♦ UNESCO, which in 1978 chose Quito to be its very first city to be declared a World Heritage Site. Why? Just take a look at the city’s 791-acre historic center, the largest and best-preserved colonial neighborhood in Latin America. Just consider that the Old Town is home to no less than 40 churches and chapels, 16 convents and monasteries with their respective cloisters, 17 plazas, 12 chapter rooms and refectories, 12 museums. Of course let’s not forget that relatively small Ecuador sports a second UNESCO colonial city site: Cuenca.
♦ UVILLA is a tart gooseberry, and just one of many fruits in Ecuador’s exotic fruit basket, and luckily for all of us many make their way everywhere into tall glasses of the freshest fruit juices. Other probably new frutas to discover include: Achotillo (Granada similar to Chinese lychee; Babaco, similar to the Asian star fruit; Cherimoya, custard apple; Granada, called a passion fruit in Ecuador; Guanabara, sour sop; Guayaba, tart with yellow peel; Maracuya, passion fruit; Mora, blackberry; Naranjilla, actually related to the tomato; Pepina, sweet cucumber; Sapote, sweet orange flesh; Taxo, banana-passionfruit; Tomate de Arbol, tree tomato in red, orange or yellow; Tuna, prickly pear. (Above photo courtesy of maxionline.ec)