Ecuador lies on the northwest coast of South America and is an interesting mix of city culture and stunning natural beauty. Ecuador’s two main attractions are the Andes Mountains, with the city of Quito and the Avenue of the Volcanoes, and the remote Galapagos Islands with their unique indigenous wildlife. Spanish is the native language and the official currency is the US Dollar.
Those staying in a holiday home in Ecuador’s coastal region will find some beautiful sandy beaches. Los Frailes in the Canoa area is a popular sunny beach at the foot of steep cliffs. Surfing, sunbathing and swimming are popular activities. For nature spotting, visitors wanting to experience Ecuador’s wildlife and rare plants should visit the Cotopaxi National Park which has wild horses, llama and unusual flora. The Cuyabano Wildlife Reserve also has a wonderful array of wildlife and plants. Hiking and cycling in the magnificent Andes are popular activities from holiday rentals in Ecuador. Shopping for handicrafts is very rewarding in Ecuador. Handmade Panama hats originated here and can still be bought here. Other great buys are colourful paintings, ceramics, leather goods, wood carvings and jewellery from the local handicraft markets.
Otavalo, in the mountains near Quito, is world famous for its huge textiles market. The thanksgiving festival called the Fiesta de Yamor also attracts many visitors to see this ancient Inca cultural celebration. The San Pablo. Majonda and Yahuarcocha Lakes are well worth visiting, along with the Lake of the Gods in the crater of the Cotachachi Volcano. The Avenue of the Volcanoes runs through a valley for 325 km and can be enjoyed by train as it passes between the series of snow capped giants. A cruise to the remote Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin’s studies into animal evolution, is possible from the mainland. Their remote location has protected its rare vegetation, natural beauty and endemic creatures, which include the Giant Galapagos Tortoises.
Ecuador has a tropical climate which can be hot and humid. The wet season along the coast runs from December to April, although showers can fall in any season. The Oriente rainforest has heavy rainfall throughout the year and the Andes are much cooler with temperatures ranging from 8-21°C (47-70°F) throughout the year.
The main international airport in Ecuador is Quito (UIO) Mariscal Sucre Airport which lies 8km (5 miles) from Quito city centre. Buses, taxis and shuttles frequently run the 20 minute journey between the airport and the city.There are also regular daily flights from all over the world to Guayaquil (GYA) Simon Bolivar Airport. The flight from London to Quito takes around 17 hours and from New York it takes 9 ½ hours. Due to the mountainous terrain, flights are also the best way to travel between Ecuador’s main cities.