Ecuador is the perfect place for adventure as this country boasts more biodiversity than any other on the planet. It is home to rainforests, mountains, lakes, wonderful islands, and a diverse number of animal species.
Ecuador offers a wide variety of scenery. Ecuadorian landscape falls into three categories: the coastal lowlands, the mountainous Sierra, and the Oriente jungle.
There are many appealing places where you can go with awe-inspiring scenery. You can head to the mountainous highlands to hike, explore the Amazon Rainforest, dive in the Galapagos Islands. If you are searching for a coastal getaway, there are tiny end-of-the-road settlements such as Ayampe and Olón with great beaches and magnificent sunsets right outside your door.
1. VISIT THE OLD TOWN
A Spanish-colonial stunner, Quito’s vibrant Centro Histórico is packed with elaborate churches and mournful monasteries. History lurks around every corner of this well-preserved centre. You can enjoy a meal in one of El Centro’s old-world restaurants or join the festivities on lively La Ronda St before retiring to one of the many charming guesthouses in the neighborhood.
2. EXPLORE COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK
Cotopaxi National Park is a protected area in Ecuador situated in the Cotopaxi Province roughly 50 km south of Quito. The imposing Cotopaxi volcano is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. Thousands of climbers from all nationalities have achieved its peak and many others dream of doing it.
3. STAY IN A LODGE IN THE CUYABENO RESERVE
Lodges are the most famous accommodation in the Amazon. A kind of hotel in the forest, the lodge generally offers small group stays in an all-inclusive formula to ensure you will enjoy your stay in the Amazon forest.
A guide will also accompany you throughout your stay to help you discover the treasures of the region. Depending on the Lodge and the region, the program is more or less oriented towards nature or culture. It can also be more or less flexible according to your desires.
In these lodges, you’ll usually stay in a comfortable twin-share or double cabin with an ensuite bathroom. Rooms will be kitted out with mosquito nets.
For an unique experience you can check Waita Lodge
4. DIVE IN THE GALAPAGOS
The Galapagos Islands are fascinating volcanic islands that form part of Ecuador in South America. They are the host of unique species of wildlife resides. The Galapagos Islands have as much life beneath the waves as on land. The Galapagos snorkeling experience is inherently one-of-a-kind because of the countrís many endemic animals: Hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, and the Galapagos shark, not to mention countless sting rays call these waters home.
5. LOCAL CRAFT IN OTAVALO MARKET
Every Saturday bustling indigenous town of Otavalo in the Andes, where a huge market (which goes on in a rather redacted form every other day of the week, too) spreads out from the Plaza de Ponchos throughout the town. The choice is enormous, the quality immensely changeable and the crowds can be a drag, but you’ll find some incredible bargains here among the brightly coloured rugs, traditional crafts, clothing, striking folk art and quality straw hats.
6. SURF IN THE COAST
With its 2.337km coastline and more than 50 beaches, Ecuador is the country that attracts more and more surfers every year. Ecuador caters beaches for all levels of surfers and for every taste. Beach break, reef break, point break.
Indeed, the Ecuadorian coast offers a good cocktail between big waves, amazing sunsets and breathtaking landscapes.
7. KAYAK IN QUILOTOA CRATER LAKE
Quilotoa is one of the many volcanoes you can visit in Ecuador. It is located about 3 hours south from Quito, at an altitude of 3500m.
You can walk down the crater and hire to kayak to have a unique view of the surrounding area.
The famed Galápagos Islands, with their volcanic, otherworldly landscapes, are a magnet for wildlife lovers. Here, you can get up close and personal with massive lumbering tortoises, scurrying marine iguanas (the world’s only seagoing lizard), doe-eyed sea lions, prancing blue-footed boobies and a host of other unusual species both on land and sea.
The Amazon rainforest offers a vastly different wildlife-watching experience. Set out on the rivers and forested trails in search of monkeys, sloths, toucans, and river dolphins.
You can also go whale watching in Puerto Lopez from June to September. Humback Whale are seen along the shores of Ecuador.
The historic centres of Quito and Cuenca are lined with photogenic plazas, 17th-century churches and monasteries, and beautifully restored mansions. Wandering the cobblestone streets amid architectural treasures from Spanish colonial days is a fine way to delve into the past.
Beyond the cities, there are Andean villages renowned for their colourful textiles and sprawling markets, Afro-Ecuadorean towns where days end with meals of fresh seafood and memorable sunsets, and remote settlements in the Amazon where shamans still harvest the traditional rainforest medicines of their ancestors.
Written by Clémence Aubry