Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in South America. From tropical rainforests to penguins, this country has it all. Below are just some of the top reasons to put Ecuador on your bucket list.
Spot unique wildlife in the Galapagos Islands
It was during a visit to the Galapagos Islands that Darwin came up with his theory of evolution after studying the unique wildlife here. Giant tortoises, marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins are just some of the island’s endemic species. Due to there being no large natural predators on the island, much of the wildlife here is very tolerant of humans – there is a great sense of peace here. The volcanic landscape is also very impressive. Cruise tours are a popular way to see the Galapagos Islands.
Explore the streets of Quito
Quito is the second highest capital city in the world after La Paz. Although its high altitude can take some getting used to, the city’s attractions make it worthwhile. You’ll find lots of historic architecture here including Spanish colonial churches and palaces dating back to the 1500s. There are also many great restaurants and boutique stores nestled along the city’s old cobblestone streets. Families with kids can explore the stunning parks and fascinating museums. To help you and your family adjust to the altitude, consider looking into hotels with oxygenated rooms.
Spend a few nights in the Amazon rainforest
The Amazon rainforest stretches across South America into Ecuador. In this rainforest, you can spot all kinds of wildlife from monkeys to jaguars. There are a few ways to spend a night in the Amazon rainforest. For those that love rugged travel, there are hiking and camping tours into the rainforest. Meanwhile, for those that would prefer a more luxurious stay, there are spa hotels such as Mashpi Lodge that offer rooms with stunning rainforest views while also serving as a research station.
Climb to the top of Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world – and you can climb to the summit and look in the crater! The mountain is almost 6000 metres tall and is therefore not worth attempting if you are a novice mountain climber. That said, it is not too technically challenging and thousands of people ascend it each year. You will need the help of a professional guide when climbing it and some time will need to be spent acclimatising. There are guides online that can help you prepare for the climb.
Party and surf in Montanita
Ecuador has some incredible beach destinations. Montanita is one of the most popular beach towns – it is considered the country’s party and surf capital and it has a very bohemian vibe. This could be the perfect place to finish off an Ecuadorian vacation after weeks of outdoor adventuring. If partying isn’t your thing and you’d prefer a more laid back beach, Súa beach could be an alternative destination – this isn’t too far from Quito and is more popular among families.