Beyond The Galapagos Islands

Known as the land of fire and ice, Ecuador is located in the northwestern part of South America and is approximately the size of Nevada. Peru is to the south and Colombia lies at its northern border while two parallel mountain ranges of the Andes cross the country from north to south. The country contains diverse geography such as volcanoes, wet lowlands, central highlands, coastal plains, and valleys. The highest point is Mount Chimborazo, which stands at 6,272 meters above sea level and Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano, stands at 5,897 meters. The central highlands, also known as The Sierra, is home to almost half the population and many of the country’s oldest and most important cities. In stark contrast, the coastal plain is a hilly, lowland area with few inhabitants and in the far north is tropical rainforest while dry forest lays in the south.

Since 2000 the country has seen steady growth in tourism and between 2011 and 2015 the country had almost six million visitors, which has resulted in a billion dollar industry for this South American country. With arrivals at record levels, lodging companies and other tourist-based businesses have received several international awards, such as The World’s Best Green Destination for 2014, South America’s Leading Destination for 2014: Quito, The World’s Best Green Hotel: Finch Bay Eco Hotel, and The Best Adventure Destination for 2014: Cuenca. Furthermore, starting in 2014, the Ministry of Tourism’s main objective is to position Ecuador as a destination for high-end tourism and, in 2015, made a big push by being the first to advertise tourism during the Super Bowl.

Some of the countries most attractive tourist destinations are Limpiopungo Lake, the Rivas Refuge, The Chimborazo Forest Reserve, Cuenca, and most famously the Galapagos Islands. The Chimborazo Forest Reserve is a sanctuary for a wide variety of flora and fauna and spans across 145,000 acres. Shadowing over the countryside are Carihuairazo Mountain and Chimborazo Mountain. Many experienced mountaineers have attempted to climb Chimborazo and some have succeeded but tombstones honor those lost on the mountain. The Galapagos Islands lie on the equator and approximately 1,000km west of Ecuador. The island is comprised of atolls that are the tips of massive volcanoes that protrude from the ocean’s surface. These atolls mark where two tectonic plates meet and many of the volcanoes are still active. These destinations show the diversity of Ecuador’s terrain but there are many other different places to visit in this country.

Condor Tours and Travel is offering a travel package that highlights places such as El Porvenir, the Ecological Reserve of Hacienda Santa Rita, Condor Machai, and Cotopaxi National Park. The first day of touring starts with an early breakfast then departure to the city of Quito where visitors will witness Alameda Park, the Basilica, Independence Square, La Compana Church, and San Francisco Plaza. On the second day, visitors will tour Andean villages, meet the indigenous peoples of Ecuador, and shop in the Otavalo market. Other destinations include volcanoes and pristine rainforest. Another travel package tours the Guapulo Sanctuary, Imbabura, Guayllabamba Valley, San Pablo, and Cotacachi Village. Many more travel packages can be found on Condor Tours and Travels’s website and what can be seen from each package is that they all explore different aspects of the diverse, rich country.