Ecuador’s international tourism campaign “All You Need is Ecuador” is an unprecedented milestone in the country’s history. This message has succeeded in positioning Ecuador as a quality destination on an international level. Highlighting the Andes, the Amazon, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapágos Islands, Ecuador claims four distinct “worlds” existing within one little country about the size of Colorado.
The Andes Mountains
The Andes Mountains run north-south through the middle of the country and are the backbone of the nation. The country’s capital, Quito, is located high in the Andes Mountains. With fifteen different ethnic groups, the cultural diversity is great in the mountain region, which is known as “La Sierra” in Spanish. Most of Ecuador’s 28 volcanoes are in the highland region, with others in the Amazon and the Galápagos Islands. Due to its high altitude, La Sierra region has cool, spring-like weather with lots of sunshine. Visitors to La Sierra enjoy the colorful and friendly indigenous markets; the charm of colonial architecture and haciendas; and outdoor adventures in the cloud forest, near volcanoes, in national parks, and at hot springs. It is a naturally diverse area of untamed volcanoes, serene landscapes, and barren paramo vistas.
The Amazon Rain Forest
The Amazon Rain Forest region hosts the world’s most biologically diverse natural habitats. It is home to millions of species of plants, birds, insects, and mammals. Known as “El Oriente” in Spanish, it is the country’s largest region and lies east of the Andes (oriente means “east” in Spanish). There are three active volcanoes in the Amazon rain forest region of Ecuador: Sangay, Sumaco, and El Reventador. Ecuador is the only country where there are three active volcanoes located inside the Amazon rain forest. The Amazon is the habitat of several indigenous ethnic groups including the Huaorani, Shuar, Ashuar, Kichwa, Siona Sequoia, and Quijos. Visitors to El Oriente can learn much about indigenous people who still maintain their ancestral traditions, customs, rituals, and medicinal plants, as well as learn about the magnificent flora and fauna that live here. Visiting the Amazon promises the adventure of a lifetime!
The Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast is a lowlands region known as “La Costa” in Spanish. They run along the western coast and are home to rolling hills, dense mangrove forests, lush rainforests, and rushing rivers. Unlike the Andes, La Costa features a tropical climate and is hot and humid much of the year. With impressive beaches, visitors to this region can enjoy a wide variety of activities including whale watching, big game fishing, surfing, scuba diving, paragliding, and much more. And if that isn’t enough, the gastronomy of La Costa is sure to delight even the most demanding palate
The Galápagos Islands
Located just 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Each island is a masterpiece of nature. The archipelago is made up of thirteen main islands, six smaller islands, and more than a hundred islets and tiny rock formations sticking their heads above the sea just far enough to support the tenacious lives which cling there. Sea lions abound here! These ‘Enchanted Islands’ are every bit as miraculous and magical as people have been saying since explorers and pirates first landed on their volcanic shores over 500 years ago.
Check out the video below – and think about all you could do while serving and traveling in this amazing country.