Ecuador Voted in the Top 10 Places to Visit in 2014

The home of the Galapagos!

Ecuador, located in the North-West region of South America, and with a population of 15 million, is famed as the home of the Galapagos, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.

What makes Ecuador so appealing for tourists to visit?
Ecuador is proving attractive for tourists due to its wonderful landscapes, many different traditional cultures, and fabulous diversity that the country offers. Ecuador is one of the premier birding destinations in the world, it has over 1,600 species of birds, 4000 kinds of orchids, one of the largest condor shelters on the planet. You can visit a wide range of wonderful places where these species can be seen and enjoyed.

Ecuador’s Highlights:

One of Ecuador’s highlights is the Andes with its wonderful scenery. To the North of Quito you will find many indigenous towns including Otavalo, with its famous indigenous markets.

In Ecuador, the great Andes Mountain range splits in two, allowing for diverse ecosystems and scenery unique to this amazing country such as lush subtropical and Amazon rainforest, mystical cloud forests, tundra, glacial flows and more all within a few hours of each other. The “Avenue of the Volcanoes” is also home to Ecuador’s new boutique train ride, or “Tren Crucero” which will take you from the coast to the highlands including a stop at the 6th highest train station in the world (4,300 masl), Cotopaxi National Park, local markets, beautiful haciendas, interaction with authentic indigenous communities, and a ride through the famous “Devil’s Nose”, an amazing feat of human engineering.

Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market – famous indigenous market

See also: Ecuador Voted Top 10 Places to Visit in 2014 by NY Times

The snow-capped mountains and breath-taking volcanoes, luxury vintage trains and its varied weather seasons also make Ecuador one of the most attractive countries to visit.

The historic cities of Quito and Cuenca are home to vibrant markets and authentic, colorful indigenous communities. Both of these cities are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Quito being the very first to be placed on this list as well as being the best kept, and largest Historical Center in Latin America.

Cuenca is a lively colonial gem with cobbled streets, white buildings and red tiled roofs. This is an excellent site to visit for cultural pursuits. There are many other exciting cultural experiences and destinations too! Only in Ecuador will you find such a broad spectrum of native cultures – there are 26 different indigenous cultures in Ecuador, a country of only 14 million people and roughly the size of the state of Nevada! As if this wasn’t enough, travelers can also visit the Amazon Rainforest. In Ecuador, unlike other regions, the Amazon is easy to access and there are beautiful lodges, some of them run by local indigenous communities, as well as river cruises that offer authentic and exciting Amazon experiences without sacrificing comfort. A journey in the forest for the first time is a real eye-opener, with so much to see and learn about the ecosystem.

Cuenca World Heritage Site

Cuenca World Heritage Site

The Ecuadorian Amazon is a particularly good place for those interested in learning about indigenous towns and their communities. There are some excellent lodges and is a great example of where tourism is helping preserve traditional ways of life. A journey in the forest for the first time is a real eye-opener, with so much to see and learn about the ecosystem.

Napo Wildlife Center
Napo Wildlife Center in the Amazon

Voted the #1 Bucket List Destination for 2014’s by USA Today’s, the Galapagos Islands are Ecuador’s prized possession, a crown jewel 1000kms (600 mi) from the mainland, in the Pacific Ocean, that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and certainly appear to be out of this world. They are a land of raw wilderness, unique wildlife found nowhere else in the world which evolved isolated from humans and their influence. This is likely the main reason, along with conservation efforts, that a curious tourist walking along a trail is irrelevant to the local fauna. They have no reason to be scared and just go about their day to day allowing visitors to have close encounters unlike anywhere else in the world.

ECUADOR: the best place in the world to retire?
Ecuador has also been voted the best place in the world to retire with a cheap cost of living, and top-class yet affordable health care.

Property is relatively cheap to buy or rent, particularly beachfront villas. Rural locations are even cheaper and there is no tax to pay on importing your goods from overseas.

We encourage you to visit Ecuador and amaze yourself with a variety of places to visit and activities to experience. Ecuador is a diverse and versatile destination, easy to get to and to get around in. A definite must to visit in 2014. To find out more about Ecuador travel & tours, click here – Ecuador Tours