For those looking to experience South America for the first time, Ecuador is a decent choice, being both small and relatively safe for visitors. There is also a wide range of options for learning Spanish in Quito--one of the most pleasant capital cities on the continent--and the jungle in Ecuador contains the richest birdlife in the world. But, on a continent where things can go wrong, it is vital to have a good guide, and this book fits the bill. Here you will find tips on where to wash your socks and have your teeth pulled in Quito, as well as a richer look at history and culture than is provided by some of the competition.
Guidebooks can give travel writing a bad name, but Rough Guides are rarely among them, and it is good to see that this new guide to Ecuador is part of an expanding list for Latin America (other recent additions include Argentina, Chile and Cuba). Illustrated with photographs of high quality, and written by old Latin American hands, the book comes with essential information for visitors while casting an erudite eye over everything from flora and fauna to the fascinating histories of Andean weavers at Otavalo and Darwin's visit to the Galápagos. The South American Handbook remains the best overall guide to the continent but, for Ecuador alone, this book will prove hard to beat. --Toby Green
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This guide to Ecuador examines this fascinating and dramatically diverse country and includes complete coverage of the unique Galapagos islands. A colour introduction gives an insight into the country's highlights from snorkelling in the Galapagos to exploring Quito's colonial churches. Detailed accounts are given of these attractions as well as all the others from the unspoiled jungle of the Oriente and the highland farms of the central sierra to partying at the capital's latest nightspots. There is also practical advice on a range of activities from learning Spanish in Quito to shopping in Otavalo's bustling markets or climbing Volcan Cotopaxi. There are up-to-the-minute reviews of the best places to stay, eat and drink, plus the pick of the cyber cafes and shops. Finally there are over 50 maps and background on Ecuador's history, culture, indigenous peoples and environmental issues.