From the Pacific coastal lowlands to the west, to the Amazon lowlands of the east, to the towering Andean highlands in between, Ecuador is brimming with life in all forms, colours, shapes and sizes. There is also a unique convergence of colonial, indigenous and modern cultural traditions to be found in this relatively small tropical nation. Amid the snow-capped volcanoes of the Andes are the colonial meccas of Quito and Cuenca. North of Quito lies the indigenous market of Otavalo, while beautifully haunting ruins from various tribal traditions dot the highlands. The nation’s crown jewel is perhaps the Galapagos Islands, 1000 kilometres westward off the Pacific coast. This storied archipelago is a living laboratory of evolutionary biology, with a host of strange and wonderful creatures unique to the Galapagos, and, in many cases, individual islands.