Home to the highest active volcano in the world, an Ecuador holiday is truly unique. Fly into the capital Quito to discover a UNESCO World Heritage Site city, boasting stunning Inca architecture and plenty of museums, restaurants and galleries. Riobamba's the place to start the famous train ride down the Nariz del Diablo and the gateway to Ecuador's highest peak, Mount Chimborazo. If you're looking for relaxing beaches, the best can be found at Esmeraldas, or for world class surfing head to Montañita. For rich culture and history, the cities of Cuenca and Loja are a must, while the Galapagos Islands are brimming with wildlife.
There are no direct flights to Ecuador but airlines such as LAN, British Airways and Iberia offer indirect services arriving in Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca. Iberia also offer flights to the Galapagos Islands, although these can be very expensive. You can fly to Ecuador from most airports in the UK including London, Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.
The best way to explore the country and witness the stunning scenery during your holiday to Ecuador is by bus. Intercity buses travel to most destinations within Ecuador and are very cheap. The safest and most comfortable type of buses are the first class vehicles known as Ejecutivo. They are a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth the few extra pounds. In cities, taxis offer an affordable way of getting around. They are generally yellow and will display a taxi license. Always make sure the driver uses the meter as this will be cheaper than negotiating a fee.
It's easy to find cheap hotels in Ecuador, in fact you can pick up basic accommodation for less than £10 a night as long as you avoid the obvious tourist areas. For the best deal, shop around online and book in advance.
Dining out on a budget isn't a problem at all during your Ecuador holiday. Look out for signs advertising almuerzo (lunch) and merienda (dinner). These meals offer great value for money and usually consist of a soup, a meat main and a pudding all for less than a pound. If you're looking for a truly authentic meal, try cuy, otherwise known as guinea pig! It's roasted whole and served on a skewer.
Be wary of buying branded goods from markets during your holiday in Ecuador as, although prices may be dirt cheap, you're likely to be paying for a knock off item rather than the real deal! Tourists are nearly always charged a higher price compared to locals, but if you haggle hard you'll be able to bring prices down. Everything in Ecuador, from tours to handicrafts, has a price that can be bargained for!
Updated 20th August 2014
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"If you go into the jungle who knows what you will find? Some tigers? Bears? Snakes? Ant & Dec recording yet another Celebrity Get Me Out of Here?..."