Five good reasons to visit Ecuador.

Ecuador is in vogue. If you check newspapers, travel magazines and websites, travel blogs, and other media outlets, you will find that this country is among the most acclaimed of 2014. Why the surge in interest in this particular South American nation? We invite you to check out 5 reasons travelers have rediscovered their passion for this wonderful country:

1. Named the #1 green destination of the year.

During the twentieth World Travel Awards, considered one of the most important global tourism recognitions, Ecuador was honored as the "2013 World Green Destination." The country is home to 33 natural reserves protected by the government as well as many biologically significant and extensive tropical forests. Tourism businesses and the government are working closely to promote sustainable practices and have managed to position the country as a sustainable tourism leader in the Americas -- a view that is now resonating worldwide.

2. Immense natural and cultural wealth.

Ecuador is the world's most biodiverse country per square mile. It is home to more than 1,600 species of birds, 4,500 species of butterflies, 4,000 kinds of orchids, 345 species of reptiles, 358 amphibians, and 250 species of mammals, among others. Due to their irreplaceable natural value, the Sangay and Galapagos National Parks and the Galapagos Marine Reserve were declared UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites. The country is also home to 27 different ethnic groups, all of them owners of a priceless and unique cultural heritage. As trends in tourism begin to shift from cookie-cutter resort vacation to more authentic, meaningful experiences, Ecuador's rich natural and cultural resources have been a boon for its tourism industry.

3.The Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 islands, which began to form more than 5 million years ago. These are famous for their scenic beauty and for harboring numerous and spectacular endemic species such as giant tortoises and marine iguanas. Famously, Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution based on research he conducted on the incredible wildlife found only on this Ecuadorian archipelago.

4. The new Latin American king of chocolate.

Since eating is a huge part of the travel experience, why not visit the number one Latin American country in cocoa production? Ecuador is the world's largest exporter of cocoa used for fine chocolates. Travelers can sample some of the world's best chocolates when they traverse the renowned "Cocoa Route" in the cacao growing region between Duran and Yaguachi.

5. Variety for every kind of traveler.

Ecuador hides impressive sites in the Amazon jungle as well as its mountains, and coastlines; it is home to the glorious Galapagos Islands and the famous city of Mitad del Mundo located on the equator, as well as a number of other brilliant cities worth discovering in their own right. An innovative and luxurious "Cruise Train" (Tren Crucero) makes the scenic journey between capital city Quito and the coastal city of Guayaquil, offering stunning views of the Andes.

Travel insiders are going wild over Ecuador--National Geographic includes the Cacao Trail in its list of the "Best trips for 2014", and the entire country was included in both the New York Times list of "52 places to go in 2014", and CNN's list of "11 sites to visit in 2014."

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