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Ecuador figures in The New York Times Top 52 places to visit in the 2014

7. Ecuador

Epic biodiversity, and a newly
renovated railway to get you there.

Ecuador is famed as the home of the Galápagos, the beloved islands off the coast that feature mind-boggling wildlife — but the mainland is no slouch either. One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Ecuador has over 1,600 species of birds, 4,000 kinds of orchids, one of the largest condor shelters on the planet — and one-fifth of the country (including the Galápagos) is protected. And there is a new way to see a good chunk of it: the recently refurbished Tren Crucero. The luxury vintage train starts in Quito (the first city ever to be declared a World Heritage site by Unesco) and travels through the Andes, over snow-capped mountains, past volcanoes, around a harrowing turn called the Devil’s Nose and through the countryside until arriving in the bustling city of Guayaquil. The four-day trip includes an excursion to Cotopaxi National Park — a place where you might see deer, wolves, bears or one of those condors. — DANIELLE PERGAMENT


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