Ecuador Travel
Ecuador has four unique regions with diverse activities within a small compact area. Time needs to be spent exploring Ecuador. There is a large collection of plants , animals, landscapes and people that reside in each or the four regions.

Galapagos Islands
In the Galapagos Islands rare species of birds can be found. There are other rare animals there as well. The islands lie 600 miles offshoreof the coast of Ecuador. Animals include the Marine iguanas, giant tortoises, sea lions boobies , and pelicans penguins.

Ecuador one of the most beautiful countries in South America . The smallest country in the rugged Andean highlands, Ecuador has an array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well-preserved colonial architecture, otherworldly volcanic landscapes and dense rainforest. And all that in a nation no bigger than the US state of Nevada.

Ecuador is a wonderful destination for travelers who are interested in the outdoors and nature-related activities. (For many nature lovers, a trip to the Galapagos is a pilgrimage.) Those who wish to visit the coast, the high mountains and the rain forest will find them very near one another. One can experience almost any climate they are looking for. Be prepared for all types of weather. It may be sunny and then a sudden downpour is possible. It may be very warm and then a cool breeze may blow in.

The best time to visit Ecuador is all year round. The highlands' dry season (the best time for hiking and climbing) is June to August, which coincides with the wettest months in the Oriente. Trekking in the Oriente is best done in the dry season, from late August through February. As for crowds and costs, the high season both on the mainland and in the Galápagos tends to be mid-December through January and June to August, when most of the vacationing foreign visitors arrive. A happy time of year.

If you're visiting the Galápagos, you'll find the warm rainy season from January to April is the best time for snorkeling; the rest of the year the water is cooler, typically around 20°C (68°F). The mainland coast has similar weather patterns, and its beaches fill up from January to May during coastal Ecuador 's school holidays. June through August sees gringo vacationers descend, though the weather's generally gone chilly by then. Not too chilly, but comfortable.

Some of the country's finest climbing and trekking is found about 60km (37mi) south of Quito in Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, whose cone-shaped centerpiece, 5900m (19,350ft) Volcán Cotopaxi, is the world's tallest active volcano. Don't attempt to climb higher than the Jose Ribas refuge (at 4800m/15,750ft) without a guide, proper equipment and a good deal of previous snow and ice climbing experience. Further south, the town of Baños makes a good base for short walks and ambitious climbs, and it has the added bonus of having toasty thermal springs nearby. Great to comfort the body.

Near Cuenca in the southern highlands, the Area Nacional de Recreación Las Cajas offers rugged hiking in bleak terrain scattered with beautiful lakes. Ecuador 's highest peak, the 6310m (20,700ft) Chimborazo , is not for daytrippers - if you're not an experienced climber, stick to the area around the mountain, which is great for less strenuous treks. Better safe than sorry.

Ecuador has warm coastal water year round. There are decent swimming beaches at Atacames, San Vicente, Bahía de Caráquez, Bahía de Manta, Salinas and Playas. Beware of the strong undertow at Atacames, which claims victims every year. Always swim with friends.

Scuba diving is possible in the Galápagos Islands , but you must have your own equipment and book a tour in advance. Snorkeling in the archipelago is less of a hassle - you may even find baby sea lions approaching to stare at you through your mask. Again, bring your own gear and book ahead.

Jungle excursions in the Oriente can be arranged at Misahualí, Coca, Baños, Dureno, Tena and Quito. Excursions often include walks, swims and dugout-canoe trips. Birdwatching is best on jungle tours or while visiting Area Nacional de Recreación Las Cajas, Parque Nacional Cotopaxi or the Galápagos Islands

If you're visiting the Galápagos, you'll find the warm rainy season from January to April is the best time for snorkeling; the rest of the year the water is cooler, typically around 20°C (68°F). The mainland coast has similar weather patterns, and its beaches fill up from January to May during coastal Ecuador 's school holidays. June through August sees gringo vacationers descend, though the weather's generally gone chilly by then. Still is is beautiful and pristine, and worth a visit anytime. Go for it.

The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Nine presidents have governed Ecuador since 1996. Although there has been some recent political termoil. However with the President now in excile to Brazil, things have calmed down. Luckily the violance was brief and not too severe. Hopefully tourists won't be scared, as the country truely is beautiful. And it is generally safe as long as you use your head. Ecuadorians are extremely polite and helpful. The country is largely undiscovered by tourists. Which is good as it allows visitors to see another culture. One can still see indigenous traditions. Quite an experience for those not familiar with this. The best way to visit is to hire a guide to show you the local specialties. Especially to trek Cotopoxi. Make sure you leave early enough in the day, as it is a full day trip. And stop for gas when you can. As there are not to many gas stations in that region, and you don't want to get stuck out there as it can get chilly at night. There are not many passing cars at night either. So it could get quite lonely out there.