Ecological diversity. Ecuador, while a small country, is one of the most diverse in the world. They have beaches (Esmeraldas), mountains (La Sierra), rainforests (El Oriente), and the famed Galapagos Islands (Region Insular). If you ever wanted to vacation somewhere with lots of options Ecuador is the place for you. As this is my first trip to South America I wanted to experience as much as I could in the short time I’m here. Also, I couldn’t resist the urge to be able to straddle the Equator. I mean really, how often do you get a to have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and in in the Southern? Add to that my ability to see both volcanic mountains (Pichincha) and the Andes from Quito and you’ll begin to understand what drew me South of the Equator.