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Ecuador's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Ancient monuments contrast natural phenomena in world renowned places

Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China are all iconic and known the world over. But what of Ecuador’s City of Quito and the Historic Centre of Santa Ana? These two sites have been accorded the same UNESCO status on account of their global cultural significance.

The centre of Quito is one of the largest and best preserved historic cities in the Americas. It was the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed on the list in 1978. There are around 130 monuments here, plus a further 5,000 properties, and to walk the city streets is to journey back in time. Combine Quito with a visit to Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca -- better known as Cuenca -- whose colonial-era cathedrals and monasteries also have protected status.
 
UNESCO recognises the importance of the natural world, too, and celebrates the importance of the Galapagos and Sangay National Park. The Galapagos needs no introduction; Sangay is less well known. Its ecosystems range from glaciers to tropical rainforest, it’s a stronghold for spectacled bear and ocelot, and new species are still being discovered.