Top 13 Places in Ecuador You Can Not Miss

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Ecuador is a gorgeous country with a lot to offer its visitors. Everywhere you visit you will find a diversity of customs, biodiversity, language and food. Ecuador is divided in four regions, with a population of almost 16 million people.

Jazmin is a native and took us to travel around Ecuador. We visited the Galapagos, the highland, the coastal region and the Amazon Rainforest. Many people ask us where they should go in Ecuador. Well, we decided to write a list of places you must visit in Ecuador, as well as the activities they offer.

Ecuador Bucket List

1. Isabella, Galapagos Islands

Things to visit:

The first thing we recommend you visit is the Tunnels (Los tuneles). You can swim with turtles, sharks (yes, sharks), different fishes, blue footed bobbies, maybe iguanas and penguins. Another tour we recommend doing is Las Tintoreras, where you will see iguanas and sharks. The Crianza Arnaldo Tupiza center is a nice place where you can go and see the galapagos turtles.

2. Cuenca, Azuay

Things to visit:

The new cathedral is our favorite. You should just walk the entire city center, which is full of history and great for photos. Have a picnic at the Tomebamba River and take a walk along it. While in Cuenca please try the Tutto Freddo’s Ice cream, it is the best in the city! You can visit Cajas National Park, which is also on this list, it is a beautiful park where you can hike.

3. Quito, Pichincha

mitad-del-mundo-pichincha1

Things to visit:

The first thing to do in Quito is to walk Downtown Quito. It is full of art and history. My favorite place is the Carondelet Palace, where the president works and lives. Also, visit la Mitad del Mundo, where there is a monument along the equator, yet the real one is in nearby town, Calacali. If you have time visit the TeleferiQo where you get a breathtaking view of the city.

4. Baños, Tungurahua

cascada-velos-de-novia-ban%cc%83os

Things to visit:

The best part of Baños is the Waterfall route, you take a chiva and it drives past all the beautiful waterfalls. The last stop is the Pailon del Diablo, which is the greatest waterfall of all in Baños. Other activities are the Swing at the End of the World, where you can swing at the edge of a cliff, with the Tungurahua Volcano in the background. You can go tubing, hiking, camping, rafting and many other outdoor activities.

You can also book a tour to the rainforest, as Baños is the door to the rainforest so you can be in the Amazon within minutes.

5. Cotopaxi Volcano, Cotopaxi

Source: Simon Matzinger
Source: Simon Matzinger

Things to visit:

Hiking at Cotopaxi is the main attraction, you can also summit the peak but you need a special gear and training for that. There is horseback riding and mountain bike paths.

6. Quilotoa lake, Cotopaxi

quilatoa-lake

Things to visit:

The Quilotoa loop is one of the hardest hikes we have done because of its elevation gain and it gets really hot really quick. It is nice to walk down to the lake or just to hike around it and snap some photos. The turquoise water will take your breath away! Oh, you can also get a donkey ride both ways if you do not feel like walking.

7. Nariz del Diablo Train Ride

Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com
Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com

Things to visit:

Take one of the scariest train rides of your life. Take the train along Nariz del Diablo, that climbs more than 500 meters in less than 12 km with steep ascents and descents, with breathtaking views of the valley just inches away. Get your tickets online for the coolest train experience ever.

8. Canoa, Manabi

playa

Things to visit:

Canoa has a long white sand beach for tourists to enjoy. It is surrounded with vegetation and big waves, which make it a big destination for surfers around the world. It is our favorite beach spot in all of Ecuador!

9. Mindo, Pichincha

mindo-ecuador

Things to visit:

Mindo is my favorite place because you can interact with hummingbirds. Mindo offers a butterfly pavilion, where you can be surrounded with butterflies, while learning more about the beautiful creatures. Mindo has many outdoors activities as waterfalls, hiking and extreme outdoors sports.

10. Otavalo, Imbabura

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Things to visit:

Otavalo Market (Mercado de Otavalo ) is a great place to buy souvenirs, clothing and handcrafts. The Cascadas de Peguche are located right on the edge of town. The calm Laguna de San Pablo is also located right outside of Otavalo, but on the other side of the city from Las Cascadas de Peguche.

11. Cajas National Park, Azuay

Things to visit:

Enjoy the beauty of the 28,000 hectares, with more than 200 lakes and a variety of trails. If you are lucky you might spot some wild llamas.

12. Mojana Lake/ Cuicocha, Imbabura

cuicocha-lake-otavalo

Things to visit:

You can drive straight to the rim of the crater for an amazing overlook suitable to people of all ages and abilities. For those looking for more, there is also a five hour hike around the rim of the volcanic crater.

13. Tena

Tena, Ecuador
Source: Flickr/barefoot-expeditions

Things to visit:

Go kayaking or rafting along some of the best and most beautiful rapids Ecuador has to offer. Take a guided tour into the depths of the Amazon rainforest to experience a natural paradise, second to none.

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20 thoughts on “Top 13 Places in Ecuador You Can Not Miss

  1. Wow I spent 10 weeks in Ecuador & have only been to 4 of these places! Never thought I’d say this but looks like I’ll have to go back :-)

  2. I have never been to Ecuador but really want to go. I have always wanted to do Galapagos, but also love the look of Banos and the waterfalls, and horseback riding in Cotopaxi. When can I go?!

  3. Nice list and great pictures. Perfect to minimize the reading to 2-3 sentences :) Thanks for the inspiration. Will keep up with your adventures on Instagram as well.

  4. Galapagos island is something that I will love since you have already shown that I would get many friends there. i love animals and wildlife . Since i am a photography enthusiast as well, this is the perfect place to travel and photograph.

  5. A great list, however how you identify just one part of the Galapagos over another is like splitting hairs.

    One favourite little gem I think you missed is Salinas de Guaranda.

    Not to be confused with the seaside town, this little beauty in the mountains is famous for its cheese!!

  6. Wow, those are lots of things to do . I am keen on that train ride and the whole kayaking/ rafting experience. A lovely post with lots of tips. Hope to make it here some day.

  7. All the places listed by you are unique and exotic. They have an aura of their own. But for me on the top of the list would be the intriguing and beautiful Galpagos islands.

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