The arresting mystery of the Galapagos Islands are Ecuador’s main attraction, but that same magnificent biodiversity reigns supreme throughout this tiny jewel of a country. The stark contrasts of its landscapes and its rich caches of natural treasures will quicken your heart and capture your imagination.
Flights to Ecuador
The sparkling new Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) is Ecuador’s busiest airport, serving 8 million passengers a year. It entirely replaced the old airport of the same name to offer travelers a modern, spacious facility, and to keep aircraft away from residential areas. The single terminal is small and manageable.
Ground transport to Quito, Ecuador’s well-preserved historic capital city, is managed by a variety of hotel shuttles, public buses, private coaches, and taxis. José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) welcomes almost 4 million passengers each year. American Airlines has a direct route here from Miami, while LAN Ecuador flies direct from New York-JFK.
What to do in Ecuador
Ecuador’s compact size makes it possible to see an amazing array of sights in a relatively short amount of time, but each place you visit is worth a lingering exploration. Its two major cities, Quinto and Cuenca, are packed with dazzling examples of restored colonial architecture, with exquisite plazas, churches, monasteries and mansions gracing the cities’ winding cobblestone streets. Reserve a day for visiting the exceptional museums dedicated to pre-Columbian artifacts, local folk art, and the gripping history of this brave little country.
Ecuador’s central sierras are home to graceful green valleys and glistening lakes, ringed with volcanic peaks. Off to the east, the Oriente region is covered by lush, dense Amazonian rainforest, while more than 600 miles out to sea, the legendary Galapagos beckon travelers intent on following in Darwin’s footsteps.
Advice for Tourists Visiting Ecuador
Spanish is the official language here, although indigenous languages are still spoken in remote areas. Most people dealing directly with tourists will have some fluency in English, but a few Spanish lessons and a good phrasebook or app won’t go amiss. Typhoid and possibly Yellow Fever vaccinations are encouraged before you go, and its best to stick to bottled water here.
The currency most commonly used is the US dollar, but large denominations are treated with suspicion and may need to be changed at a bank for smaller notes. For small change, Ecuador has its own coins, which correspond with American coins in size and weight.
Recent investment has given Ecuador an impressive modern road infrastructure, and driving through the country is an unmatched way to uncover its wonders. Skyscanner’s free car rental comparison tool will help you get the best deal. After a long and rewarding day on the road, you’ll want somewhere comfortable to rest, so use our hotel price comparison service. We’ll get you a great price, and we won’t charge you a penny.
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