Top things for travellers to do in Ecuador
The country of Ecuador may be small but it has much to offer travellers to South America. So much so, that Ecuadorian Tourism Board has announced their intention to focus their new campaign on Australians. Called the ‘land of four worlds’ because of the diversity of its attractions ranging from the Andes, the Amazon, the beaches and Galapagos, here are some of the top places we recommend travellers visit in Ecuador.
Explore the Amazon in Ecuador
The Ecuadorian part of this rainforest offers some superior jungle experiences and unique wildlife such. Whilst Ecuador only has a small part of the immense Amazon rainforest that covers several countries, the protected national parks within this region possess a bounty of wildlife worth travelling for. Protected areas such as the Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno wildlife reserve offer a fantastic wildlife experience, especially for birdwatching. Travellers will often need to do a combination journey to arrive to their Amazon experience, often flying into a gateway airport (often to Coca) and transferring by vehicle and/or river boat to access their ecolodge or cruise and begin their Amazon adventure.
Travel through Ecuador’s unique Avenue
We’re not talking about a regular street here, due to its location within the Andes mountains, Ecuador is home to the distinct Avenue of the Volcanoes. You can travel through the magnificent volcanoes including the stunning Cotopaxi and mountainous valleys, even journey along a unique rail track as you ride aboard the Devil’s Nose Train. This train trip uses a series of ‘switchbacks’ to make its way up and down the mountain, putting complex engineering principles into practice.
Whilst it serves as financial capital with a modern district, Quito’s real beauty is in its historical centre adorned with baroque buildings, cobblestone streets and ornate churches. Step back in time in the small section of the city and wander through the ‘rondas’ and caminos past icons and historic treasures. Tourists are recommended to stay at a boutique hotel in this part of the city to experience the magic of colonial Quito such as the refurbished mansion Casa Gangotena or enjoy the premium bed and breakfast style of Casona de la Ronda.
Travel to Ecuador’s magnificent Galapagos Islands
There is truly nowhere else in the world where the wildlife is as abundant and unafraid of humans as the Galapagos Islands. (You really can get as close as all those pictures you’ve seen!) Travellers will need to fly to the islands from the mainland (either from Quito to Guayaquil) and explore the islands on a cruise or even sleep on land at a hotel that you will use as your base for day trips out to different sites.
Discover the colonial gems of Ecuador
With many centuries of history, you can travel through the different periods and observe their influence through different cities in Ecuador. Cities such as the beautifully preserved Cuenca (pictured) are world heritage listed because of their beautiful buildings and feel as though you’ve almost stepped back in time.
Have you travelled to Ecuador or interested in any of these sites? Let us know in the comments.
Want to know more about travelling in South America? Check out our special Go To Guide featuring a brief summary of 32 of the most popular destinations.