Manage episode 241166685 series 10581
Twenty-seven days in Ecuador gave us a chance to explore diverse areas of this small country. These 3+ weeks in Ecuador allowed us to visit the Amazon rain forest, Galapagos islands, and Andes mountains all within a country that is the size of Nevada. Small but diverse with rural-urban, hot-cold, and wet,-dry regions all on the Equator. For a small country in South American, Ecuador has a lot to offer. Our first stop was Quito, the capital. At 9000 ft and surrounded by volcanoes (some active) it is a scenically beautiful city. The hot jungle of the Amazon is what you would expect. Hot, humid and full of animals, bug and other critters. We toured on foot and canoe to see both land and water life. We then boarded a plane to fly 2 hrs off the coast to the chain of islands know as the Galapagos. They are part of Ecuador's national park system. As such they are protected and have strict rules for visitors. This control does maintain a good visitor experience (as long as the rules are followed). Getting close to nature is the rule and the preserving the animal life is the at the foundation of the visitor experience. Few places in the world have a an indigenous population of animals that do not fear man. This is one of them. Birds don't fly away and other creators don't disappear when they see your face. Long lenses are not necessary for animal close-ups. It an animal is curious, they approach without fear - and they did. This is a novel experience for most visitors.
From there we headed to the mountains that flow south out of the country. We drove parts of the Pan-American highway up to 13,000 ft before depending back to the ocean. Spectacular peaks some snow covered (even at the Equator) greeted our lenses as we took great photos of the landscape. We traveled on the "Devils Nose" train which is one of the few that handles mountain switch-backs in a novel way in order to manage the very steep mountain grades without causing engine damage.
Bottom line is that if you're looking to visit a country only 4 hrs by plane from the US that has wide range of climates and environments PLUS uses US currency and is quite stable, then Ecuador should be on your list of must visit places.