Condors still fly, and the mountain ranges of the Andes show off their glorious majesty of brilliant sunsets bathed in colors of the rainbow, some of which have no name.
In Ecuador, there are more species of flora and fauna, for a country of this land mass, than any other in the world! Pristine beaches, mountain peaks for the climbers and trekkers, jungle for the botanist, birdwatcher, collector and just those who want to be amazed by the beauty of Nature at her best.
If you can't climb but want the rush of the rarefied atmosphere and oxygen at 13,000 ft. above sea level, take the Teleferico cable car up Rucco Pichincha. If it's wild white water rafting you're looking for you'll get your bumps and lumps with the class IV Rapids of the Misahuallí River.
Are you for real about the "big one" that got away? Maybe you're an International Sport Fisherman. Then you already know of the Marlin, Sail, Sword, Wahoo and Dolphin in the deep waters off the coast of Salinas. And for those looking for the waves there's Motanita, home to International Surfing Championships....and lot's more that takes place on the sand!
The Colonial Center of Quito and Pasaje La Ronda or Panecillo sitting on the highest point in the city will be for those who want to see some of the culture of Ecuador. With the many well preserved Catholic Churches that date back decades, and the Basilica, along with the Museum at the Banco Central are areas you won't want to miss.
If you've never had the experience of bargaining or bartering then you definitely need to visit open markets in cities like Riobamba, Ambato, Cumbaya, or Otavalo with the brightly colored tapestries, embroidered cotton shirts and blouses, woolen ponchos and many other hand crafted items. You can get some great buys, but not if you pay the first price they offer.
In Cayambe you can find the flower plantations with thousands of roses matching every shade on a color palette, or go to San Antonio de Ibarra to feast your eyes on shops full of wood carvings.
Near Mindo you can visit the butterfly gardens or go to the Oriente in search of orchids and bug life beyond number and size of anything you have ever encountered. Maybe you will visit a cacao
plantation to see the pods where the cacao bean comes from to make some of the finest chocolate in the world.
Or there is the province of Loja, recognized as the coffee belt of Ecuador, where you can find hundreds of acres of shade grown coffee trees. If you get there in the months of May through July, you’ll be just in time to help pick the bright red coffee cherries ready for harvest.
There are five star hotels and dining in the larger cities, and hidden in the outlying areas like Meson de Las Flores or Chordelec. In the capital you have Hotel Quito, the Hotel Colon or Chalet Swiss Hotels, offering the very best of accommodations. In Guayaquil on the coast there is the Oro Verde.
For some of the finest ceramics and hand crafted jewelry there is Cuenca, third largest city of Ecuador.
Depending on your adventurous spirit you may want to take the train ride through the Nariz del Diablo, the Nose of the Devil!
Have a look at the map of Ecuador to see where some of these cities and places are.
As with any precious Gem, the more facets it has the more valuable it is, and such is the case with Ecuador, the Jewel of the Andes. Come and see, experience the many views of this beautiful, mystical country, and leave knowing you’ll never see anything quite it’s equal.