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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION Ecuador is a developing country Travelers to the capital city of Quito may require some time to adjust to the altitude close to 10000 feet which can adversely affect blood pressure digestion and energy level Tourist facilities are adequate but vary in quality Epithet after epithet was found too weak to convey to those who have not visited the intertropical regions the sensations of delight which the mind experiences--- Charles Darwin If an argumentative group of travelers sat down to design a shared destination they would be hard put to come up with a place that would best Ecuador Packed like a knee-cap between Peru and Colombia Ecuador contains within its borders an improbable variety of landscape and culture For the mountaineer it is bisected by an epic stretch of the northern Andes For the jungle explorer there is a biological mother lode within the Amazonian Oriente The sea-minded are rewarded with miles of Pacific coastline to say nothing of the living wonders of the Galapagos Islands Not only are these regions highly defined but excluding Galapagos they are also wonderfully contiguous The entire country is about the size of Washington state and it is home to some of the worlds most extraordinary national parks In a matter of two hundred miles the traveler can penetrate all of the mainlands defining regions--the coastal lowlands in the West the volcanic central highlands and the rainforests of the East or Oriente Ecuadors climate is equally generous to the traveler Embracing the Pacific Ecuador rests squarely on the equator hence its name Here seasons are defined more by rainfall than temperature A warm rainy season lasts from January to April and May through December is characterized by a cooler drier period that is ideally timed for a summer trip Ecuadors culture and history mirrors the diversity of its landscape Like much of South America Ecuadorian culture blends the influences of Spanish colonialism with the resilient traditions
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