Ecuador is one of the smallest South American countries, but it has a biodiversity that is second only to Brazil, the biggest country on the continent. First attracted to Ecuador by the immensely popular Galapagos Islands, we kept returning to it for its beaches and mountains, each blessed with stupendously rich fauna and flora. It's the mystic power of the mountain gods (still worshipped throughout the highlands) that keeps drawing us back year after year. We spent numerous weeks traveling along Avenida de los Volcanos visiting quaint indigenous villages, as we hiked to oxygen-starved heights to take the perfect picture of a crater lake, waterfall, or smoking volcano. The coast is no less fascinating. We spent endless golden days traveling along Ruta del Sol and Ruta del Spondylus enjoying fresh oyster cebiche and spectacular sunsets! In the small fishing ports we observed the daily ritual of bringing in the morning catch with hundreds of pelicans swarming the boats laying claim to some of it. For the fishermen, it was just another day: for us, it was an unbelievable experience. What more could one want? Well, there is also the fabulous rainforest, which takes one back to primordial times! Join me as I recount the wonderful experiences we had in this fascinating country.