Ecuador Holds Historical Cultural and Natural Wonders

By: Douglas Scott

Although the smallest of all the Andean countries, The Republic of Ecuador holds historical, cultural and natural wonders befitting an entire continent. Straddling not only two hemispheres but also two worlds, the ancient and the modern. This tiny republic with its remnants of past civilizations and Spanish conquests offers the traveller a striking blend of landscapes, peoples and cultures.

From ancient markets of the indigenous peoples, Amazon tributaries, Inca ruins, Andean peaks, 16th century churches, and the wildlife rich Galapagos Islands, Ecuador boasts an incredible diversity which belies its diminutive size. Indigenous cultures, tropical forests, active volcanoes, and a wealth of animal and bird life are all highly accessible within a matter of hours in a country no bigger than the US State of Colorado.

Once the Inca Empires northernmost territory, successive waves of invaders have left their indelible mark on the country. The remains of Inca and pre Inca fortresses dot hill tops across the Sierra, while in the highland valleys Quechua speaking Indiana sell traditional handicrafts in thousand year old markets. The beautifully preserved cities of Quito and Cuenca, both rich in 16th century art and architecture, and the elegant colonial haciendas found throughout the conquests and three hundred years of Spanish rule.

The Ecuadorian Dollar is the official unit of currency, but the US Dollar is accepted throughout Ecuador at equal value.

Temperatures and rainfall vary depending on the region, altitude, and seasonal factors

The Ministry of Tourism is working on many projects to develop tourist activity in Ecuador. In the Ministry section you will find detailed information on these projects, institutional information, and important contacts of the different offices within the Ministry.

Ecuador has many tourist destinations where you can participate in a variety of activities. You can practice mountain biking, climbing, rafting, or scuba diving, as well as visiting archaeological sites, museums, or theatres.

Straddling the equator, this small nation is richly endowed with snowy Andean peaks towering over emerald green slopes, rivers winding through tropical jungles, and beyond all this in the Pacific, lie the Galapagos Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean and approx. 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador, directly on the equator, the isolation of the islands has permitted life forms to evolve into species found only in Galapagos. This was observed by Charles Darwin, and his research contributed to the fame of the islands. It is a dramatic and beautiful world of volcanic landscapes and fearless animals: Giant Tortoises, Fur Seals, Sea Lions, Land and Sea Iguanas and many species of birds. A visit to this impressive wildlife sanctuary will be a memorable experience for those who appreciate nature.

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