Amazing Places to Visit on Your Ecuador Vacation
Located on the equator in northwest South America, Ecuador is known for its great biodiversity, high altitude capital city, Andean history, and exciting array of activities for families, couples, and backpackers. Here are amazing things to do and see while backpacking Ecuador or simply visiting Ecuador on vacation!
Hike To The Quilotoa Lagoon
If you're looking for amazing places to visit in Ecuador, visit Quilotoa! This jaw-dropping volcano is perfect for taking stunning photos of its glowing green lagoon and embarking on a challenging hike into (and out of) the crater. Quilotoa stands over 12,500 feet high so prepare to take it slow and steady for an enjoyable experience.I used a reputable tour company called Ecuatraveling for my Quilotoa day trip and enjoyed the full-day experience as a group trip. I'm smiling in the photo but this was one of the hardest hikes I've ever had to do, thanks to the soft volcanic sand and my not-so-great cardio skills (hello, high altitude). I was the last to make it back up!
Explore The Cloud Forest In Mindo
Less than two hours from Quito, visit the cloud forest 7,200 feet above sea level in Mindo, Ecuador. During your visit, you can explore a vast community of hummingbirds, and learn about bird life and the subtropical rainforest ecosystem. In an effort to support sustainable tourism, I took a day trip and visited the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve to hike one of their 20 hiking trails and take advantage of bird photography opportunities. Serious bird watchers should definitely look into this one.
Cruise Around The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands is famous for inspiring Charles Darwin's evolution theory. Home to over 200 known species, nature and wildlife enthusiasts flock to these volcanic islands to cross the world-famous excursion off their bucket list. With 18 major islands dotted across just over 3,000 square miles, small ship cruises are the only way to truly encounter Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. Visitors love that the range of flora and fauna found in the Galapagos differs from island to island. As documented in The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin found that animals adapted genetically to a given island's unique ecosystem. Thanks to its remote location and National Park designation, the wildlife of the Galapagos is both plentiful and peaceful. Penguins, sea lions, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas are mostly unafraid of humans.
Find A Galapagos Alternative At Isla De La Plata
The Galapagos Islands is one of the most popular places to visit in Ecuador, but also pricey for many budgets. If you want to go to the Galapagos and save money, don't book your trip ahead of time. Instead, hop on a last-minute cruise while you are there and take advantage of deep discounts.However, if last-minute Galapagos pricing is still beyond your budget and you're looking for a Galapagos alternative in Ecuador, Sharee from Winging the world suggests a visit to Isla de la Plata. Also known as the ‘Poor Man's Galapagos', Isla de la Plata is the perfect day trip for travelers whose budget doesn't quite match the cost of a cruise around Ecuador's famous islands.
Hike Around Cuicocha Lake For Breathtaking Views
As mentioned, Otavalo is a very popular destination in Ecuador, known for its huge, colorful Saturday market: where artisans and local vendors come from all over the valley to sell their own products. For outdoor adventurers, however, the highlight of a trip to Otavalo can very much be a hike around Cuicocha Lake, instead! It's a spectacular 15km (about 9 miles) walk with a relatively low elevation gain (3100m - 3450m).