Are you looking for things to do in Ecuador and don’t know where to start?
We know. This dazzling country is packed to the brim with activities.
A mecca for nature-lovers, Ecuador is home to the most diverse eco-systems in the world, often found right next to each other. The most famous of which is the Galapagos Islands, which needs no introduction as the inspiration behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The most curious of Latin America, Ecuador is shaken up by its proximity to the equator. The countries global position earns its local title of “four countries in one” due to the four different geographical areas, all with different temperatures, hugging the central line of the equator.
In the Galapagos, Summer is from October through to May. In contrast, on the coast in cities such as Manta ideal temperatures are from June to September when it is not so humid, offering a great chance to check out Ecuador’s beaches. In Quito and the Highlands, the temperatures stay much the same throughout the year as it is high in altitude and close to the equator.
Whether you are looking to gaze out across mountain tops or find wildlife in the dense rainforests, Ecuador could have exactly what you are looking for. To begin your journey to Ecuador today, contact one of our Local Suppliers to start planning your trip.
Places to Visit in Ecuador
1. Galapagos Islands
Far from the Ecuadorian coast, the Galapagos Islands strikes wonder in all that come across it. Spread across 19 islands and many smaller islets, each one a little different from the other; the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands is different to anywhere else in the world. With no predators, the animals have evolved in a way that no other habitat has.
Ranging from harsh dark landscapes to white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, arranged tours in the Galapagos Islands show you the diversity the archipelago has to offer.
Guided tours, such as this 8-day Galapagos cruise, are the only way to explore the area, as it is an invaluable conservation area for all the creatures that reside here. Because of this, boat numbers are limited to 100 passengers, however, it is highly recommended that you take one of the smaller boats.
Surrounded by nature, Quito is a city set high in the Andes. As Quito was built on top of an Incan town, you can still find the remains of temples around the outskirts of the city attesting to the rituals and practices of the Incan people, some of which are still practised in Ecuador today. When staying in Quito, you’ll find yourself increasingly curious about the old town; itis a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its many churches of which there are over 200 – you could spend most of your time visiting.
For nature lovers eager to explore the rugged landscapes at a high altitude, Quito is also the gateway to Cotopaxi National Park where numerous hiking and biking trips provide stunning views of this active volcano.
3. Ciudad Mitad del Mundo
Outside of Quito, one of the most famous and essential stops while in Ecuador is Ciudad Mitad del Mundo where you can plant both feet firmly in the north and the south of the equator.
The monument of Ciudad Mitad Mundo is the exact site where the French Academy of Sciences determined the equator line in 1736. Interestingly, their science was a little bit off, and you’ll find a big yellow sign 250 metres from the original monument, which was calculated using GPS measures.
For those who are interested in the scientific research that has taken place at this site, you’ll find the nearby solar museum of great interest.
Surrounded by mountains, thermal springs and waterfalls, Banos is a small town that offers a base point for endless frolicking in nature. If you have already dabbled in a little research into your trip to Ecuador, you’ll have come across the iconic “End of the World” picture; a swing that throws you out off of the edge a cliff in the middle of the jungle – that swing is right here in Banos!
Banos is easily accessible from Quito and can be incorporated into a longer trip to Ecuador such as this 14-Day Family-Friendly trip although you could easily spend a week exploring Banos, Ecuador!
5. Mindo Valley
Set in the heart of the subtropical Cloud Forest, Mindo Valley is luscious, green and filled with leisurely activities.
From the town, you can hike to numerous waterfalls. The starting point for all of the routes is accessed via a cable car. You can pick and choose how many waterfalls you wish to visit; although, if you want to tick them all off be prepared for a 6-hour hike! Alternatively, you can get your heart-pumping while flying over the canopy on Mindo’s zip line, as suggested in this 8-Day Ecuador’s trip.
When not exploring Mindo’s verdant nature, you could visit a local chocolatier for a unique insight into the bean-to-bar process that makes Ecuadorian chocolate so famous.
6. Ingapirca Ruins
In between Otavalo and Cuenca, the Ingapirca Ruins have some of the best-preserved Incan architecture in Ecuador, despite hardly being touched by tourism, Ingapirca is also the largest archaeological complex in the country.
The Canaris originally occupied the site with the Incans arriving in the 15th century. However, most interestingly the Canari people continued to live here as the Incans expanded the complex. It was partially destroyed in the 16th century by the Spanish and consequentially left deserted.
You can add Ingapirca Ruins to your Ecuador tour as a day trip from Cuenca or as stop on the way from Otavalo to Cuenca as suggested in this 12-Day Ecuador Mainland Highlights trip. As this site is 3,200 metres above sea level, you’ll find one or two hours is more than enough; please take care, take your time, and drink lots of water to avoid any serious harm from the altitude!
Found on Isabela in the Galapagos Islands, Sierra Negra volcano is the most active of the six volcanoes that form the island however it is still possible to hike around its caldera at almost any time of year.
Guided tours, such as the one found in this 14-Day trip From the Andes to the Galapagos, can be arranged to discover the flora and fauna that are famous in the Galapagos while exploring the vibrant colours of this volcanic terrain. There are a variety of hiking possibilities available in Sierra Negra, ranging in length and difficulty.
Famed for its market, which is the main reason that travellers stop by Otavalo, several natural attractions surround the city of Otavalo that warrants some attention as detailed in this 11-Day Wonders of Ecuador customisable trip.
One of the most impressive sites in Otavalo is Cascade de Peguche, where waters gush into a river which you can get up close to via a bridge; you’ll feel the spray of water coat the face lightly as the sounds of nature surround you. The other is a reserve for rescued birds of prey, who are free to roam in the protected Condor Park, where you’ll learn a little more about the dangers that these powerful, majestic creatures face.
Back at the Otavalo Market, you’ll be introduced to the cultures and practices of Ecuadorian indigenous tribes through the region. You can purchase a range of hand-woven goods, alongside more commercially produced products.
To discuss the possibilities while travelling in Ecuador, you can speak to one of Tripfuser’s Local Suppliers to start planning your trip. All of the trips to Ecuador are customisable based on your needs.
The Local Suppliers that we have based in Ecuador are experts in their region and know the in’s and out’s, where to eat, and what activities are on offer based on the season. Submit a Design via the Tripfuser website to begin the conversation that will lead to your next trip.