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I spent nearly two years living in Ecuador and have a soft spot for the South American republic. There are few places where you will find such diversity.  A country most famous for the UNESCO protected Galapagos islands, it has a rich Andean life, shaped by the high mountains. From Quito, the capital follow the 325km long, Avenue of Volcanoes, where you will find the 9 tallest peaks in Ecuador, ranging from 5000 to 6300m in height. If your feeling really adventurous you could attempt to climb, Cotopaxi, the tallest active volcano on the planet. It requires a guide, ice crampons, ropes and plenty of breath, but get to the summit and it will quite literally take your breath away. The Ecuadorian rainforest is perfect for first time jungle adventure’s. Known as El Oriente, it covers half the country and is rich in wildlife (it has 15% of the world’s bird species).

For more holiday ideas in Ecuador visit the Ecuador overview page