Between 2.860 kms. of coastline along the Pacific ocean and the western foothills of the Andes, the ecuadorian coast has pristine beaches, dry and cloud tropical forest remnants, mangrove reserves and hills, inhabited by indigenous and mestizos communities dedicated mainly to fishing and farming. Ocean and nature lovers will find in this area a gratifying experience, visiting protected areas and different sustainable tourism projects. Guayaquil, the biggest coastal city, is the main port and economic capital of the country, it is also the gateway to the Galapagos Islands and starting point for several destinations within Ecuador.
Valleys, volcanoes, paramo and snow-covered peaks give shape to the impressive landscape of ecuadorian high lands, where agricultural activities and indigenous villages add a fascinating mixture of colors to the scenery. The Avenue of the Volcanoes is full of adventure opportunities for the travelers: hiking, horse-riding, trekking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, are among some of the activities that can be done in the area, which includes some of the most important indigenous markets in South America. The main cities in the highlands are Quito, capital of Ecuador and Cuenca, both declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Descending eastwards from the Andes offers the chance to discover one of the main natural wonders on earth: the Amazon basin, and the best way to really get to know it is with the people who have lived there for centuries: the Shuar, Achuar, Huaorani, Siona - Secoya, Cofán, Záparo, and Quichua. Different types of jungle programs that include community-based touristic operations, offer the best chance to learn about the fauna and flora of the jungle, as well as about the traditions, culture and wisdom of ecuadorian indigenous people. Among different protected areas, special mention deserves Sangay National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and Yasuní National Park, a biosphere Reserve.
Almost 1000 kms off the continental coast, these islands are considered a living laboratory of evolution, also declared by UNESCO as a Natural World Heritage Site. There are 13 large islands, 6 small ones and over 40 islets that include a large number of endemic species of flora and fauna. Underwater life in the Marine Reserve is also amazingly rich and includes over 300 species of fish, of which 50 are endemic. To visit the islands, you may choose among floating hotels that carry from 16 up to 100 passengers, land accommodation with day cruises or surfing tours. Programs may last 3, 4 or 7 nights.