Reasons to Visit
Easily accessible from Quito, the Ecuadorian Amazon offers some of the best run eco-lodges in the whole of Latin America. Whether it is Sacha, Napo or Haourani Lodge, you are best placed for some excellent wildlife vieiwing as well as learning about the indigenous population that manage and run the lodges.
In addition to the traditional farmhouse haciendas, the cities of Quito and Cuenca offer fine examples of Spanish Colonial architecture. Both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the fabulous historical centres are complimented with lovely cafes and great restaurant options.
Markets form an integral part of Ecuadorian life. Ranging from vast colourful textile markets geared towards tourists around Otavalo to local markets in the central highlands selling everything from corn and bananas to refrigerators and satellite dishes - there is a market that will engross visitors, no matter what their age or interest.
Traditional farmhouse haciendas are dotted across the high Andean countryside but are concentrated around the town of Otavalo and the Cotopaxi National Park. Dating back as far as the 16th Century, they are full of character and offer guests an opportunity to step back in time. They make for a great base for walking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Even thought it isn't widely appreciated, the fact remains that the Panama hat wasn't in fact invented in Panama, but instead originated in Montecristi, northwest Ecuador! The name was derived when the hats were shipped to Panama to protect the canal construction workers from the sun in the early 1900s. Today a number of factories continue to produce hats around the southern city of Cuenca.
The Rainforest in Ecuador offers a wealth of options to the visitor. Yasuni National Park is home to some of the best run eco-lodges in South America, each boasting comfortable accommodation and great wildlife viewing opportunities. In the southeast of the country, some eco-lodges provide the added cultural experience of living with the indigenous Amazonian population.
Due to its location on the Pacific 'Ring of fire', Ecuador boasts no less than 28 volcanoes, many of which are active. 10 of Ecuador's volcanic mountains are over 5000m in altitude and best viewed along the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' between Quito and Cuenca. Here there is a wonderful mix of local farming communities and National Parks all overlooked by snow-capped peaks - great for the outdoor enthusiast.
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As the slopes of the High Andes head down east to the Amazon plains and west to the coastal regions, enormous expanses of cloudforest cover the hillsides.
The forests are full of wildlife, and are exceptional for the high diversity of birdlife in particular.
Various reserves and national parks lie just a couple of hours from Quito, such as Maquipucuna, where the rare Andean spectacled bear has been sighted, and the Mindo area, home to myriad species of hummingbird.
Bellavista is a perfect place to while away the hours amidst colourful butterflies and wander amongst the orchids on the numerous wildlife trails.
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Include a visit to the Cloudforest on your tailor-made trip around Ecuador by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in EcuadorWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout EcuadorCountry Guides
Other countries in South America:ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilChileColombiaGuyanaParaguayPeruThe Falkland IslandsThe Galapagos IslandsUruguayVenezuela
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