This small country in northwestern South America, which straddles the Equator, gave us our first taste of life at high altitude. The Andes mountains run like a spine down the center of Ecuador, and as we traveled along them, we routinely stayed in places between 8,000 and 11,000 feet above sea level. Our bodies didn’t react too well to that height. But in between bouts of altitude sickness or intestinal distress, we managed to explore some modern and historic cities, see volcanoes and condors, and watch traditional artisans at work.

When we visited

January to February 2019

Major stops

Quito, Otavalo, Papallacta, Cotopaxi National Park, Cuenca

Memorable Moment

Soaking in an outdoor pool heated by hot springs, surrounded by tropical flowers and hummingbirds, watching mist roll down the mountains above us

Did you know?

Ecuador’s official currency is the U.S. dollar. Dollar coins, many of which feature U.S. Presidents or Sacagawea, are used much more widely in Ecuador than they are in the United States.

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