Neighbouring Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is a relatively small country that nevertheless offers an enticing array of scenic landscapes, diverse wildlife species and interesting cities. Dense Amazon rainforest, towering Andean mountain peaks, palm-fringed Pacific Coast beaches and fascinating historical sites are all part and parcel of Ecuador’s prolific charms. The former Inca town of Cuenca is the nation’s third-largest city and a Unesco World Heritage Site. This alluring city, with its cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and photogenic plazas, boasts a huge variety of museums and art galleries. The vibrant capital city of Quito is also worth a visit. Arguably the most dazzling jewel in Ecuador’s crown is the Galapagos Archipelago in the Pacific, about 1000 kilometres west of the mainland. Their magnificent, pristine landscapes and prolific wildlife, which inspired Charles Darwin, have made this cluster of islands a world-famous travel destination.
Days 1 - 2
Set in the middle of Ecuador, between a triangle of nature reserves in the country’s Amazonian region, Napo Province offers its visitors an incredible natural paradise. In Papallacta, relax in famous, wonderful natural hot springs, or go searching for orchids and hummingbirds. In Tena, explore the spectacular Jumandi Caves and swim the pool beneath, go chocolate tasting at the Kallari Chocolate Farm, and work it off with watersports on the Jatunyacu River. Take a shower in magnificent waterfalls in Misahualli, or learn about (and follow the trail behind) the legend of the Treasure of the Llanganates at the Llanganates National Park. At the Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, see some 280 birds species, and look for glimpses of jaguars and brown-toed sloths. Meet locals in the communities of Oyacachi and Paquiestancia, and watch Andean condors fly overhead, in the Cayambe-Coca National Park.