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Overview

No country in the world packs so many natural extremes into such a tiny package. The Amazon rainforest, the mighty, snowcapped volcanoes of the Andean highlands, the tropical Pacific coast and all the wildly bio-diverse regions in between make little Ecuador big on adventure. Toss the Galápagos Islands into the mix and you have one of the world's most exciting destinations for outdoor fun. But there's more: with its vibrant indigenous life, chaotic street markets, ever-present Andean music and some of South America's finest colonial architecture, Ecuador is also a cultural marvel. The country's culinary landscape - the soups, the ...

No country in the world packs so many natural extremes into such a tiny package. The Amazon rainforest, the mighty, snowcapped volcanoes of the Andean highlands, the tropical Pacific coast and all the wildly bio-diverse regions in between make little Ecuador big on adventure. Toss the Galápagos Islands into the mix and you have one of the world's most exciting destinations for outdoor fun. But there's more: with its vibrant indigenous life, chaotic street markets, ever-present Andean music and some of South America's finest colonial architecture, Ecuador is also a cultural marvel. The country's culinary landscape - the soups, the seafood, the myriad uses of corn - are practically unknown to the outside world. The end result: as a visitor, you can cram so much into such a short period of time, you're practically guaranteed to get your money's worth. And to the intrepid soul with unlimited time, it offers boundless exploration.

Danny Palmerlee
About the Expert

Danny Palmerlee is the main author of numerous Lonely Planet travel guides, including Ecuador, Argentina, South America on a Shoestring, and Pacific Northwest Trips.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Republic of Ecuador, literally translates to the Republic of the Equator, is a country in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight