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Everything's coming up roses in Ecuador

How do you fancy sampling exotic dishes made with edible flowers and petals? Choosing the flowers for your wedding 'in situ' from the land where the planet's finest roses grow? Or trekking through the Andes and meeting the people who live there? All these and other possibilities await you when you follow the Flower Trail through Ecuador.

They say that Ecuador is the home of the world's most beautiful roses. Whether that's true, or not, it's a fact that cultivation of flowers for export has become a major industry in the mountainous Andes region of the country. The climate and geographical situation combine to provide the perfect conditions for this activity that is the economic salvation of so many rural areas. And now the Flower Trail has itself become the focus of tourism, bringing yet more economic activity to the area.

Whether you have time to make a leisurely journey by the local buses, rent a car or take a more organised tour, what flower lover could resist the temptation of this colourful route through the Andes? As you travel, you will get to know the people and their traditions and customs, as well as the activities associated with the production of flowers. You can go trekking in the Andes, mountain biking or horse-riding. And you can sample the traditional and contemporary cuisine, and even stay in the luxurious surroundings of a historical hacienda

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flower trail, Ecuador
The Flower Trail through Ecuador is a chance to explore the majestic scenery and discover some of the traditions and customs of the country 

flower trail, Ecuador
The ancient culture of the Ecuadorian Andes is rich in legend and folklore; the bond with the land is very close and many traditions are tied to the agricultural calendar 

Quiroga lake, Ecuador
The water-filled caldera of Quilotoa, one of the volcanoes in the Andes, has a diameter of around nine kilometres and is becoming a popular destination among hikers 

flower trail, Ecuador
Flower-farming has played a crucial role in the rural economy of the Ecuadorian Andes, allowing families and local communities to work together and bringing development to the region 

Ecuador
There are many local crafts, including textiles, silverware, ceramics and carvings, many in bright primary colours 

flower trail, Ecuador
The pure waters from the Andean glaciers and the bright Ecuadorian sun provide perfect natural conditions for flower cultivation 

steam train, Ecuador
Known as the most difficult railway in the world, the construction in the early 1900s of a track leading to the heart of the Andes was one of the greatest engineering works of the twentieth century 

Ecuador
The Flower Trail also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure tourism, with activities including trekking, horse riding and canoeing 

Ecuador
The Cotopaxi volcano, at 5,897 meters, is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and is located 50 kilometres south of the capital, Quito