Ecuador's culture proves a major attraction for tourists as it is so unique and different from their own. Ecuador has a strong indigenous culture, especially in the small highland towns. Otavalo (near Quito) is strongly influenced by indigenous culture and history and is Ecuador's most famous market town. Having said this, the majority of the population are Mestizo. In addition to Mestizo and various indigenous cultures, there is also a large Afro-Caribbean population, particularly in the coastal provinces (known locally as La Costa).
Tourists can see the cultures impact on local food, which consists heavily of food such as maize, plantain, rice and tortillas. Ceviche is a typical and very tasty dish served mainly on the coast. In addition to local foods, many hotels serve international cuisine.
The Incas invaded Ecuador during the 1400's and this remained the dominant culture until the arrival of the Spanish in the colonial era. Historic Inca ruins such as those at Ingapirca near Cuenca demonstrate Ecuador's Incan history. The Spanish brought with them their European customs and culture, and to this day are not particularly popular. Ecuador was liberated from Spanish rule in 1820's by Simon Bolivar. The country is now a friendly, beautiful and culturally diverse South American country ideal for all types of vacation.