‘Small is beautiful’. It’s a well-worn cliché, but one that could have been written for Ecuador, which is fast becoming an utterly unmissable stop on any South American tour. It’s the diversity of this undersized haven that draws the crowds: there are mountains and jungles, modern cities and almost-untouched villages, glacier-covered volcanoes and an island that changed the course of natural history forever. Best of all, with everything so close together (the Galapagos aside, at least), you probably won't have to pick between them.
Colonial old-town Quito nestles between soaring volcanic peaks, and has the street-side feel a city that knows what it's about, and is proud of its progress. Recent renovations mean this world heritage site sparkles, both people and places bright with upbeat colors. Striking Cuenca hosts whitewashed houses galore, spread around impressive open plazas that host fashionable restaurants. It’s all very mellow, with a taste of the past dangling in the air.
For a frantic adventure, white water rafting in Tena – down a choice of two hefty rivers and countless rapids – takes you into the heart of the Amazon Basin, and can be combined with an exploration of the local indigenous communities. The Quilotoa Loop is an Andean odyssey, taking in mountain passes and stupendous views, while the Parque Nacional Machalilla is the place to go and spy whales flopping across the water. At the top of the imposing Volcan Chimborazo you’ll be as close to the sun as anyone on earth.
Ecuador’s most famous site, of course, lies off the coast. The Galapagos Islands outstanding abundance of wildlife prompted Darwin to change human thought forever, and the islands still draw endless queues of tourists photographing lizards lounging in the sun, or posing with colossal lumbering turtles. Cruises from the mainland are a common (yet pricey) option; be aware of the environmental problems increasing numbers of visitors bring.
It’s difficult to choose between the ample attractions Ecuador offers up, so much so that plenty of South American travelers turn up here and never get around to leaving. If you’re on a time threshold though, you’ll find the proximity of varied sites in this thrilling and compact nation a major draw.
Often sitting under an almost unrealistically blue sky, flanked by soaring volcanoes and home to a heady mix of developing-world modernism and lively history, Quito is part UNESCO World Herit…
Guayaquil and the South Coast
Many visitors to Ecuador are surprised to learn that the seaport of Guayaquil is the country's largest city. But size is not only surprise in this commercial …
Cuenca; the capital of Azuay Province. Most Ecuadorians consider Cuenca to be their country's most beautiful city and it's hard to find anyone who would argue. Cuenca means river b…
Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hotsprings, Baños has become a mecca for international travelers seeking year-round temperate weather, a small town atmosphere, and a base fo…
One of the most remote destinations on the planet, and famous for being the primary inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, the Galapagos Islands are a small archipela…
Otavalo is a largely indigenous town in Imbabura Province, Ecuador, well known for its huge Saturday market. This market days is touted to be the largest inb South America. The tow…
Situated northwest of Quito, Mindo is a hidden paradise 1,300 m (4,300 ft.) above sea level. Over the past few years, it has become a favorite place for birdwatching and the observin…
Puerto Ayora is the largest town on the Galapagos Islands and hub for most tourists since it has most of the required facilities (hotels, internet cafes, etc). Saying that, it's still pretty…
Montañita is a small village on Ecuador's Pacific coast. It is known as one of the best surfing locales in the country.
The village is located about 180 kilometers northwest of Guayaquil.…
Puerto Lopez is a small fisher-town in the south of Manabi-Province and it is very near to the Machalilla National Park, which might be its main attraction.
Puerto Lopez is the perfect pla…
Canoa is a small beach / surf town. It's not as big and crowded as Montanita, so it's more laid back.
But Canoa is not just about surfing, you can also go horse riding, trekking in the nea…
Great little town and transportation center in Ecuador Amazon region. It is the perfect spot to explore national parks and native territories in surrounding area.
Manta is a mid-sized city in Manabí Province, Ecuador. It is the most populated city in the province, the fifth most populated in the country and, economically, the third most important city…
Vilcabamba is a village in the southern region of Ecuador, in the Loja province, about 45 km from the city of Loja.
Located in a historical and scenic valley, it is a common destination fo…
Mitad del Mundo
Quito makes a good starting point for many day-long excursions into the lush surrounding Andean Sierra. By hiring a car, taking a tour or using public transport or taxis, t…
Loja is the capitol of the province of Loja. It is situated in the very south of Ecuador, about 150km away from the border to Peru.
Loja holds a rich tradition in the arts, and for this re…
Cayambe, a quiet pleasant highland town located 25 km northeast of Guayllabamba. Known by its "bizcochos" (small biscuits with tasty string cheese). It's a must trying this bizcochos and ques…
Latacunga is a small Ecuadorian city of some 52,000 inhabitants, located some 90 km south of Quito. Located near Cotapaxi volcano , this plateau city has a historic center. it was founded in …
There are 2 places called Salinas in Ecuador. The Salinas at the beach next to La Libertad and the Salinas in the middle of the country, the co-operative community.
Salinas at the beach:
Cotacachi is a town of close to 10,000 people. There are quite a few expats in the town due to the mild comfortable climate and great quality of living.
This town is also known as the L…
Cuyabeno is one of the national parks in Ecuador. it is situated in the amazon rainforest and it has a great variety of flora and fauna.
one of the most spectacular places there is the "gr…
Separated by a thin strait north of Isla Baltra and Isla Santa Cruz, Isla Seymour is often referred to as North Seymour Island, while Isla Baltra is often called the South Seymour Island. Hav…
Ingapirca is Ecuador's biggest Inca site. It is a word from Quechua, which means "The walls from the Inca". It is located just one hour North from Cuenca. Many fundations of walls are visible…