The Country of Four Worlds
This tiny country offers an array of indigenous cultures, colonial architecture, scenic landscapes, rich heritage, wildlife, and dense rainforest - a potpourri which makes it one of the most fascinating places to visit.
The equator runs through Ecuador and is the center of our planet, bordered by Columbia to the northeast and Peru to the southeast. The capital, Quito, is awash with 17th-century churches and monasteries, and beautifully restored mansions. Wandering the cobblestone streets amid architectural treasures from Spanish colonial days and local markets is a blow back into its colored history. No surprise that Quito is listed by UNESCO as a premier world heritage site.
The famous Galápagos Islands, with their volcanic, otherworldly landscapes, are a magnet for wildlife lovers. You can get within spitting distance of massive lumbering tortoises, scurrying marine iguanas (the world’s only seagoing lizard), doe-eyed sea lions, prancing blue-footed boobies and a host of other unique species both on land and sea. A photographer's delight!
Visiting the Andean highlands is like stepping into a fairy tale: a patchwork of small villages, gurgling streams and rolling fields with condors circling overhead. These sublime and verdant landscapes make a fine backdrop for mountain biking, horseback riding or hiking from village to village or relaxing in natural hot springs. The entire “Avenue of the Volcanoes” a 200 mile stretch is home to some of the world’s tallest peaks and active volcanoes.
The territory colonized by Spain in the 16th century for its minerals and precious stones, achieved independence in 1820 as a part of Gran Columbia and finally emerged as a sovereign state in 1830. Spanish is the official language spoken by the majority of the population. 17.1 million people are mestizos, with a large minority of European, Amerindian, and African descendants.
If you are a climber, trekker, adventurer, a nature lover or wildlife admirer then the rainbow that is Ecuador will mesmerize you.