A small country full of diverse and thrilling experiences, Ecuador packs a punch to all who visit. This week we delve into the culture and history of this rich nation, also exploring the cities, monuments and natural wonders that make it a must-see. Read on to find out why you simply can’t miss Ecuador…
No matter how short your sojourn is through the stunning Ecuador, you can’t miss the incredible capital, Quito. Home to breathtaking Spanish architecture; spend your time exploring historic churches and old town. Pay a visit to sites such as La Compania de Jesus and the Basilica del Voto Nacional before refuelling at one of the vibrant Quito markets. Indulge in incredible cuisine before travelling high into the Andes on the TeleferiQo cable car, enjoying panoramic views of the spectacular city.
Cotopaxi is Ecuador’s second tallest active volcano and the fifth highest in the world! This mesmerising sight can be seen from anywhere in Quito and stands watch high above the city. Located just two hours outside of the city, make your way to Cotopaxi National Park to enjoy great hikes and the best views of this breathtaking volcano.
If you’re planning a visit to Ecuador, why not visit the equator? And by equator, we mean both equators! The original equator, located in 1736 by Charles-Marie de La Condamie, is approximately 200m away from the true equator. Make the most of your visit and see both, as well as the museums that share their stories.
Colourful, bustling and alive– strolling through the Otavalo Market is an absolute must-do! Wander past stalls upon stalls stocked with traditional clothing, alpaca ponchos and wool rugs. Also shop for unique leather goods and decorations, and sample mouth-watering foods. For an authentic experience, there’s nothing quite like rising at dawn with the locals on market day…
Home to an astounding array of biodiversity, the Ecuadorian Amazon offers an adventure like no other. Venture into Yasuni National Park and get lost amongst the green canopy, or explore winding waterways in seek of the wildlife that call this jungle home. With much landscape untouched, the Amazon is home to over 200 mammal species as well as 600 species of bird; this truly is a wildlife lover’s paradise!
Situated just outside Cuenca, these fascinating ruins pre-date the Incas. Established by the native Canari people (whose descendants continue to live in the region today), the ruins were eventually taken over by the Inca people. Visit the Temple of the Sun and also see examples of Canari and Inca ceramics, traditional dress and tools. Showcasing the two different styles of building, Ingapirca offers historical insight and the chance to take a journey back in time.
If you’re an adventure lover, this is one for you! Possibly the most beloved hiking route in Ecuador, the Quilatoa Loop is nestled in the Andes. Trek through remote farming villages, through scenic valleys and also admire breathtaking scenery. The trek can last as many days as you like, but most people usually take 3 days. However many days it takes, it will all be worth it when you eventually reach Laguna Quilatoa. This awe-inspiring turquoise crater lake is truly a “you have to see it to believe it” experience!
Lounging sea lions, scurrying marine iguanas and slow-moving tortoises– there’s nothing quite like the Galapagos! The archipelago made famous by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the islands never cease to amaze, showcasing stunning flora and fauna. Spend your days exploring the sandy beaches, snorkelling in crystal clear waters and island hopping– it doesn’t get much better than this!
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