Ecuador is most famous as a travel destination for it's ecological wealth and the most notable tourist attraction is the Galapagos island chain, once the scientific playground of Charles Darwin. On this small archipelago of volcanic islands weird and wonderful animals like the giant tortoise and marine iguana can be observed. Tourism on the Galapagos is strictly controlled to preserve the famous eco-system.
Other breathtaking natural wonders in Ecuador include the many volcanoes, particularly Cotopaxi, which is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and home to one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world; the Amazon rainforest, which attracts many adventurous travellers, with the town of Tena the most common launching point for jungle treks; and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, in the Andean foothills, which is a great favourite with nature lovers.
Those wanting to experience the scenic Ecuadorian coastline would do best to head to the southern coast, where numerous picturesque beach resorts can be found. The most popular of these is the pretty town of Montanita.
The capital, Quito, is the transport hub of the country and attracts tourists in its own right with colonial architecture, colourful markets, and Cotopaxi looming in the background. Cuenca is also a very attractive town and a hotspot on Ecuador's tourist circuit.
Plaza de la Independencia
The Plaza de la Independencia, also known as Plaza Grande, has always been the heart of the city of Quito, and as the hub of the old centre it is the best place to sit, enjoy a meal, and people-watch. Around the square... see full details
Plaza San Francisco
The Plaza San Francisco is a large cobbled square with the western side completely dominated by the enormous façade of the Iglesia de San Francisco and its belltower, as well as the Monastery of the same name.
It is a peaceful place, without the... see full details
El Mitad del Mundo
El Mitad del Mundo, translating to "The Middle of the World", is a purpose-built complex of museums and shops that was constructed to mark the equator, the line that gives the country its name. The 96-foot (30m) high Equator Monument is the focus... see full details
Ecuador is famous for its colourful, indigenous markets, and the best known of these is the market at Otavalo. It dates back to pre-Incan times, when jungle products were brought up from the lowlands to be traded for highland goods.
Every Saturday is a... see full details
Cotopaxi National Park
Parque Nacional Cotopaxi is Ecuador's most visited National Park, with one of the highest active volcanoes in the world at its centre. Volcán Cotopaxi, at 19,350ft (5,900m) above sea level, offers excellent hiking and climbing opportunities along with a small museum, a llama herd... see full details
The Spanish founded the charming city of Cuenca in 1557. Despite being Ecuador's third largest city, it is quaint and pretty, and a favourite for photographers, with its cobblestone streets and 16th-Century buildings in the old centre.
It is a good idea to spend... see full details
The small town of Banos is a holiday favourite for its hot springs. Framed by majestic mountains and volcanoes, it servas as a gateway to the Amazon rainforest. Situated on the slopes of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is also on constant alert... see full details
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