Small but perfectly formed, Ecuador actually is at the centre of the world.
Named after the equatorial line it straddles, Ecuador has an impressive roster of habitats, landscapes and experiences packed into its borders. Dramatically situated high in the Andes, the capital Quito is a city of well-preserved colonial architecture and grand plazas. Around it stretches Ecuador’s high sierra, characterised by volcanic peaks and indigenous rural communities. To the west, on the country’s Pacific coast, palm-fringed beaches tempt visitors down from the highlands with golden sands and tropical flavours. Head east and you’ll be plunged into the voluptuous Amazon Rainforest, where a myriad of creatures wait to enthral and delight.
Top three things to do in Ecuador
There are many wonderful experiences to be had in this small but perfectly formed country. For further inspiration take a look at the trip ideas put together by our trusted local experts at the foot of this page, but in the meantime here are our top three things to do in Ecuador.
An adventurer's dream
Kayak the white-water rapids of the Amazon Rainforest; hike the Cotopaxi Volcano (one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world at 5897m), or cross the equator on horseback. Ecuador offers adventure enthusiasts a head-scratching array of experiences. Thrill seekers should head for Banos de Agua Santa for mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, 4x4 adventures and bungee jumping. Once spent, the town’s thermal baths will soak away any aches and pains.
With its breadth of plant and animal species, Ecuador‘s biodiversity is the stuff of legends. Mindo’s cloud forests harbour hummingbirds and butterflies, orchids and bromeliads, and its moisture-laden air ensures that ferns and mosses thrive. The Amazon is no less exuberant, here armadillo, sloth and tapir amble among ancient trees, while colourful macaws dart through the canopy… not to mention the incredible Galapagos Islands 1000km off the coast.
Colonial charm and indigenous culture
The captivating colonial centre of Quito was one of the very first World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO back in 1978. Hemmed in by Andean peaks at an elevation of 2850m, you’ll need to take things easy as you walk the cobbled streets of the old town. As you meander you’ll discover stately plazas, well-preserved mansions and a splendid baroque cathedral. Ecuador’s indigenous culture is strong here too, where women head to the markets wearing bowler hats and colourful Andean dress.
Tailor-made holiday ideas for Ecuador
All holiday ideas on TravelLocal are curated by us - we make sure our ideas showcase the best of each country. Take a look and be inspired!