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One of the richest and most complex ecosystems in the world, Ecuador's tropical rainforest is home to more than 35,000 species of plants, the largest variety of amphibians in the world, and around 500 species of birds. It's the perfect place to explore the tropical forest, go exotic bird watching or fishing, visit some of the colorful indigenous people to hear about their ancient traditions and culture, learn about the area's rich collection of medicinal plants, or join a nocturnal tour to discover what magic the forest hides at night. Keep your camera handy and your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and ocelots.
Home to native communities, Ecuador's Amazon contains some of the Earth's most complex and diverse ecosystems. In just one hectare, there are an estimated 100,000 insects and a greater variety of trees, birds, reptiles, and amphibians than in the United States and Canada combined. The area is alive with the sounds and sights of nature—the roars of howler monkeys, lizards lounging in the sun, butterflies fluttering through the air, squirrel monkeys chasing each other across the tree branches, and giant trees soaring into the sky. Popular activities include birdwatching, canoeing in dugout canoes, visiting the local villages, swimming, and trail walks to view the flora and fauna.
From the giant kapok trees that tower 150 feet into the sky to the leaf-cutting ants and the noisy monkeys, Ecuador's Rainforest is teeming with life. It is a treasure trove for birdwatchers with hundreds of bird species. For those interested in orchids, Ecuador has over 4,200 documented orchid species, many that live in the rainforest. There are as many insect species in a hectare of the rainforest than in the United States and Canada combined. Within the rainforest, visitors may find waterfalls and rivers, and wildlife often seen include parrots, macaws, monkeys, poison dart frogs, plants used for medicinal purposes, and much more.
Spanish conquistadors, pirate attacks, yellow fever, revolution...Ecuador's largest city boasts a long and colorful history! Dating back to 1538, Guayaquil is situated near the Equator on the Guayas River and is the country's main port and jumping-off point for cruises to the Galápagos Islands. Main attractions include the Old Town, Las Peñas, for a glimpse into the city's colonial past; Parque de las Iguanas, home to hundreds of tame iguanas; Santa Ana Hill for sweeping views of Guayaquil; the Mercado Artesanal, selling hand-crafted souvenirs from all around the country; and swimming, watersports, and delicious fresh seafood at the General Villamil beach.
Founded in 1534 on ancient aboriginal ruins dating back to 1500 BC, Quito is Ecuador's capital and one of the first two cities in the world designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated at an altitude of about 10,000 feet and sandwiched between two mountain ranges, Quito's fascinating Old City is the largest in the Americas and a showcase of the rich legacy left behind by the Incas and Spaniards. Home to no fewer than 40 churches, 17 squares, 16 convents and monasteries, excellent museums, restaurants, and terrace cafés, there's plenty to see and do. Highlights include Independence Square with its imposing cathedral; La Compania de Jesus Church with its lacework stone façade; San Francisco Plaza Church, the oldest in Quito; and the basilica with its stunning stained-glass windows.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Quito. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Quito and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Quito insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
I was born in Quito and lived here most of my life. I always liked to travel and that is why after finishing high school, I decided to study tourism administration. While I was studying at the University, I started to work as a tour guide and found it very interesting. Being a tour guide allows me to meet people from many different places and it took me to incredible places. For a period of time I moved to Argentina where I taught Spanish and English but I missed my family and country, so I decided to come back to Ecuador. When I came back to Quito, I worked as a Key Account Executive for a tour operator, which was a great experience for my career, but after a time, I decided to be a tour guide again. I realized I enjoy being with people outside in the nature more than working in an office, and I am able to have more time for other activities I like, such as painting and working with the children of my church.
Owning a “toquilla hat” means owning a piece of myth and legend. Visit this local outlet for renowned Cuenca hat manufacturer, Ortega and Sons, for the best hats hand-woven in Ecuador since 1899.
Held every weekend, this market sells everything from handmade jewelry to carved wood. But it’s famous for its paintings depicting Quito’s city scenes. If you want a piece of art to remember your visit to Quito, this is the place to go.
For a true taste of Quito, visit the vegetable, herb, and flower stands of this colorful farmer’s market. You can even purchase a locally woven basket to carry home your loot.
Whether you sit inside by the fireplace or outside by the garden, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of Quito while savoring traditional Ecuadorian dishes like lamb stew and fried bananas.
This quiet street in one of Quito’s best-preserved sections winds around 18th-century stucco houses with brightly colored balconies. It offers the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.
Locals venture to this charming square on the weekends to listen to storytellers and delight in jugglers and mimes.
Tucked in a residential area of Quito, this museum features the works of Oswaldo Guayasamin, one of Ecuador’s most famous and prolific modern artists.
A British pub, La Reina Victoria, is practically the only place in Quito where you can get a draft beer. Enjoy a pint and a game of darts.
If you’d like to take home some Ecuadorian literature or photo books, this bookstore carries an extensive collection of books in both Spanish and English.
Located in Av Fosch between Amazonas and Reina Victoria, you’ll discover lots of good restaurants and cocktail bars here. Sometimes concerts are held in the square.
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