Situated along the northwest coast of South America, Ecuador borders Peru and Columbia. Nowhere else on earth will you find so much natural diversity and all the fun that accompanies it in so tiny of a place. Ecuador is the second smallest country in South America, but its range of offerings is truly astounding. In a day's drive you can journey from the Amazon Basin across glaciated Andean volcanoes, down through tropical cloud forest and into the sunset for a dinner of ceviche on the balmy Pacific Coast. One day you'll pick through handwoven wool sweaters at a chilly indigenous market in Otavalo and the next day you'll spy on howler monkeys in the steamy Amazon jungles of the Oriente. For nature lovers, Ecuador is a dream with its exotic orchids and birds, bizarre jungle plants and insects, windswept páramo (Andean grasslands), dripping tropical forests and the fearless animals and birds that hop, wobble, fly and swim around the unique, unforgettable and wondrous Galápagos Islands.
As one of the world's most environmentally diverse places, Ecuador offers active travelers a wide range of attractions to explore. For those in search of adventure, the choices are endless. The mountaineering and trekking are world-class, and we recommend combining this with horseback riding, rafting and surfing. Culturally, the indigenous heritage of traditional costumes and highland markets will enchant you, and for colonial architecture, few cities top the beauty of Cuenca and Quito, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And you won't want to miss Baños, with its enticing mix of natural beauty and famous thermal hot springs. We could go on forever, but there is just too much to rave about in this tiny country! Let Mollie Fitzgerald or Anne Burgard help you start planning your Ecuadorian adventure today.
Photos Courtesy of: &Beyond, Casa Gangotena, Lindblad Expeditions, Mashpi Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center