Ecuador, Cuenca city center, scenic view of San Sebastian church with fountain in foreground

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Southern Highlands

Emerging from the shadows of the breath-sapping peaks, glaciers and active volcanoes of the north, a gentler land reveals itself. Still mountainous, but also more benign, the southern spine of the Ecuadorian Andes ushers intrepid travelers down lush valleys that hide some treats: pastel-hued colonial towns and remote villages where indigenous cultures thrive.

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