Ecuador

Between the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, and tropical rainforests, Ecuador is a nation of staggering ecological diversity. More species of frogs live in one acre of lowland rainforest than in all of North America, and more than 1,500 bird species inhabit the twenty-five tropical life zones within the nation's borders. The facts are even more astounding than the rumors. But Ecuador isn't only a naturalist, ornithologist, and zoologist's nirvana. Beyond the eco-travel brochures and vibrant Galapagos photos is an unending list of cultural, historical, and life-changing experiences. Somewhere between negotiating prices for a hand-woven blankets and hunting with an indigenous tribesman, you'll realize that Ecuador is as much about the people as it is about the wilderness.