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Ecuador’s mega-diverse wildlife includes 15% of the world’s bird species. It’s home to the Galapagos Islands, Amazonian Rain Forest, and “the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America” in Quito (UNESCO). The country is considered to be divided into four regions: the jungle, which is east of the Andes and covers part of the Amazon basin, the altiplano, or up in the Andes, including historic Quito, the low coastal area west of the Andes, including the city Guyaquil, and lastly, the Galapagos, which are mostly visited by tourists, who generally fly in and stay on boats just offshore.

There are pre-Incan ruins in Ecuador, in the large complex Ingapirca (built by the Cañari people, and later inhabited by the Inca), as well as in smaller sites throughout the Andes, including one that is within the city limits of the colonial city of Cuenca, in the mountains. Also in the Andes, there are many trekking, hiking and skiing possibilities, including scaling Chimborazo, which is an inactive volcano and Ecuador’s highest peak. The varied climatic and geographical features give rise to several distinct culinary styles, which in the Andes feature quinoa, a giant corn kernel called mote, potatoes and yuca, which is often boiled, mashed, stuffed with cheese and fried into patties called llapingachos.

From mountain climbing to finding out how you can contribute to conservation of Ecuador’s rainforest, Matador articles on Ecuador can be read below.

Photo by Mitch Anderson.

Ecuador Articles

11 places to swim with whale sharks [PICS]

by Keph Senett

The amazing flora and fauna of Ecuador’s Cloud Forest (PICS)

by Karin-Marijke Vis

This is what you can look forward to on a trip to the Galápagos [pics]

by Hal Amen

The rainforest is not a Big Mac (and other lessons learned in Puyo, Ecuador)

by Bani Amor

Matador’s 12 trips to save for in 2012

by Kristin Conard

Dionisios: The only drag bar in Quito, Ecuador

by Kate Sedgwick

Quilombo: The best little Argentine restaurant in Baños, Ecuador

by Kate Sedgwick

I guided teenagers from the Silicon Valley area through Ecuador for 18 days. Here’s what I didn’t expect.

by Amanda Machado

The funniest expressions Ecuadorians use

by Jess López

15 signs you’ve been in Ecuador too long

by Nicolás Vergara

This is what oil roads look like in the Amazon, and here’s what they do to people’s lives

by Alex Goff

19 reasons you should never travel to Ecuador

by Maite Jiménez

Ecuador’s colorful wildlife in 11 stunning images

by Katie Scott Aiton

Ecuador is on its way to decriminalizing drug use

by Simeon Tegel

10 places to see before they disappear

by Morgane Croissant

A visual journey through the street art of Cuenca, Ecuador

by Gilda Selis

Mesmerizing marine and terrestrial wildlife of the Galápagos [PICS]

by Karin-Marijke Vis

13 signs you were born and raised by an Ecuadorian mother

by Jess López
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