Wedged between giant Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest nations. But its landscapes are definitely larger than life: The Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. All three of them within easy reach of one another and doable on a single trip.
Much of Quito, the country’s high-altitude capital, is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects its well-preserved Spanish colonial old town. The Pan-American Highway meanders past massive, snowcapped volcanoes to Otavalo and its legendary craft market, and haciendas that welcome overnight visitors for horseback riding, spa treatments and gourmet meals.
Jungle lodges along the headwaters of the Amazon provide insight into Ecuador’s rainforest flora, fauna and indigenous peoples. Along the Pacific coast are emerging beach destinations like Bahía de Caráquez. While 560 miles offshore lie the incomparable Galapagos Islands, with their abundant wildlife, underwater treasures and twisted volcanic topography.