Ecuador

Direct flights from major North American cities now land at Ecuador’s two international airports. Quito’s slick new award-winning airport, Mariscal Sucre, has routes from New York’s JFK, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Fort Lauderdale (as of February 2016). Guayaquil’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport has direct flights from JFK and Fort Lauderdale. Otherwise, stopovers at other major Latin American cities include Panama City, Lima, and Bogotá.

Traveling Ecuador’s dramatic terrain is memorable in itself. Fleets of comfortable buses link major cities, coastal towns, and many villages. Request a ticket for the ejecutivo or autobús de lujo to travel with AC, comfy seats, and the guarantee of no standing travelers. Thanks to a multimillion-dollar revamp, the luxurious Tren Crucero (Cruise Train) winds along Andean peaks, past snow-fringed volcanoes, and into Guayaquil. Check trenecuador.com for multi-day trips. While inexpensive yellow cabs circle through major cities, renting a car proves a great way to navigate the main avenues. A series of well-built roads, including the Pan-American Highway, make driving simple. Drivers over 21, and with an international license, will find it cheaper and easier to rent a car and deal with road police along the way. However, heading into the winding highlands takes more planning, as GPS and phone signals fade and signage becomes nonexistent.