Ecuador is a unique cultural oasis host to a variety of beautiful landscapes. The country appeals to all types of travelers, offering luxury and backpacker accommodations, soft and hard adventure activities, indigenous cultures and unique species of animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Here are the top five places you should visit when travelling through the country.
1. Northern Andes
North of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, you’ll find the vibrant Northern Andes. This mountainous region is known for its majestic peaks, “lake region” and indigenous villages. Many people visit the Northern Andes to see the volcanic lakes, particularly Quiloltoa. When travelling through the region, a stop at Otavalo Market is a must! The market sells Ecuadorian handicrafts, including hand-woven ponchos, wool sweaters and woodcarvings. Enjoy a unique and authentic travel experience with a stay at Hacienda Zuleta, a country house built during colonial times on 4,000 acres of land. When visiting, guests can check out the Condor Huasi Project, which supports the rehabilitation of the majestic Andean Condor.
2. Galapagos Islands
Famous for its impact on Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most fascinating regions of the world. The Galapagos are comprised of 19 beautiful islands and the surrounding Pacific Ocean, filled with unique species of animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world, including Darwin’s Finch, the Galapagos giant tortoise and marine iguanas. There are tons of fun activities to enjoy on these magnificent islands including cruises, snorkeling and diving, a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, El Chato Tortoise Reserve and Sierra Negra volcano.
3. City of Quito
A visit to Ecuador wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Quito, the nation’s capital. This UNESCO protected capital was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city. Quito is filled with beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and despite an earthquake in 1917; it is the best-preserved historic city in Latin America. Explore the city’s historical links including popular churches Basilica of the National Vow and Santo Domingo; as well as La Ronda, Quito’s oldest street known for its street vendors and entertainment; and San Francisco Square, one of Quito’s largest squares with impressive architecture.
4. Southern Andes
After visiting the Northern Andes, you need to trek down to explore what the Southern Andes have to offer. The region’s cloud forests are a favorite for birdwatchers. Cloud forests forms when rainforests meet mountains, creating a perfect ecosystem for tropical birds. Birdwatchers both novice and experienced will be delighted by the sights and sounds of over 500 species of birds in the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. Adventure seekers can enjoy a birds-eye view and fly above the rainforest with an exhilarating zip line tour.
5. The Amazon
Ecuador’s Amazon region is a diverse ecosystem and home to many indigenous groups that have inhabited the land for many years. The Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest is always hot and humid with an average temperature of 27º C/ 80º F and lots of rainfall. There are many ways to explore this rich forest area including guided tours on foot or canoeing and kayaking. You can also take part in tours that show indigenous cultures and lifestyles. Whichever way you choose to explore, we know that you’ll be thrilled by the rich culture and biodiversity the Amazon offers.
Ecuador is one of South America’s most exciting countries to travel to. There is so much to do and see in one place. With historical architecture, colossal mountain peaks, rich indigenous cultures and diverse animal and plant species, you’ll never get bored in Ecuador! Check out the amazing adventures we’re offering and visit Ecuador for yourself.