Why you need to go: It’s a budget adventurer's paradise: culture, cuisine, and architecture in Quito; unparalleled biodiversity in the verdant Amazon basin; rustic seashores; and, of course, 600 miles offshore, the Galápagos Islands. Ecuador's currency is, conveniently, the dollar. You'll find your tab rarely goes above $5, just like the temperature rarely strays above 70.
Why it isn't more popular: Ecuador often loses out to Peru or Patagonia when it comes to adventure travel. But hikers, campers, and extreme sports enthusiasts are missing out on a treasure trove of trails, rivers, canyons, and volcanoes.
The one thing you must do: Everyone will tell you the Galápagos Islands, and this is true, but regulations and distance make them more of a standalone trip. If you are going to Ecuador, visit the Amazon basin and take advantage of the whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and trekking.