To make Ecuador's attractions easier to manage, we have divided
Ecuador into eight distinct travel destinations. This will facilitate
a virtual tour of Ecuador and make it easier for you to plan a vacation.
These two pages are an introduction to those destinations. Each destination
is fully developed in its own section (see menu to left).
1. Quito and its Environs
Ecuador's capital, the cosmopolitan city of Quito,
is nestled in the Ecuadorian Andes just south of the equator. The
Old City of Quito is the continents best preserved colonial remnant
and is replete with churches, museums and narrow streets. Also within
this zone we include: the warm valley of Guayllabamba and its Zoo
to the north; Mindo and the cloud forests to the northwest; the subtropical
city of Santo Domingo to the south west; and the hot springs of Papallacta
located to the east.
2. Otavalo and the Northern Andes
The Northern Andes extends from
Cayambe to Tulcan near the Colombian border. The principle cities
are Otavalo, Cotacachi, Ibarra, Tulcan and Cayambe. This zone is known
for its indigenous markets, spectacular scenery and historic haciendas.
.3. Baños and the Central Andes
The Central Andes encompasses the
"Avenue of the Volcanoes" and includes the provinces of
Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo. The main cities are Baños
(famous for its thermal hotsprings and many waterfalls), Ambato, Riobamba
4. Cuenca and the Southern Andes
The Southern Andes includes
the principle cities of Cuenca and Loja and the "Valley of Longevity,"
Vilcabamba. Cuenca is known as the cultural capital of Ecuador and
is prized for its architecture. Also, Ecuador's most famous Inca ruin,
Ingapirca, is found in this zone.