Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, surrounded by mountains and snow-capped volcanoes, has one of the best-preserved city centres in Latin America. A walking tour will take you along ancient paved streets, past colonial buildings and into museums detailing the history of Ecuador. Stand astride the ‘Middle of the World’, where the equator runs through the city. Visit towns such as Otovalo and enjoy colourful markets that provide further insights into life in Ecuador.
Only a few hours from Quito, the warm tree-covered slopes of the lower Andes have created a special ecosystem – Mindo cloud rain forest. This special location is home to hundreds of species of tropical birds, butterflies and orchids, with hiking trails and canopy walks enabling visitors to appreciate its attractions fully.
South of Quito, Cuenca is a quintessentially Spanish colonial city with cobbled streets, tree-lined plazas and centuries-old churches. Cuenca is a centre for craftwork, where the Panama hat originated, and colourful ceramics, jewellery and ponchos are still available today.
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and port, has recently seen investment in refreshing its streets and waterside and creating good hotels and trendy restaurants. However, Las Penas, the historic quarter and home to artists, still stands with its jumble of multicoloured houses, galleries and bars.