Named after the equatorial line that runs through the country’s heart, Ecuador is located on South America’s Pacific Coast. Colombia borders it to the north, with Peru to the south and east. Ecuador is home to a rich cultural heritage with grand cathedrals, historic colonial Spanish architecture, expansive haciendas, Latin rhythm, fine cuisine, fresh tropical fruits, bustling markets full of colorful tapestries and other handmade crafts.
The unique geography of Ecuador creates four distinct ecoregions, supporting what ecologists call a mega-diversity hotspot. The archipelago of the Galapagos Islands made famous by Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of evolution; the Pacific coastal zone consisting of sandy beaches, rocky shoals and mangrove forests; the high sierra with major ranges of impressive snow-capped volcanoes reaching more than 6,000 meters (20,000 ft); and dense rainforests and meandering headwater streams of the Amazon basin create the four ecoregions of the country. This plethora of diversity makes the small country of Ecuador one of the most rewarding travel destinations, with more points of interest than many countries twice its size. All located in just a day’s drive from one another, you can travel from the beautiful patch work farm lands in the Andes to the tropical banana plantations in the low lands in one day!