Ecuador in South America is named after the equator which runs directly through the country. It is a land filled with incredible volcanoes, towering mountains and mystical cloud forests. Famous for the Galapagos Islands, the highest capital city in the world, Quito, and Mount Chimborazo whose peak is the closest point on earth to the sun, Ecuador is one of the best countries to visit in South America. From historic markets to fortresses to Incan ruins, there are many historical, natural and famous landmarks in Ecuador to explore.
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS. Whilst not part of mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most famous landmarks to visit. The islands are often called the 'Enchanted Isles' and sit 960 km (600 miles) off the coast of Ecuador. Much of the land is a national park which was established in the 1960s to protect the landscape and its ecosystems.
INGAPIRCA RUINS. Translating to 'Inca Wall' in Kichwa, Ingapirca Ruins are a must-visit famous landmark in Ecuador. The ruins are pre-Columbian and mark the site of a Canari settlement. Much of the site is simply stone foundations today, so take a guided tour to bring this incredible landmark to life. Temple of the Sun in Ingapirca Ruins is the only one of its kind in the entire Incan empire.
MITAD DEL MUNDO. The Mitad del Mundo in Quito marks the middle of the world, with Quito being a city in two hemispheres. In 1736, a French explorer calculated the equator line at the site where the monument now stands. When visiting the monument, you can stand with one foot in each half of the world. A painted line is also included running along the ground representing the calculated line. Sadly for the French explorer, the true equator lies 240 m (787 feet) north of his initial calculations, however, in Quito the monument marks an intriguing part of the cities history.
CATEDRAL NUEVA. Catedral Nueva dates back to the 19th century, and unlike many other catholic churches in South America, it remains unfinished. The cathedral is designed in Roman, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles. Within the church is a stunning Baroque altar, which is designed to be a replica of an altar in St Peter’s in Rome. The pink marble exterior is elaborately decorated with stained glass windows, turrets and crosses, and its famous white and blue domes. The six domes are adorned by blue glazed tiles which were imported to the city from Czechoslovakia.