QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecuador is one of the most biologically and geographically diverse countries on the planet, increasingly recognized as an outstanding destination for travelers of all types. The World Travel Awards recently named Ecuador as South America's 2015 Leading Green Destination, and the capital city of Quito earned the distinction as South America's Leading Destination.
What many may not know is that Ecuador is tailor-made for U.S. travelers – it's a short flight away, on Central Time and uses the U.S. dollar as its national currency. Ecuador also offers an incredible array of experiences, all packaged in a country roughly the size of Colorado. You can trek the jungles of the Amazon, explore the Andes from a luxury train, relax beachside on the Pacific Coast or cruise the Galapagos Islands.
This fall, 16 artists from the U.S., Canada, UK and Germany discovered just how much Ecuador can offer as part of the Feel Again Project, led by the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador. The project invited international teams of artists to find inspiration in Ecuador's diverse climactic regions.
Team USA artists Andrew Norton and Scott Pommier explored the unparalleled Galapagos Islands.
"Every island really had its own personality and its own look," said Norton. "No two were the same, so you never knew what to expect from island to island."
Visitors to the Galapagos Islands encounter forests of giant cacti, subterranean lava tubes and of course, a unique array of animals. Galapagos is a living museum of evolution with myriad species to spot, including blue-footed boobies, waved albatross, marine iguanas, lava lizards, Galapagos tortoises, fur seals and the famed Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's theory of natural selection.
While Pommier was awe-inspired to be with the islands' animals at close proximity, he recommends visitors also spend time taking in the Ecuadorian culture, especially the food.
"We had a lot of great food while we were in Ecuador," he said. "The locally-raised beef was excellent and there were dozens of fruits that I'd never seen or tasted before. But there's no question that the standout was the chocolate, which has won awards all over the world. It was easily the best chocolate I've ever tasted."
Win a Trip to Experience the Galapagos Islands
U.S. travelers have a chance to follow in the footsteps of the Team USA artists, thanks to a new sweepstakes from Ecuador's Ministry of Tourism that offers a luxury cruise for two through the Galapagos Islands.
Now through November 30, 2015, participants ages 21 and over can enter the sweepstakes online by visiting WinaTriptoEcuador.com, completing the registration form and voting for their favorite photo of the Galapagos Islands. The scenery-scape photos are part of Ecuador's Feel Again campaign, a national tourism effort to introduce Ecuador's beautiful scenery and immersive culture to international visitors.
In addition to a luxury 4-night/5-day cruise and roundtrip air transportation from select U.S. airports, the sweepstakes winner and his/her guest will receive roundtrip ground transportation throughout the trip. The package also includes meals and five-star lodging for a one-night stay in Quito – Ecuador's capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich culture, impressive architecture and historical significance.
For more information, Official Rules and to enter the sweepstakes, visit WinaTriptoEcuador.com. Learn more about the artists' adventures and inspirational discoveries at FeelAgainProject.com and explore the unforgettable experiences of Ecuador at ecuador.travel.
About The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador
The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador aims to make tourism a key instrument in the long-term social and economic development of the country. The goal is to convert Ecuador into a regional tourism powerhouse, showcasing it as a unique destination that draws upon its natural and cultural heritage, and one that will be known for the quality of its services.
More information: http://ecuador.travel/en
SOURCE The Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador