Ecuador sits modestly in the northwest corner of a continent of giants. This country is at least 30 times smaller than Brazil, and for all it lacks in size, it makes up for in immense diversity. An impressive array of unique wildlife, breathtaking vistas and ancient cultures account for Ecuador's identity as a premium destination.
From each corner, landscapes unfold in startling variety. Where different ecosystems overlap and interact, there is an interplay of unique species seen nowhere else on our planet. Ecuador is renowned for being the world's most environmentally diverse county within compact borders.
Framed by natural wonders, in the east, the Ecuadorian Amazon bursts to the brim at peak biodiversity, and westward, the Pacific Ocean expands endlessly towards the Galápagos - an isolated archipelago entirely ruled by the wild.
Naturalists and scientists, such as Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin, established theories of our understanding of life on Earth in Ecuador. Yet, the country's rich cultural heritage prior to this is even more deeply connected to the environment.
Within this supremely dramatic setting and with the presence of seismic movement beneath smoking volcanoes, the settlements here have naturally formed a respect for the overwhelming presence of Pachamama - mother nature.
Flying into the meeting place of two hemispheres, Quito is all about variety and balance. In an awesome setting, a fusion of cultural perspectives is etched into the capital's checker-board streets. Pre-Colombian art and materials are showcased amongst Baroque architecture.
Prior to Spanish colonisation and even the late arrival of the Incas, a patchwork of indigenous populations were already established on the land.
Journey to Otavalo in the foothills of Imbabura, where markets illuminate the Sierra with warm local pride, just as they had done 3,000 years ago. Acclimatise to altitudes and follow the cordillera of mountains south towards Cotopaxi and the Ring of Fire, where pathways of the Incas remain.
Ecuador's mainland has two contrasting centres. The sprawling coastal city of Guayaquil in the lowland south acts as Quito's counter-balance. From any bustling centre, the countryside is never far away.
The lowland tropics surrounding Guayaquil and Cuenca have an entirely different feel. Tube down the paths of winding rivers, learn about the harvest on haciendas, and try your own handmade chocolate picked from just outside your family-run lodge.
Ecuador gets its name from its unique placement on our globe. Life on the equatorial line is popping with opportunities for experiencing culture and nature different to anywhere else on our planet, up close and personal.