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Ecuador

ecuador train

All good things come in small packages. That is certainly true of Ecuador. It may be small, but it packs a punch and has a dazzling array of wonders.

In fact, it is home to picturesque colonial centers, Kichwa villages, Amazonian rainforest and the awe-inspiring heights of the Andes. You are bound to fill your camera with stunning photos and your mind with unforgettable memories during a trip to this wonderful region. 
 
If you want to unwind amidst awe-inspiring scenery, then head to the mountainous highlands to recharge at a historic hacienda, or enjoy some me-time amid a cloud-forest lodge near Mindo. For timeless mountain villages, head to Vilcabamba or picturesque former gold-mining town Zaruma. But if you want to escape to a coastal getaway, then you'll have plenty of options, from tiny end-of-the-road settlements like Ayampe and Olón to charming towns on the Galapagos, with great beaches and magnificent sunsets right outside your door.  It is the perfect spot to sit back, relax and master the art of relaxation. 
 
Culture vultures will be in for a treat as the historic centers of Quito   and Cuenca   are lined with photogenic plazas, 17th-century churches and monasteries, as well as beautifully restored mansions.  Just picture yourself wandering the cobblestone streets and taking in views of the architectural gems left from Spanish colonial days. It is the perfect place to discover history and take a stunning holiday selfie at the same time.
 
Ecuadorian landscape is as beautiful as its bustling cities. You will be wowed by the Andean villages, which are renowned for their colourful textiles and sprawling markets. These are great spots to put your haggling skills to the test and buy holiday souvenirs at bargain prices. Be sure to also check out Afro-Ecuadorian towns where days end with memorable sunsets. If you love to travel off the beaten track then make time to visit remote settlements in the Amazon where shamans still harvest the traditional rainforest medicines of their ancestors. This makes a fascinating trip and allows you the opportunity to understand the cultural history of the land.
 
For the ultimate adventure, be sure to go trekking into the Andes. Although views from the top are sublime, you don’t have to scale a mountain to enjoy the Andes. These verdant landscapes make a fine backdrop for mountain-biking, horseback-riding or hiking from village to village. And there are plenty of charming local guesthouses to rest in overnight along the way. 
 
If you want to do a spot of wildlife-watching, then head to the famed Galápagos Islands, which are a magnet for wildlife lovers thanks to their volcanic landscapes. Be sure to bring your camera as you can get up close and personal with massive lumbering tortoises, scurrying marine iguanas, doe-eyed sea lions, and a host of other unusual species both on land and sea. The Amazon rainforest is also a must-go place for wildlife lovers. Simply set out on the rivers and forested trails in search of monkeys, sloths, toucans and river dolphins. Some lodges also have canopy towers offering magnificent views and a chance to spot birdlife.