Ecuador is home to 2 World Heritage Sites, 11 National Parks, 9 ecological reserves, 4 biological reserves and 31 volcanoes.
The Andes/ La Sierra
The Andes forms the country’s spine. The peak of Chimborazo at 6,238 meters is the furthest point from the centre of the Earth and Cotopaxi is the world’s highest active volcano. The Sierra’s elevation provides a comfortable, springtime climate all year round. Highlights include Ecuador’s capital city, Quito with its UNESCO world heritage centre, the colonial cities of Cuenca and Loja, the markets of Otavalo and beautiful country haciendas.
Amazon Basin/ El Oriente
The Amazon basin, known as the Oriente covers the eastern slopes of the Andes and pristine lowland rainforest. The road from Quito rises to cross the windswept paramo and then descends through the cloud forest, past hundreds of waterfalls to the sub-tropical foothills. Looking east the vast rainforest stretches out before you.
The Pacific Coast/ La Costa
Travelling west from Quito is another astounding descent from the Andes to the tropical coastline with its long sandy beaches, surfing, whale-watching, and wonderful seafood. To the south is Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and commercial centre.
The Galapagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are a unique and pristine ecosystem and lie 1200 kilometres to the west. They provided the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and are the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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