Small. Vibrant. Underestimated. Ecuador is small but mighty.
What Ecuador lacks in size, it makes up for in sheer variety – from the cultures and indigenous communities to the landscapes. There’s colonial Quito and colourful market towns, dramatic volcanic silhouettes, dense Amazonian jungle and wild tropical beaches. Frankly, fascinating Ecuador has the lot.
Trek the foothills of Cotopaxi volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world; stay at a colonial working farm belonging to the former president of Ecuador; take part in an ancient Shamanic ritual of good energy in the ceremonial pyramid of the Caranqui civilisation; get tossed around in 4x4 vehicles to Mashpi Lodge in a 1,300 hectare rainforest reserve and spot howler monkeys, tree frogs and caiman; trek to shower in waterfalls and loll in their pools; fish for rainbow trout on a private farm with its own lagoons outside Quito; explore the Napo Wildlife Centre a community-based ecotourism reserve covering 82-square miles of pristine rainforest; catch and release Pirarucu the biggest fish in the Amazon basin.
Where to Stay
Canopy level lodges and beach cabanas, colonial mansions, town house hotels in historic centres and working farms.
When to Go
On the coast its dry from late May to November but cool, humid and overcast. The rainy season December to May is surprisingly the best time to visit, with sunny mornings and short tropical bursts in the afternoon.