Ecuador sits right on the Equator, but its landscapes and climate are governed by altitude: from the sultry tropical coast to the dizzy heights of ice-mantled volcanoes at over 7,000m above sea level, there's huge diversity. It's a tiny country, you can travel from one highlight to another on relatively short, scenic drives or short domestic flights. This holiday of just over a week takes you on an amazing road and rail trip through the Andes, visiting indian villages where the inhabitants, who still wear their colourful fabrics, maintain a lifestyle little-changed since Spanish colonial times.
The colonial period is not neglected: you'll stay on one of the haciendas originally granted to the Spanish conquistadors, the restored historic core of Quito and Cuenca, a quintessential example of colonial grace and grandeur.
Travel first to Ecuador’s highland capital, visit the world renowned artisan craft market at Otavalo, and travel south by road and rail along the Avenue of the Volcanoes via the Inca ruins of Ingapirca to Cuenca and the upland wilderness of Las Cajas National Park.