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April 5, 2017
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Sitting on the equator between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador may be the smallest Andean nation but it’s packed with the most startling contrasts of scenery. With its astounding biodiversity, impressive historical legacy, stunning colonial architecture, bustling highland markets and diverse mix of people – blacks, whites, indigenous and mestizo – it’s easy to see why this friendly and exotic destination is regarded as a microcosm of South America. From the icy pinnacles of Chimborazo, to the tropical forests of vast reserves like Parque Nacional Yasuní, to the palm-fringed beaches of the Pacific coast, Ecuador hums with life – all within easy reach of Quito, its jewel of a capital. (Excerpt from The Rough Guide to Ecuador)

We stock a range of travel guides and maps for Ecuador, as well as selected books based in the country including fiction, travel writing, biographies, history, food and more. Below you’ll find our recommended books to read before you go.

We also stock regional guides, maps and books for the Galapagos Islands.

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The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

An old man lives in a hut in El Idilio, a village on the Nangaritza River, in the southeast corner of Ecuador. The village is so small, the dentist comes only twice a year, to pull teeth and bring books to the old man - love stories, with gliding gondolas and ardent kisses, the kind that guarantee maximum heartache. This is a story of the jungle, green hell and Eden; of the Shuar Indians, who know how to live in harmony with it; of the machines and settlers and gold prospectors and gringos who have invaded it. Nature, out of balance, becomes vengeful and violent. An ocelot stalks the village, and only the old man, who once lived with the Indians and knows the jungle, is able to face the animal. An enchanting adventure of personal honour in the magical, savage world of Amazonia.

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The Queen of Water

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indigenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta--stupid Indian--by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds. In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with Maria Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

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The Mapmaker's Wife

In 1735 a team of French scientists set out on a daring expedition into the South American wilderness to resolve one of the great scientific challenges of the time: the precise size and shape of the Earth. Scaling the Andes and journeying along the Amazon, the mapmakers faced all manner of danger, while madness, disease and violent death each took their toll. However one, Jean Godin, fell in love with a local girl called Isabel Grameson. When the time came for the expedition to return to France, Godin travelled ahead to ensure the way was safe for his new family. But on reaching French Guiana, disaster struck: Spain and Portugal closed their borders and he was stranded, unable to return to Isabel. What followed lies at the core of this extraordinary tale - a heartbreaking 20-year separation that ended when Isabel, believing she might never see her husband again, decided to make her own way across the continent: a journey that began in hope but became hell on earth...Drawing on his own experience retracing Isabel's epic trek as well as contemporary records, Robert Whitaker recounts a captivating true story of love and survival set against the backdrop of what many still regard as 'the greatest expedition the world has ever known'.

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Cloud Road : A Journey Through the Inca Heartland

In every atlas there is a country missing from the maps of South America: the Andean nation. For five months John Harrison journeys through this secret country, walking alone into remote villages where he is the first gringo the inhabitants have ever seen, and where life continues as if Columbus had never sailed. He lives at over 10,000 feet for most of the trip, following the great road of the Incas: the Camino Real, or Royal Road. Hand built over 500 years ago, it crosses the most difficult and dangerous mountains in all the Americas, diving into sweltering canyons and soaring up into the snows. The 2400 km journey, half of it on foot, takes him from the equator to Cuzco and the most magical city of all: Machu Picchu. He is attacked, gets lost and is trapped by floods, but only when he goes home does he lose what he wants most.

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Tom Miller reveals the making and marketing of one Panama hat, from the straw fields of Ecuador’s coastal lowland to a hat shop in Southern California. Along the way, the hat becomes a literary device allowing Miller to give us his impressions from the tributaries of the Amazon to the mountainsides of the Andes. The Panama Hat Trail is more than a study of this iconic hat; it is a lively travelogue that provides a fascinating inside into the culture and people of Ecuador. Note: This book is currently out of print, but a reprint is due out in October 2017. Contact us to reserve your copy.


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