Travel to Ecuador, Small and Beautiful.

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ecuador

It’s a well-known saying that strong essences come in small bottles and Ecuador is the “definition of”, if I may put it this way.

Being the one of the smallest countries in South America and cut in half by the Equator, Ecuador borrows its name from this “happening”. (Ecuador->Equator).

This very interesting nation is tucked between Peru (on the south east), Columbia (in the north east) and the rest is nothing but ocean (the Pacific, that is, to the west). The Pacific coastline is relatively huge by comparison (Ecuador being so small) and the biodiversity of the place is simply fascinating, especially in the Galapagos Islands.

With a surface area of 283,561 square km and a population just shy of 15 million people, Ecuador has a very diverse climate ranging from tropical on the Pacific coastline to a cooler and drier one inland, especially in the elevated areas.

Being bisected by the Equator means that there’s no clear summer and winter, it’s just dry season and rainy season. Ecuador is a catholic nation and the official language is Spanish, along with various Amerindian dialects like Quechua.

Ecuador is a very special touristic destination if you take into account the fact that its main city and capital Quito was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site back in the seventies due to its perfectly preserved historic center in South America.

Quito

What to see and what to do in Ecuador

Being the land of bio-diversity and climates, Ecuador is the perfect destination for any kind of tourist. The infrastructure is pretty good and in a single day’s drive you can see exotic jungles, the rain forest, volcanoes and what not and also benefit from Ecuador’s finest seafood.

The country is divided into three main regions : Sierra, Costa and Oriente. The Andes Mountains that cross the middle Ecuador are perfect for hikers and “mountaineers” while the beautiful beaches of the Galapagos islands make for a paradisiac place, THE place for diving and admiring the natural beauties of this part of the world.

Cochasqui

Cochasqui is located north of the capital Quito and makes for an ancient place filled with pre Inca mounds and ancient monuments. On Ecuador’s Puerta Lopez  you’ll find the Parque Nacional Machalilla where you can enjoy a rare thing: whale watching (humpback whales that is).

Loja makes for the opposite of “tourist traps” being a lonely and isolated province filled with art and culture, far away from the regular tourist trails.

Tena (along with Loja) is pretty famous for its rainforest and beautiful rivers which flow unspoiled and crystal clear through it, an epic place to discover what Amazon (the real one) truly means.

loja

Zaruma is a pearl hidden in the highlands of the province El Oro, an impeccably preserved colonial city featuring a nice mountain retreat.

There’s an avenue of volcanoes  to be admired in Ecuador, the most important being Chimborazo and Cotopaxi.

Banos is a booming tourist resort sitting relaxed near a violent volcano (Tungurahua) where you can enjoy thermal baths and waterfalls, along with beautiful sights (i.e. lava and ashes exhaled by the volcano, it’s pretty scary actually).

banos

You can go cycling down the Andes mountains, visiting Cuenca in the process (another beautifully preserved colonial city) , ride the train on Devil’s Nose from Riobamba to Alausi or visit the Equator line monument,  near  Quito, the capital.

Galapagos Islands are a must-see when traveling to Ecuador, the place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, thanks to its fabulous biodiversity.  There are 13 main islands in the archipelago and the impact of human activity on these places is minimal. You can go sailing or snorkeling along with sea lions and penguins, they’re accustomed to our presence.

Quito is a half modern half traditional place, the main city and also the capital and it sits in the clouds literally, at 9300 feet, dominated by impressive volcanic peaks with an awesome view over the surrounding valley.

Galapagos

Food and Drink in Ecuador 

Ecuadorian cuisine is serious business for its people and due to the climate, there’s a wide range of foods available, basically three styles of regional cuisine .

Specialties include roasted guinea pig, pancakes (filled with mash potatoes and cheese), exotic fruits from the jungle (cherimoya, mamey, pepinos), lobster, shrimp, locro (a kind of soup), morocho de leche (desert), raw seafood cooked in lime and chili sauce yukka etc.

Beer is pretty good in Ecuador (Club, Biela and Pilsener) along with cheap Argentinian/Chilean wines. Local beverages include chicha and aguardiente.

cuisine

Visa Requirements

All tourists are required a valid passport to be carried on your person at all times. No Visa is necessary though.

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