Ecuador is one of the greatest undiscovered countries of South America. Often losing out to its more famous neighbour Peru, Ecuador possesses a charm and an intrigue that has captured the imaginations of travellers looking for “Something Different”. With its friendly people and their charming smiles, its delicious cuisine and incredible diversity, it has become one of the best kept secrets for people looking for an accessible yet unusual country to travel.

Firmly seated on the equator between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador has an impressive amount of different landscapes and micro climates, making it a fascinating destination for lovers of the outdoors. From jungle treks to white water rafting, from stunning diving to pristine beaches, there is so much here seemingly designed to take your breath away.

Whilst mainland Ecuador certainly has it all, its most famed prized possession is actually located 1000km from the mainland: the jewel in the crown, the Galapagos Islands. Here, Charles Darwin studied its extraordinary array of wildlife and went on to change science, and accordingly changed the world as we know it.

This is certainly a country for people who love wildlife and all that comes with it. Think of the Galapagos and you think of huge iguanas scuttling along the beaches, chatty sea lions sunbathing unashamedly next to people on the beach and the greatest variety of bird life ever seen on this planet. Coupled with stunning beaches, fascinating volcanic rock formations and incredible marine life, the Galapagos is the Mecca for nature lovers. Back to the mainland you encounter the Amazon rainforest, with its mischievous primates, its sleek big cats and its calling birds. The trees seem to touch the sky and the streams gush down the mountainsides to meet the longest river in the world, the Amazon.

Whether you are on a career break, looking for a holiday with a difference or taking a gap year, Ecuador has lots to offer you – and volunteering in Ecuador should certainly be up there on a list of things to do. As a volunteer in Ecuador, you can help to rehabilitate and care for rescued animals in sanctuaries near the Amazon rainforest, gaining experience that is unrivaled back at home.

As Ecuador is often slightly overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbour, Peru, taking a gap year in Ecuador or travelling around Ecuador can be a little more challenging. Because of this, many people choose to start their travels on a gap year program in Ecuador, before heading off to explore. One of the benefits of there being fewer travellers is that it is much easier to escape the tourist trails and experience an authentic and unique experience. If you want our inside advice – do it now, before everyone else gets there first.

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