In equatorial South America, wildlife, culture and dramatic scenery add up to one spectacular destination


The line of latitude which passes through Ecuador just above Quito (ecuador is Spanish for "equator"). The impressive Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world) monument near the town of San Antonio de Pichincha marks the line, as calculated by visiting French scientists in the 18th-century – although modern satellite technology reveals that it is in fact around 240m too far south. Entrance to the site is $2 (£1.30). Local operator Ecuador Travel can arrange daytrips from Quito for $55 (£37) per person.


The annual temperature range (16C-26C) of the cloudforest in the protected Mindo-Nambillo forest reserve, towards the north coast of Ecuador. Cloudforest is cooler than the rainforest of the Amazon basin, and provides sanctuary to a dazzling selection of birds. Sachatamia Lodge is set within a 120- hectare private reserve, with doubles from $34 (£23) including breakfast.


The height, in metres, above sea level of Quito's Plaza Grande (main square), which makes it the second-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz in Bolivia. Dominated by an impressive Cathedral, the square is part of Quito's picturesque Spanish colonial old town, a Unesco World Heritage Site.


The approximate number of bird species living on mainland Ecuador, including hummingbirds, parrots, toucans, and the spectacular Andean cock-of-the-rock. This last bird is the focus of a nine-day Naturetrek bird-watching tour, departing London 17 October. The price of £1,595 per person is based on two sharing, and includes flights.


The price, in US dollars (£122), of B&B in a double room at Mansion Alcazar. This boutique hotel is carved from a Spanish colonial building and lies near the centre of Cuenca, Ecuador's third largest city (after coastal Guayaquil and capital Quito). Cuenca's downtown area is – like Quito's – a Unesco World Heritage Site stuffed with 14th and 15th-century architecture.


The number of decks on the Manatee Explorer, a river boat which operates in the Oriente region, part of the Amazon basin. Cruises depart from the town of Francisco de Orellana. Bales Worldwide offers a tailor-made itinerary including two nights in Quito, four nights on the Manatee Explorer and three nights in the Sacha Lodge in the Amazon from £1,850 per person based on two sharing, including all international and internal flights, transfers and most meals.


The year Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos Islands on the Beagle, a journey which later gave rise to his theory of evolution. Part of Ecuador, these Pacific atolls contain an astonishing variety of unique animal life, including giant tortoises and marine iguanas. Journey Latin America offers a 16-night Highlights of Ecuador and Galápagos Islands tour, including a week's cruise around the islands, for £4,678 per person, including flights from London and all transfers, departing 3 October.


The approximate number of eruptions from Ecuador's Cotopaxi volcano since records began in 1738. At 5,897m, it's one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, with a dramatic, snow-capped peak. Exodus offers an 18-day Avenue of the Volcanoes tour, which includes climbing Cotapaxi, and departs on 7 November. Flights from London and transfers are included in the price of £2,358 per person .