From the vast Amazon rainforest in the East to the rugged peaks of the Andes mountains and the windswept beaches of the pacific coast; Ecuador packs a surprising variety of scenery into its borders. Whether you’re hiking in a National Park or cruising the legendary Galapagos Islands, here are 8 of the most beautiful places in Ecuador to add to your itinerary.
This summer, I had to pleasure of taking my first trip to Ecuador, and the town of Cuenca and its surrounding area was a big draw to me. With the region’s cultural heritage from many indigenous groups and its artisan heritage
With a vast variety of native ecosystems crammed into such a small country, it’s no surprise that Ecuador has become a pioneer of eco-tourism, setting up a number of initiatives to preserve and protect both its natural environments and its indigenous cultures.
With 19 main islands and numerous smaller isles presenting a smorgasbord of wildlife, taking a cruise around Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is atop many traveler’s bucket lists, but with dozens of tour companies offering everything from half day boat tours to 12-day all-inclusive cruises, it’s tough to know which one to choose. To help you consider your options, here are a few tips for how to choose a Galapagos Cruise.
Whether scaling the heights of the ancient Pichincha Volcano or gazing over the city from a church rooftop, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Quito, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage listed city, but the Ecuadorian capital also makes a great base for exploring the rest of the country. From trekking in the rainforest to standing on the equator line: here are some of the best day trips from Quito.
The easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago and the first stop for most flights from mainland Ecuador, San Cristóbal offers visitors so much more than a convenient gateway to the islands. Home to an incredibly diverse array of wildlife – playful sea lions, immense tortoises, marine iguanas, gentle sharks, and innumerable species of seabirds, including the humorously named booby –, San Cristóbal is an eco-traveler’s paradise.
Impressive Antisana. Colossal Cotopaxi. Gigantic Chimborazo. The names of Ecuador’s tallest peaks are sometimes as long and imposing as these volcanoes are high. Stretching south from the capital city, Quito, to the border with Peru, the Avenue of the Volcanoes never fails to amaze travelers with its dramatic topography and an vague uneasiness about the next surprise eruption.
Cradled high in the Andes and called the “Athens of Ecuador,” the city of Cuenca marries colonial Spanish traditions and influence with indigenous and pre-Columbian history and culture in a vivid display of baroque churches, iconic artworks, and monumental ruins. The bustling historic district has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws architecture buffs and culture vultures from around the world.
Of all the islands in the Galapagos Archipelago, Santa Cruz Island offers visitors an unbeatable location at the center of the region, with varied lodging options, sparkling beaches, exhilarating adventure sports and outdoor activities, the one-of-a-kind Charles Darwin Research Station, and easy links to the neighboring islands.
Sandwiched between Latin American culinary giants Peru and Colombia, tiny Ecuador is often surprising when it comes to serving up tasty local fare. Traditional dishes are delightfully varied and stem from the fusion of European, African, and varied indigenous cultures, as well as the geographic differences found within the small confines of the country, namely Andean and Pacific coastal influences.