The Highlands of Ecuador sit between two parallel mountain ranges about sixty kilometers apart, running North to South. Although equatorial, because of elevation, this area ranges in climate from Spring-like to ice-cold. It is here that most of the people of Ecuador live, in the capital Quito and in several smaller towns and villages.
Quito, 2.850 m. high, capital of Ecuador and former Northern capital of the Inca Empire, is a stunning mixture of Indian and Colonial art, beautiful cathedrals, elegant old world mansions, interesting museums, plazas and parks with statues of historical personalities, first class hotels and charming pensions, delightful restaurants, fashionable shops and street markets selling a wealth of Ecuadorian jewels, arts and crafts. This fascinating city sits on a cool Andean plateau, surrounded by majestic mountains, some of which are snowcapped year round.
Tours in and around Quito:
Colonial Quito City tour
Quito Archeological Museum
Quito City tour and Equatorial Monument
Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, is situated in a fertile valley in the southern highlands of Ecuador. Perhaps because of its isolation, Cuenca has kept its old-world architectural charm and its colonial ambiance. Many Ecuadorians consider it to be the most beautiful city in the country, as well as the center of arts and crafts such as jewelry making and ceramics. With streets running at right angles and block numbered, Cuenca is a city to go strolling in without getting lost.
Examples of Cuenca Tours:
Cuenca Scenic Tour
Cuenca City Tour and Surronding Villages
Ingapirca Fortress of the Incas
Quito to Cuenca "The Route of the Incas"
Cajas National Park, Cuenca City, Ingapirca, and more
Cajas National Park
One of the most fascinating and unique things about Ecuador is its markets. In any given region, the market is held on a different day of the week in a different town square. Market day is a grand, colorful fiesta with hundreds of people buying and selling almost everything: food, hardware, clothing, tapestries, with most things made or produced locally. Vendors and buyers travel from kilometers around, in carts, on donkeys, on foot, or by truck to buy, sell or trade.
Examples of Ecuadorian Market Tours:
Otavalo Country Tour
Imababura Country Tour
Visit and Indian Market, Baños and Thermal Hot Springs