Nowhere else on earth will you find so much natural diversity - and all the fun that accompanies it – in so tiny a place. Ecuador is the second-smallest country in South America, but its range of offerings is no less than astounding. In one day’s drive you can journey from the Amazon Basin across glaciated Andean volcanoes, down through tropical cloud forest and into the sunset for a dinner of ceviche on the balmy Pacific coast. One day you’ll pick through hand-woven wool sweaters at a chilly indigenous market in Otavalo; the next day you’ll sweat all over your binoculars while spying on howler monkeys in the Amazon jungles of the Oriente. For nature lovers Ecuador is a dream, with exotic orchids and birds, bizarre jungle plants, strange insects, windswept páramo (Andean grasslands), dripping tropical forests and the fearless animals that hop, wobble and swim around the unique, unforgettable Galápagos Islands.
For the adrenaline junky, the choices are outrageous. Mountaineering and trekking are world class (try the Quilatoa Loop); toss in some horseback riding and surfing and you’ll go home with a happily aching body. For the culture vulture, Ecuador's indigenous heritage of traditional costumes and highland markets will enchant you. As for colonial architecture, few cities top the beauty of Cuenca and Quito, both of which are Unesco World Heritage Sites. And you won't want to miss Baños, with its enticing mix of natural beauty and jumping nightlife.
So, no matter if you can’t decide exactly where to go – just go! The beauty of Ecuador is that you can change your surroundings as quickly as you change your mind.