Getting there: regular flights from major world cities to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, and José Joaquín de Olmedo International in Guayaquil What to see: the capital city of Quito, the Ecuador Amazon River region, Otavalo market, Bano and the Tungurahua volcano, Galapagos Islands Currency: US dollar (adopted in 2000)
Official language(s): Spanish
Of late, Ecuador has been in the headlines more for its political scandals and street protests than its reputation as a great travel destination.
Add to that a recent crime wave (near the northern border it shares with Peru) and the travel outlook in Ecuador dims even more.
Even so, the country lying right on the equator (Equator = Ecuador) has much to recommended it for savvy travelers beginning with the capital city of Quito.
Here, on pleasant strolls in downtown, a warm welcome is promised in many of its cafes, and history comes alive in its original colonial architecture.
Also remember to take the camera on a trip aboard the Teleferico cable car), transporting tourists to a nearby peak in the Andes for a birds eye view of the entire town and surroundings.
While in Quito,
take the short flight to the town of Lago Agrio to tour the country's
amazing natural beauty in the Oriente, the Ecuador
Amazon River region, for an awe-inspiring look at one of
the world's most diverse jungle ecosystems.
Birds-eye view of Quito.
Another memorable day tour may include heading north, for the two-hour trip by car to the charming town of Otavalo, famous for its weekend market of colorful crafts, textiles, and Andean mountain scenery.
Heading south, hikers and adventure travelers will also find unforgettable photo opportunities in Bano, home to the Tungurahua volcano, one of South America's most active!
Of course, a stay in Ecuador would not be complete without an excursion to the stunning untouched natural beauty of the Galapagos
Islands off the west coast, where memorable jungle safaris, exotic flora and fauna, and world-class diving and snorkeling await nature lovers and eco-tourists ...
DID YOU KNOW? Ecuador Travel Fun Facts
• Ecuador exports $2 trillion worth of bananas every year. And that's a lot of bananas.
• Lunch is the main meal of the day in Ecuador when restaurants fill with people ordering almuerzos, a big three-course meal stretching from soup to dessert.
• Cuy, or guinea pig, is considered to be a delicacy in Ecuador. To visitors, it most often tastes like rabbit.
More about Ecuador travel & tourist attractions around the Web:
Explorer - Complete
travel guide to the country's top attractions by major city or
national park areas including the coast, Andes and Amazon regions,
related hotel and tour information, practical travel tips, photos,