coastal rain forest of the Pacific to the high peaks and volcanoes of the Andes and over to the source of the Amazon River and down to the jungles of the Amazon Basin, this country never ceases to amaze.
Ecuador is not all natural attractions. Quito the largest city was the first city in the world to become a World Heritage site. This honour was given in light of the unique and extensive colonial architecture in this city. It is also a bustling city with all the services and trappings of any big city.
Ecuador is also rich in indigenous culture, food, and festivals. There is an array of climates given the varying altitudes here, so you can almost choose the climate that is right for you. Because it is a small country packed with attractions, it makes an interesting and diverse travel destination.
Top 10 places to visit
Quito is the capital of Ecuador. It was the first city in the world to gain a UNESCO World Heritage Listing which it gained for its colonial heritage. While it has a modern quarter, the historic centre is truly impressive.
Cotopaxi Volcano is 5,897 meters high. Accessible from Quito you can drive up to a car park at an elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level.
Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) lies on the equator. Be sure to visit both the real equator, where a guide will perform a series of interesting experiments, as well as the misplaced larger monument built 100 meters away.
Galapagos Islands is an archipelago of volcanic islands. Renown for its unique ecosystem, it is rich in animal life and the inspiration for Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
The Amazon in Ecuador is one of the cheapest ways to get to the Amazon Rainforest. Ecuador contains part of the Upper Amazon, the richest bio-diverse area of the Amazon.
The Quilotoa Loop is a 3-4 day hike that rises as high as 4,000 meters and takes in views including Laguna Quilotoa, a crater lake, and other views of nearby volcanoes.
Banos is small mountain settlement that has been dubbed the adventure capital of Ecuador. Activities on offer include: bridge swings, climbing, canyoning, hot springs, mountain biking, paragliding, waterfall tours, and whitewater rafting.
Montanita is famous for its beach, surf, and enjoy the pulsating nightlife.
Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador. This historic city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts beautiful colonial buildings.
Vilcabamba is a settlement where the locals apparently live longer lives than average. It is also offers hiking in the surrounding mountains, and is a gateway for travelers crossing the border to Peru.