plays an increasingly important role in the Ecuadorian economy.
In 2000, tourism increased almost 30%, with 637,000 visitors
spending more than $400 million. Ecuador is an ideal travel
destination for outdoor enthusiasts and leisure travelers
alike. Ecuador is distinguished by its extraordinary topography,
its many diverse cultures, and its abundant variety of flora
distinct regions comprise Ecuador: the Andes mountains (Sierra),
the Amazon rainforest (Oriente), the Galapagos Islands,
and the Coast. Travelers find endless natural wonders ranging
from pristine rainforest to towering volcanoes to beach
paradises all within a nation approximately the size of
the state of Colorado. Birdwatching, expeditions to pre-Incan
ruins, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, mountaneering,
paragliding, rainforest tours, scuba diving, and surfing
are just some of the many activities vacationers may enjoy
while in Ecuador.