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Nature is typically the main draw for anyone visiting Ecuador, most abundantly obvious in the Galapagos Islands.

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And while the islands are certainly one of the most special places on the planet, Ecuador has three other regions on the mainland that are also worth spending some time. The Ecuadorian highlands, much like the Galapagos, offer scores of rare plants and animals you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, and we’ll give you all the info you need to plan a visit to Cotopaxi National Park or the Angel Ecological Reserve.

You’ll also want to visit Quito, a painstakingly-preserved historic city in the Andes Mountains that’s developed an impressive culinary scene while nobody was paying attention. You can learn all about Quito’s best restaurants — and everything else to do there — in our comprehensive city guide. The world under the water in Ecuador is just as fascinating, and we’ll take you through there too. For lovers of real, in-the-wild wildlife, few places in South America can rival Ecuador.

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