One of South America’s smaller countries packs a punch that defies itself for travellers. One of the most diverse countries in the world, Ecuador is home to incredible wildlife, stunning landscapes, and gorgeous whitewashed colonial centres. And that’s just the beginning! It’s a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts too, with hiking and biking through the Andes, and rainforest adventures to be had too. Oh, and there are a few islands off the shore you might have heard of: The Galapagos!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the 5 best activities in Ecuador. Hopefully, it’ll make your trip easier to plan and you’ll really be able to make the most of your time here!
Get up close and personal with wildlife in the Galapagos
For nature lovers, there are few places in the world like the Galapagos. The biodiversity here is unrivalled, and many of the creatures here you’ll find nowhere else in the world, like the marine iguana! 1,000 km off the Ecuadorean Coast, there are 19 islands, with only four of these inhabited by humans: Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, and Floreana. There are many ways to see the Galapagos. However, if this is a real bucket list trip, then consider taking a Galapagos cruise. Not only will you get the chance to see amazing wildlife in its natural habitat, but you’ll also get to enjoy activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, and delicious meals onboard. To find out more about Galapagos packages, check here!
Lose yourself in the Amazon
Seeing incredible wildlife doesn’t mean you have to fly all the way out to the Galapagos Islands. If you’re a little shorter on time, consider visiting the Amazon instead. Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve is the 2nd largest nature reserve out of 45 national parks in Ecuador, and there are few better places to connect not only with nature, but also the indigenous tribes who call this place home. Boasting 14 lakes and some of the most biodiversity in the entire Amazon, be on the lookout for all sorts of animals, from tiny poison dart frogs, to fearsome caimans, to lazy sloths. There are 8 indigenous tribes living in the reserve too, so it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a completely new culture and find out what it’s like to live off the land!
Need somewhere to stay? Ecuatraveling presents you with the Nicky Lodge. The perfect accommodation for your Amazon adventures!
Hike the Quilotoa Loop
Looking for a multi-day hike to do in the Andes Mountains? Few are as stunning as the Quilotoa loop, which will take you through remote traditional villages, brightly coloured markets, and by dazzlingly blue crater lakes. The trek is over 40km and it takes between 2 and 5 days to complete the trip. A few practical tips. Make sure you spend some time acclimatising before attempting the hike. The hike up to the crater is over 4,000 metres in altitude, so it can be quite challenging. Also, bring some cash as there are few ATMs along the route. Last but not least, wear sturdy walking shoes. If you don’t, your muscles will be aching for days! None of this should put you off though. Hiking the Quilotoa Loop is an unforgettable experience!
Discover the Historic Centre of Quito
There are two international airports in Ecuador, so the chances are you’ll be arriving to either Guayaquil or Quito. If it’s the latter, then spend a few days getting to know Quito. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a great place to acclimatise to the height. At 2,850 metres, Quito is second only to La Paz in Bolivia in the highest capitals in the world. But more importantly, the historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some of the best and most beautiful examples of Spanish colonial architecture in South America. Built on the ruins of an Inca City, spend a few days taking in the magnificent architecture, exploring the world class museums, and relaxing in the wide-open squares. If you don’t mind heading out of the centre, you can also enjoy the vibrant nightlife around Plaza Foch. Or, there’s also the opportunity to stand in the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time – at nearby Mitad del Mundo.
Wondering about where to stay in Quito? Check out the Hump Day Hostel. There are loads of activities and a friendly atmosphere right in the city centre!
Reach the closest point on earth to the sun!
Many people think that Everest is the highest mountain in the world – and it is. However, Chimborazo, near the town of Riobamba, is closer to the sun thanks to its location so close to the equator! One of the best ways to see Chimborazo is by mountain biking. You’ll start at 5,100 metres and along the way, spot flora and fauna such as the elusive and shy vicuña. Prefer to get to the summit? You can climb this inactive volcano too.
A little closer to Quito, you’ll find Cotopaxi, the second tallest mountain in the country. This one is still active, and the surrounding national park is a favourite location for tourists and locals alike. It’s possible to do climbing and biking tours of Cotopaxi, which is a currently active volcano. Cotopaxi National Park also offers excellent hiking and wildlife watching, if you’d prefer to keep yourself safe from altitude sickness! Whichever mountain you choose to visit, you won’t be disappointed!
So, now you know the best 5 activities in Ecuador…
It’s time to start planning your trip. If you’ve never been to South America or you don’t speak Spanish, you might feel better if you get some help. So, check out Ecuatraveling, who have some great offers on all the activities mentioned above and more! And when looking for somewhere to stay, don’t miss out on the awesome Hump Day Hostel or Nicky Lodge in the Amazon!
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