#93 best destination in the world

 

La Casa del Arbol, Baños

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  • Deep within the Ecuadorian wilderness is a seismic monitoring station in a tree, known as Casa del Arbol, whose purpose is to observe Mt. Tungurahua, the nearby active volcano
  • 8530 feet above sea level is a swing hanging from one of the station tree’s skinny branches
  • It is unclear where the swing came from
  • The swing is part of a small park at Casa de Arbol, complete with three swings and a small zip line
  • Though the swing used to be completely unmonitored, today there are guides to help you buckle in and push you as you swing
  • It looks like the swing hangs over a cliff, it actually hangs over a steep slope so the experience is not as scary as it seems

Quilotoa, Pujilí Canton

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  • Water-filled caldera with a 2 miles wide caldera which was formed by the collapse of this volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 600 years ago
  • This last eruption followed a dormancy period of 14,000 years, a Crater lake was already present at that time
  • The lake has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals
  • There are a number of hostels in the immediate area offering services such as mules and guides
  • Activities include a four to five-hour hike around the caldera, otherwise the hike is sandy and steep in places and can be quite taxing, particularly if there is fog
  • According to local inhabitants, the lake level has been slowly declining over the last 10 years

South Plaza Island, Galápagos National Park

  • Small island off coast of Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Islands
  • South Plaza was formed by lava up streaming from the bottom of the ocean
  • Despite its small size, it is home to a large number of species and known for its extraordinary flora
  • The prickly pear cactus trees are noteworthy, as is the large colony of Galápagos land iguanas
  • Depending on the season, the Sesuvium ground vegetation changes its color from green in the rainy season to orange and purple in the dry season

Cotopaxi, Latacunga

  • Active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located in Latacunga
  • It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height 19,347 ft
  • Cotopaxi is among the highest active volcanoes in the world
  • Its most recent eruption began on August 2015, and ended on January 2016
  • Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times, resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by lahars (mudflows) around the volcano

Chimborazo

  • Currently inactive stratovolcano in the Andes
  • Its last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 A.D.
  • Chimborazo’s summit is the farthest point on the Earth’s surface from the Earth’s center given that it is located along the planet’s equatorial bulge
  • Chimborazo’s summit, however, is not higher than the summit of Mount Everest, as elevation is measured from sea level
  • With a peak elevation of 20,548 ft, Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador
  • Like Everest, Chimborazo is also known for climbing; its climb demands skill and is often on black ice, so crampons and other high-tech climbing equipment are required

Bartolomé Island, Galápagos Islands

  • Volcanic islet in the Galápagos Islands group, just off the coast of Santiago Island
  • With a total land area of just 0.5 square miles, the island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations
  • Snorkelers are in the water with the penguins, marine turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and other tropical fish
  • Galápagos penguins are frequently seen, and a small cave behind Pinnacle Rock houses a breeding colony
  • Seasonally, Bartolomé is the mating and nesting site for the green turtles
  • The Galápagos lava cacti colonize the new lava fields

Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, Quito

  • Grounds that contain the Monument to the Equator, which highlights the exact location of the Equator (from which the country takes its name) and commemorates the eighteenth century Franco-Spanish Geodesic Mission which fixed its approximate location
  • The grounds also contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous people ethnography of Ecuador
  • There are only two points of interest positioned exactly on the equator: the Catequilla archaeological site, and the Quitsato Sundial

North Seymour Island, Galápagos Islands

  • Small island near Baltra Island in the Galápagos Islands
  • It was formed by uplift of a lava formation
  • The whole island is covered with low, bushy vegetation
  • The island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls