What Ecuador lacks in bulk – only Guyana, Uruguay and Suriname are smaller in South America – it compensates in natural beauty and cultural attractions.Read More
Quito, the second-highest capital in the world, is where most begin. Start with an overview of the city by taking the TelefériQo cable car to the Cruz Loma lookout. Return to the city to start exploring the landmarks, including the gold-bellied church, Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús, and the National Museum of Ecuador. Finish with foodie kicks in the trendy La Floresta neighbourhood.
Alternatively, head to Cuenca, a highland city of cobblestone streets, majestic churches and a Unesco-listed historic center. Take the chance to pick up a panama hat, which – despite the name – were born in this region.
If you prefer wild pursuits, head to Cotopaxi National Park, which is dominated by Cotopaxi, an active volcano and vertebrae of the Andes. Admire its snow-capped cone with hikes around the park, or see it in double, reflected in the Limpiopungo Lagoon.
For further outdoor adventures, head to Baños de Agua Santa, to take the waterfall route and visit cascades that eventually run into the Amazon. It’s then onto Tena, gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, to go white-water rafting on the Rio Jatunyacu and jungle trekking.
Finally, who could forget that world-famous volcanic archipelago 1,000km (620mi) off the west coast? The Galapagos is a naturalist’s dream, home to giant tortoises, penguins and sharks. It is also, of course, where Charles Darwin cracked evolution and changed our understanding of life on earth.
You can discover Ecuador at its most authentic with us. Join one of our Trips by Culture Trip and a Local Insider will show you the best of the country, giving you the chance to meet local people and go beyond the tourist traps.