Straddling the Equator, and bordered to the north and northeast by Colombia, the south and southeast by Peru and the west by the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America. Despite its small size, however, it is one of the most geographically varied countries on the planet and it is this as well as well as a host of other factors which make it such an exciting destination to visit.
The Andes mountains cross the country from north to south and divide the country into three specific regions – Costa (Coastal Lowlands), Sierra (Highlands) and Oriente (Amazon Region). The fourth and final region is made up of the unique Galapagos islands which lie about a thousand kilometres west of continental Ecuador. The country is further divided into twenty-two provinces, five of which are on the Costa, ten on the Sierrra, 6 on the Oriente and the Galapagos constitute the final province.
The Costa lies between the Pacific and the Andes and consists mainly of coastal lowlands and mountains. As a result it offers lots of alternatives including unspoiled beaches, pristine lakes and breathtaking slopes. The Sierra is located between the eastern and western ranges of the Andes or the Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Oriental which are home to Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak and Mount Cotopaxi, the world’s highest active volcano. As well as this the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, is located on the Sierra. The Amazon region is where all the real adventurers should head for. Located on the eastern slopes of the Andes, this region is covered entirely by rainforest and all the flora and fauna that come with it. Finally you have the Galapagos - a group of volcanic islands that are home to the world famous giant tortoise and the Iguana as well as many more rare species.
As you can probably gather from all of this, the natural attractions on offer in Ecuador are pretty spectacular. From the Andean highlands to the Amazon rainforests, this truly is sightseeing at its very best. Add to this the unique culture and tradition preserved by the natives for thousands of years from pre-Inca times right up until the present day and you can see why this is one country you should certainly add to your itinerary.