About Us Tourism in Ecuador

Ecuador is the smallest country in the rugged Andean highlands with its array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well preserved colonial architecture, volcanic landscapes and dense rainforest.

Quito - The capital of Ecuador is arguably the most beautiful city in South America. It is situated 116 miles from the Pacific coast at an altitude of 9,350 feet, just south of the Equator. It has a pleasant climate that can be described as "permanent spring". The city, one of the oldest in South America, is built in a small basin on the lower slopes of Cerro Pichincha. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Quitu and for several decades, prior to its occupation by Spaniards in 1534, was the second (northern) capital of the Inca empire. The city’s official name, as given by the Spaniards, is Villa de San Francisco de Quito. It is Ecuador's second largest city and is the political, administrative, and cultural capital of Ecuador. It was the first city to be declared a cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO in 1979.

Quito, more than any other South American capital, has preserved its colonial atmosphere, with squares, fountains, public buildings, and houses built in the typical Spanish style. Most attractive is the main square, Plaza Mayor, with its seventeenth-century cathedral, government palaces, municipal hall, and other buildings. Quito is well known for its many small workshops producing native arts and for its outdoor Indian markets.
Otavalo: Every Saturday, this small town of the province of Imbabura ( 100 kilometers north of Quito), becomes very colorful when the natives begin to exhibit in the Poncho square, the hand-made carpets, blankets, belts and a great diversity of objects.

Guayaquil: Guayaquil is the business capital of Ecuador.

Volcanoes - Chimborazo / Cotopaxi National Park: Ecuador's "Avenue of the Volcanoes" is a 325 km. long valley between the major Cordillera ranges. Massive and standing alone volcanoes provide brooding, snow-covered contrast to the green equatorial lushness. They also provide mountaineers a rare opportunity to scale high altitudes without technical difficulty.

Chimborazo meaning "mountain of snow" in the local language, is the highest active volcano of the world (6,005 meters).

Ecuador Archaelogical Sites - Ecuador has several ruins left over by the Incas and other ancient Latin American civilizations. The principal Inca site is Ingapirca. Others include Rumicucho, near Quito; La Tolita, near Esmeraldas; and Tomebamba in Cuenca (most of the ruins in this old provincial capital have been built over, but some can be seen at Avenida Todos Santos). The ruins of the ancient Valdivia culture (dating back to 3200 BC) lies at Real Alto, San Isidro and Santa Elena—all of which are located in the coastal area to the northwest of Guayaquil. Santa Elena is notable for having the world's oldest known cemetery (dating back to 5000 BC). Inside the Machalilla National Park is the site of Agua Blanca. (Artifacts from most of these places are best seen in museums in Guayaquil and Quito).

Ambato, Ecuador - This modern city (pop. 140,000) to the south of Quito was rebuilt following a 1949 earthquake—little evidence of the colonial era remains. Ambato, however, is a good place to buy Salasaca Amerindian tapestries and other handicrafts (Monday is the main market day, with smaller ones on Wednesday and Friday). Tourist sights include the Quinta de Mera (historic home), the local museum and the relaxing Parque Juan Monsalvo. The city hosts the Fruit and Flower Festival during the last two weeks of February. Visitors can take excursions to Chimborazo (at 20,700 ft/6,310 m, it's Ecuador's highest peak); the Fauna Production Reserve (15,000 acres of native flowers and plants); and to the nearby town of Banos. Ambato is 75 miles to the south of Quito.

Baños, Ecuador - Is located in the middle of a mountainous region and is a place for relaxation while exploring the Andean Highlands. It is very well know for its natural springs.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Panama hats are the trademark of Cuenca, Ecuador's third-largest city. Panama hats were first made there. The city still maintains the Andean Small town aura. The city has year round spring like climate that makes it a favorite tourist destination in Ecuador. The town has an Old World, Spanish colonial feel.

Galapagos Islands - The Galapagos Islands are a group of twelve volcanic islands and numerous islets 650 miles off the Pacific coast of Ecuador. The area of the islands is 3,086 square miles and only two of the islands are inhabited: Isabela, the largest of the group, and San Cristobal. Current estimated population in the islands is 20,000. The islands are hilly, rising to a height of 5,000 feet, and there are several active volcanoes.
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique exotic fauna and flora, best known being the huge tortoise (galapago) and some species of lizards. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1830 and it was here that he made the majority of his observations that led to his theories on evolution and the Origin of the Species.