South America is a vast continent with heaps to offer. Choosing a single country to visit almost seems unfair to the rest of them. But, hey, we can’t go everywhere at the same time. Tough choices need to be made.
If you’re having trouble picking where to go as temperatures drop this fall, let us make a strong case for the always resplendent Ecuador. One-and-a-half million wanderlusting travelers visited last year, making the country a hot spot for savvy adventurers, and when you take a deeper look into the vastness of the relatively small nation, it’s easy to see why. This is a country teeming with volcanoes, indigenous culture, colonial architecture, pristine beaches with killer surf, and an abundance of unique wildlife. It’s an adventurer’s dream.
Here are a few of our favorite reasons to put Ecuador on your must visit list.
Ecuador’s food game is strong. Huge markets with assortments of tropical fruit and veg, fresh local fish and proteins, and motley assortments of local dishes temp the eyes and the stomach.
The nation has long been a mixing pot of cultures from pre-Columbian movements to post-contact colonization to the 21st century’s globalization. Ceviche, churrasco (similar to Brazil’s grilled meat extravaganzas), fanesca (pictured above), encebollado (a spicy, sour, funky seafood stew), and cuy (roasted guinea pig) are all “must taste” dishes. Still, they barely scratch the surface of the wonderland of food awaiting your palate across Ecuador.
When you go to Ecuador, you’ll need one word to quench your thirst, ‘Colada.’ Colada morada and Colada de avena are the most popular versions. Colada morada is a refreshing fruit forward drink that blends a little spice, water, and purple corn flour. Colada de avena is a thicker and more fortifying drink that blends oats, naranjilla fruit, brown sugar, water, and cinnamon into a drink that doubles as a superb hangover cure.
Speaking of hangovers, you’ll also find Ecuador is home to the white lightening that is often referred to as a proto-rum called Aguardiente. It’s sugary and often has a certain grassiness. If you want to drink it mixed, we recommend the Canelazo cocktail. It’s a smooth blend of Aguardiente, cinnamon, and brown sugar.