Ecuador is among the best places to visit in 2013
Anybody planning a trip for upcoming year may be at a loss when deciding where they should visit, and with so many appealing destinations it's easy to see why. While an argument can be made for any of a number of spots across the globe, Lonely Planet recently highlighted some of the best countries to see in 2013, citing Ecuador as a top place to visit if you're in the midst of a South America tour.
The small country can sometimes get overshadowed by more popular tourist hubs like Argentina and Brazil, yet despite its size, Ecuador has plenty to offer in terms of natural beauty and culture.
One of Ecuador's most impressive features is its stunning landscape, highlighted by Cotopaxi, the famous 19,347-foot volcano located in the northeast of the country. The picturesque mountain has been a cultural icon for centuries, and is one of the most visible landmarks in South America. Furthermore, it is unique in that its snow-capped peak is home to one of the few glaciers located along the equator.
Although Cotopaxi may be among the most easily-recognizable symbols of Ecuador, it is not the only natural feature that attracts visitors from across the globe. The Galapagos Islands are located about 1,000 miles off the coast, and are a perennial draw for nature loving travelers. The iconic islands are well known for being the staging ground for Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, but is also celebrated for its stunning natural diversity that ranges from sea lions and marine iguanas to the Galapagos penguin, the only species of penguin to live in a tropical climate.
Ecuador is among the best places to visit in 2013 for more than its natural appeal - it also has plenty to offer when it comes to culture and history. The capital city of Quito is home to some centuries-old buildings including the Basilica of the National Vow. Completed in 1909, the immense structure is one of the largest neo-Gothic structures of its kind in North or South America.
For those who are more interested in sampling some of the best cuisine in Ecuador, experts recommend trying the country's famous seafood, specifically its shrimp ceviche.