A new year means new opportunities to explore the globe. One country that should be on your list for this year is Ecuador. Why not give your travel life a jolt by doing something different during your travels? Forget about the same old, same old. Make 2020 even better by combining a trip to Ecuador with a language learning adventure.
Set in the midst of the Andes Mountain range and rimmed by sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a jewel-like strand of islands, Ecuador offers travelers the exotic beauty of lush rainforests, mountainous highlands, and coastal low country. There are dozens of national parks and wildlife reserves scattered throughout Ecuador that pay tribute to its biodiversity and natural beauty. Whether you enjoy hiking, history, shopping, gastronomic adventure or a vibrant nightlife, you'll find it in Ecuador's cities and countryside.
Ecuador also makes the perfect setting for learning Spanish, as Ecuadorians have a relatively subtle accent and often speak with a slower cadence than other Latin American countries. Learning a language is challenging no matter how you approach it, but the most effective way to learn vocabulary, retain it and put it to use is by immersion among native speakers. This is why so many Spanish students choose to learn while traveling in South America. You can fit Spanish language classes into your travel schedule as you explore all of the wonderful experiences this beautiful and vibrant country has to offer. Not only can you pick up the language at an accelerated rate, but you absorb the country’s unique culture and history, as well.
Ecuador’s Most Amazing Places to Visit
Wondering where to visit in Ecuador? If you're an art-lover, then Cuenca should definitely be on your list. If you prefer to get the adrenaline pumping when you travel, you have to visit Montañita for world-class surfing. Want more ideas? Here are four more must-visit regions.
Quito, Ecuador's capital city, is often the first stop on any traveler's itinerary. The equator from which the country gets its name runs directly through the environs of the city. An excellent first stop for visitors is the historic marker at Mitad del Mundo. This marker, located just outside Quito, celebrates the division between the northern and southern hemispheres.
In the city itself, history buffs will want to take in the Old Town, with its colonial architecture and cafes, boutiques and parks. Want to practice your Spanish with locals? Stop by any of the city's large indoor marketplaces selling exotic fruits and handmade crafts. You’ll have endless opportunities to perfect your language skills.
The Cotopaxi Volcano and several ecological reserves lie just to the south of the city and make wonderful hiking and sightseeing opportunities.
North of Quito lies the city of Otavalo, home to an indigenous people of the same name famous for their quality woven goods and artisanal crafts. With some of the highest mountains in the country, a stunning waterfall, a deep, clear lake, and several hot springs, there are plenty of natural diversions to compete with the excellent shopping and dining opportunities in this charming town.
The Coastal Region
Coastal Ecuador promises warmer temperatures, golden sand, and glittering ocean views. Guayaquil is the largest city in the country and another port of entry for travelers. It's also one of the gateways to Ecuador's most famous destination, the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy the vibrancy of this port city and its nearly 500 years of history before traveling up the coast to Playas or Salinas to enjoy the beaches. Flights to the Galapagos from Guayaquil will land in Isla Baltra, and from there, visitors can embark on a land tour or sea cruise to enjoy the unique wildlife of the islands.
Set between Guayaquil and Cuenca, Cañar Province is fascinating for its mountainous terrain and remnant of an Incan town at the Ingapirca Ruins archaeological site. Wander among the foundation stones and ruined buildings for a sense of the ancient history of this region. The mountain city of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a similar colonial history to Quito in a more manageable size. Practice your Spanish here at the city's beautiful flower market or at the archaeological museum, which features fascinating exhibits.
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