Situated on the equator between Columbia and Peru, Ecuador is home to stunning historic cities, ancient ruins, beautiful and incredibly varied landscapes, and an impressive amount of flora and fauna. If you’re looking for an exotic and versatile destination for your next vacation, then I highly recommend Ecuador, as few other countries can offer so much in such a small area. Here you’ll find a startling amount of diverse landscapes, such as the low-lying amazon rainforest, Andean Mountains, sandy beaches, and of course the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.
If you have an interest in history, art, or architecture, then Ecuador is also a prime location for cultural tourism. The capital city, Quito, is home to an intact Spanish colonial center which contains ornate 16th- and 17th-century palaces and churches. The gold leaf coated, baroque styled Compañía de Jesús cathedral is unmatched in detail and artistry, and is one of the most popular. Iglesia de San Francisco is Quito’s first church and is still one of its most impressive and truly a magnificent sight. Quito also has Ecuador’s largest, and arguably best museum: Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador. The museum contains displays of pre-Columbian inhabitants as well as modern and historic art.
Ecuador has an incredible amount of biodiversity for its size due to its variety of climate zones. It is impressive to watch the landscape change as you travel from the mangrove filled coast, through the rainforest and over to the Andes highlands. The landscape of the highlands is called the páramo, which is a high, tropical, mountain terrain that features mostly shrubs, grasses, and large rosettes. There are many tours that will take you through any of these landscapes, though nothing quite stimulates all the senses like a trip through the Ecuadorian jungle.
Some consider the Galapagos Islands to be Ecuador’s crown jewel and its most exciting destination. The islands are considered one of the best places in the world for wildlife viewing and is home to many species that don’t exist anywhere else on earth. Tropical birds, albatross, penguins and Darwin finches also make it an incredible place for bird watching. If you have time, you should definitely take a tour out to the islands for a once in a lifetime experience.
Ecuador has so much to offer that you may end up having to make some tough decisions on what to see during your vacation, but there will never be a dull moment. It truly is a remarkable country, packed with friendly people and exotic locations. If you’re up for the adventure, then the official site for the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuadorcan help get you started.