On an escorted tour to Ecuador there is so much to discover, from colonial cities and Andean villages to the astounding Amazon Rainforest and the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.
A good place to begin your exploration of this small South American country, sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, and straddling the equator, is its capital Quito.
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The most famous of the unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands is the giant tortoise. Known as the Galapagos tortoise, the islands were named after these creatures, with early explorers describing them as galapago – an old Spanish word for saddle, hinting at the shape of their shells.
Nestled in a central valley more than 9,000 feet up in the Andes, flanked by active volcanoes such as Pichincha, Quito is one of the world’s highest capital cities, and few can be more dramatically situated. It boasts a bustling modern downtown area, La Mariscal, beautiful natural parks, and the Mitad Del Mundo monument and park, marking the Equator, but it’s the Old City that attracts most attention, and which helped make it one of UNESCO’s first two World Cultural Heritage sites.