First, maybe you weren't aware that the Galapagos Islands were part of Ecuador. Here are some other things you might not know: Ecuador's capital of Quito was the first to be named a UNESCO World Heritage City, its currency is the U.S. dollar, and its position on the equator gives it “spring all year” (and also gives it its name).

The city of Quito, in a valley at the foot of a volcano, is coming into its own as a meeting destination, with technological improvements and many architectural treasures recently opened as venues. The city of Guayaquil has a historic center spiraling up a hill surrounded by a modern river port. Cuenca is a city of cobblestone streets, lovely squares, and historic churches. Rodrigo Salas of the Ministry of Tourism describes the “four worlds in one country”: the rain forest of the Amazon Basin, the Andean Highlands, the beaches of the Pacific Coast, and the legendary Galapagos. “Where else can you follow a jungle adventure with a philharmonic concert?” he asks.