Columbia and Ecuador
While both of these countries are rich enough to craft entire itineraries around individually, they're regional neighbors, making a fantastic combo package. OR make either a stop-over to break up a seriously long flight deeper into South America.
Bogota and Beyond
While Bogota might bring to mind certain illegal substances, the days of that being Bogota's claim to fame are long gone. This Capital City is as safe as any, has vibrant street art, amazing food and culturally significant history museums. It can even be done as a long layover if you have an inconvenient connection further afield. Then make your way up to Cartagena - the sea-side historic city with its new eco-tourism scene.
Ecuador - Middle of the World
Most people will cross through Ecuador on their way to the Galapagos, but for those that venture out beyond the airport will be rewarded with volcanic hot springs in Banos, an incredible exchange rate for 5-star meals, and the chance to stand with one foot in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Capitol City Quito sits at nearly 10,ooo' above Sea Level so take your time to acclimate, before any strenuous shopping in the native craft markets or town squares.
If you are an eco-warrior, a scientist or just love wildlife then the Galapagos deserve their own dedicated itinerary with plenty of time to study the massive tortoises, Marine iguanas and even their own Penguins!. Try combining a 3-4 day "wet safari" with a Quito city break for the best of everything Ecuador has to offer.