Ecuador
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Why Ecuador?

Ecuador is often disregarded as a tourist destination, commonly seen as the last stop before the Galapagos Islands.  There is much more to Ecuador than what meets the eye.  Read on to discover 10 reasons why we think Ecuador should be on your bucket list…

1. The Weather

Given that Ecuador sits on the equator the temperatures stay relatively the same, at an average of 20-25°C throughout the year.

You will find that depending on the region you visit, the weather will differ, for example Quito, the highest city in Ecuador usually sits at 18-19°C but some months see lows of 9-10°C.

The west of the Andes sees a much warmer climate with temperatures staying between 20°C and 30°C.

The forest region to the east of the Andes sees temperatures staying in the high 20’s and rarely dropping below 25°C.

2. Currency Exchange

Since 2000 when the Sucre was retired, Ecuador has been using the US Dollar. While Ecuador use the USD, you will find that prices are much cheaper than Australia and the US, giving you better value for your money wherever you go.

3. Rich in Culture and Heritage

Ecuador is a country overflowing with culture and history. There are many historical sites including  the Basilica del voto Nacional,  the Iglesia de Santo Domingo to the Plaza Grande, the Museo de la Ciudad to name just a few… and that doesn’t even include the rich historic centre of  Quito.

 4. The Food

Ecuador’s cuisine is just as diverse as its landscape. You’ll find  hearty mountain fare as well as seafood making up the core of Ecuador’s specialties.  Dishes such as a citrusy ceviche, toasted corn snacks, a cheesy potato soup, pan-fired pork/chicken, and goat stew are just a few menu items amongst a vast and varied collection of national cuisine.

One of their delicacies is the guinea pig, or in the local Kichwa language: cuy. Cuy is a premium speciality food that only a handful of the capital’s eateries and countryside of Quito will serve.

5. Mountains and Volcanoes

Ecuador is home to over 25 active volcanoes. The most famous in South America is Cotopaxi. Rising over 5000 metres, it is not only one of the most active but also one of the highest volcanoes in the world. Climbing to the top of the summit of the volcano takes around two – three days, the scenery is unparalleled as is the feeling when you reach the summit of a world famous volcano. Chimborazo is another volcano with a reputation. While Mt Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, you might be surprised to learn that the summit of Chimborazo actually puts you closer to space and further away from the earth’s core than Everest.

If you measure from sea level, Everest wins but because the Earth isn’t a perfect sphere, if you measure from the core, you’ll find Chimborazo is closer to space due to it being on the equator where the earth rises significantly higher than areas further south or north.

In Ecuador you’ll find so many more peaks that are higher than Chimborazo, but due to combined effects of gravity and rotational centrifugal forces that have pushed the Earth’s mass outward around its middle, Chimborazo rises almost 7,000 feet higher into space than Everest.

6. Off the Beaten Track

Ecuador is free from the mass tourism that affects other South American countries like Brazil and Peru. An oasis away from the crowds, it’s the perfect place to discover a new and exciting destination.

7. Beaches

With over 800km of coastline, finding some of South Americas most beautiful beaches is far from difficult.  The beaches in the Esmeraldas Province are the most popular of Ecuador’s beaches. Of the most peaceful is Tosupa – with wide beaches, cool blue water and golden sand.

8. Unmatched Diversity

Ecuador can sometimes feel like four countries in one. From the breathtaking Amazon, to the awe-inspiring beauty of the Andes, from  pristine stretches of the Coast to the legendary Galapagos Islands – each region boasts a distinctive landscape, ecosystem and culture. There’s nowhere else where you can have such diverse landscapes in a space the size of Nevada.

9. Sustainable Tourism

Ecuador has made conservation and responsible tourism a top priority. The country has been taking steps to ensure its ecosystems are carefully monitored and protected to preserve their natural wonder. Visiting Ecuador, allows you to contribute to their local economy and participate in their mission to become a global leader in sustainable tourism.

10. Galapagos Islands

Of course we can’t finish this list without mentioning the incredible Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution.

The islands have one of the most unique climates. Given the islands lay on the equator, the climate is fairly temperate. However, the current carrying waters from the chilly Antarctic and North Pacific actually cool the water surrounding the islands.

Along with a unique climate, the islands have a wide array of endemic flora and fauna, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and a few mammals that are native to the islands rather than introduced. From giant tortoises and Marine Iguanas to the Galapagos fur seal and Darwin’s finches, the wildlife in the Galapagos are truly the most remarkable in the world.

Whilst Ecuador is the second smallest country in South America, it has on offer a large variety of  culture, history, wildlife, landscapes and natural wonders.  Don’t hesitate, start planning your Ecuadorian adventure today.  You won’t regret it!!

References:  Thank you Climates to Travel, Simplicity Relished, CN Traveler, thoughtco.com, The Culture Trip, Thrill List, Chirije.com