Ecuador, a small country in South America, with only 265,000 sq kilometers of territory and 16 million people, must be in your 2018 travel list. Here’s why:
2. Cultural richness
Ecuador has 14 different indigenous groups with 12 different languages, besides Spanish. The mestizo population (Spanish-indigenous mix) adds to this cultural diversity, where traditions and customs are preserved and also adapted to modern society. The result is the Ecuadorian identity. Native festivals and Catholic celebrations create an interesting sycretism that can be witnessed around the country. For example, the Mushuk Nina (New Fire) in March marks the start of the agricultural calendar or indigenous year, after Carnival and in anticipation to Easter, whose procession in Quito is an amazing social gathering. Almost every month you can witness a cultural event. Of course, with cultural richness comes delicious culinary experiences which you surely will enjoy, such as high quality coffee, fresh fish, fried pork, corn tortillas, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and sugarcane vodka!
3. World’s best chocolate
Did you know that cacao comes from the Amazon? And did you know that Ecuador is the world’s first producer of fine aroma cacao beans? These are the best quality beans in the market, which are used to manufacture the best chocolates. Switzerland is famous for its bars, but Ecuador is not far behind with local brands like Pacari that each year win awards for their superb chocolate bars. If you are a chocoholic, you will love Ecuador, and if you aren’t, you could become one! Not only can you sample different chocolates, but you can also visit the cacao plantations and small-scale factories to learn about the whole process from bean to bar.
4. Easy access
Size matters! Nothing is too far away in Ecuador. For instance, the Amazon basin is only a 3-hour drive from Quito and the nearest beach is about 5 hours away. And though some roads are very windy due to the mountains, they provide breathtaking landscapes over the many transition zones. Travel by land or air is easy and with relatively short times. So, you can make the most of your time while exploring various regions.
5. Improved connectivity
Traveling to Ecuador is becoming easier every year. New routes and new airlines are connecting us better to the rest of the world. For example, AirEuropa and Condor will start flying to Quito and Guayaquil in 2018. In recent years, we have welcomed other companies like JetBlue and Aeromexico, and the existing companies like Latam, American Airlines and Tame have expanded their operations. Start looking for flights!
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