discover hidden myths, taste diverse food and sleep below a sky full of shooting stars and galaxies every night
No country in South America concentrates such diversity on a portion of land as small as Ecuador. Ecuador is a country in South America that doesn't get too much love, despite the fact it's home to some of the most beautiful places ever. There are two main reasons to go here; the Ecuadorian Andes and Galapagos Islands.

Both of these places boast a natural beauty that's really hard to rival - along with some genuinely stunning wildlife. Four worlds coexist in the small Andean country. With the Andes reigning the Ecuadorian heart, the universe of the Amazon Rainforest unfolds to the east, while the Pacific Ocean bathes all coasts and houses one of the most important treasures of the country in the Galapagos Islands.

Mainland Ecuador is just as splendid; you can explore intricate little streets with traditional South American architecture that makes for the most picturesque scenery.

Things to do in Ecuador

1. Quito

I grabbed a flight to Ecuador. I had no idea what to expect, but it surpassed all of my expectations! I explored Quito, Old town, and churches with a new friend I met on the plane! I went to Otavalo market by myself. I went to Quilotoa Lagoon with a tour group. I visited the middle of the world at 0' 0' Latitude and balance an egg on a nail. The list of experiences and memories is too long.

They use the US dollar which made me even more comfortable and able to negotiate prices at the markets. The people are so friendly! I went by myself but made some great friends. I always felt safe and glad I knew basic Spanish because English is not common there.

Couchsurfing works very well, and it's a good way to meet local people, and get a little inside the culture. The hostels are in less touristy areas. The other option is camping in Ecuador and it is possible, especially on the beach. If you do not find camping, the Ecuadorians are very hospitable, and you will not have problems when it comes to finding where to put the tent.

I stayed in an AirBnb in La Mariscal neighborhood that had a delicious restaurant below it with the best waitstaff! I tried traditional Ecuadorian food and sweets and it never failed.

Ecuadorian food include soup, second (almost always a portion of chicken or fish with rice and beans) and drinks. Morocho would be the Ecuadorian version of the mazamorra, a drink prepared from ground white corn, water, milk and sugar. The younger Ecuadorians do not even know what it is. Encebollado, the national dish of Ecuador they say is the ideal food for a hangover.

This fish stew is served with yucca, onion and chili, and seasoned with lemon. Bolón de verde is, as the name says, a huge ball made of green banana, which is mixed with pork rinds or meat.

2. Cotopaxi

The volcanoes! ❤️ I kayaked in a lake in a crater of an active volcano! I didn’t attempt Cotopaxi which is usually #1 on everyone’s list but the weather wasn't great that day and I'm not in mountain hiking shape so, I was fine with it. I took the Teleferico up to the Pichincha mountain overlooking with breathtaking views.

3. Galapagos Islands

If you know anything about Charles Darwin's studies about evolution, then chances are that you’ve heard of the Galapagos Islands. They are known for the wide variety of endemic species that live there and served as the origin of Darwin’s famous book, On the Origin of Species, which focused on the various types of finches he discovered in the Galapagos.

Other interesting animals found in these islands include the land iguanas, Galapagos tortoise, blue-footed booby, and Galapagos sea lions. Unfortunately, human interference has caused many of the native species of plants and animals to be overrun. The introduction of cattle, goats, cats, and dogs, etc. has negatively impacted the Galapagos.

Cats and dogs have been known to ruin bird, turtle, and tortoise nests as well. However, a protection policy was established in 1930, and things started to change by the 1950s. Nearly ninety-eight percent of the land in the area was declared a national park in 1959.

This is where you will learn some of the deepest histories of people and wildlife. Galapagos Islands hosts some of the hardest to find wildlife, including the marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, giant Galapagos tortoises, Galapagos sea lions, and Galapagos penguins. While here, you will have the chance of hiking the natural, seemingly abandoned Galapagos trails and ride yachts together with other international visitors.

Strangely, the Galapagos Islands are pretty well-known, yet very few people travel to Ecuador to see them. Plus, and this is a bonus, Ecuador uses US dollars as the currency. So, if you're traveling from the United States, then you can tick travel money off your list of things to worry about.

Ecuador is a paradise for seal lovers, full of species that are not found anywhere else on Earth. However, do not expect to find coral reefs here. Instead, the area has heavy currents and waters rich in nutrients that attract an important pelagic action. Most divers go directly to the Galapagos Islands.

The waters surrounding this group of deep-sea volcanic islands form a protected marine reserve where commercial fishing has practically not occurred in the last five decades. This fact, combined with the outcrops of deep waters of the area, creates one of the marine ecosystems with the greatest biodiversity in the world.

4. Machalilla National Park

Divers can take advantage of everything that this region has to offer in a liveaboard trip. These boats have the ability to travel to the northern diving sites, such as those around Darwin Island, Wolf Island and Punta Vicente Roca, which are far from the inhabited islands to be visited in a single day.

For those who wish to dive in Ecuador without the cost of traveling to the Galapagos, the Machalilla National Park is known as the poor mans destination of the Galapagos and presents some of the same endemic species found in the famous archipelago. The national park, which is the only coastal national park in Ecuador, incorporates cloud forest, dry forest, small islands and two larger islands, Salango and the small Isla de la Plata.

Large groups of giant stingrays, whales and dolphins are commonly seen here during the correct season as you travel in Ecuador. Unfortunately, the same level of protection has not been granted to the Machalilla National Park as seen in the Galapagos. Overfishing, pollution, poaching and deforestation are common problems in the region.

With as much to discover underwater as above, it is not surprising that most divers dream of exploring Ecuador underwater at least once in their lives.

5. Chimborazo

The summit of Chimborazo, in Ecuador, holds the interesting distinction of being the farthest point from the center of the Earth. As it happens, the Earth is not actually spherical. The centrifugal force of its spin gives it a significant bulge around the equator.

In other words, if you shrunk the Earth down to the size of a desktop globe and measured its circumference, you would find that if you stretched your measuring tape around the equator, it would be noticably larger than if you wrapped it from pole to pole. Chimborazo stands at only a single degree of latitude below the Equator, making its peak very slightly (about 2 km) further from the center of the Earth than Everest’s.

6. Ibarra

Ice cream from paila is a good dessert. This artisan ice cream is characterized by its preparation, in a copper pan, cooled with dry ice. Typical of the city of Ibarra, it is the best way to say goodbye to the country.

The best season to travel to the Ecuadorian Andes is in June. Very few countries need a visa to enter Ecuador. Normally, with a valid passport you can reach here. If you enjoy mountains and scenery, this is the place for you!
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author
kumamonjeng said...

Glad to learn that Ecaudor food contains rice too which is quite similar to Asian. I think I will enjoy the food there, plus the desserts.

Lyosha Varezhkina said...

Thanks for posting this guide! I am a bit curious about Ecuador, the country seams so mysterious!

Sondra Barker said...

Ecuador would be such a fun vacation! Thanks for the travel tips, it is such a beautiful country! -Sondra Barker @cuisineandtravel.com

Yeah Lifestyle said...

I've not been to Ecuador but can't wait to visit this wonderful country to discover their food and rich culture

Samantha said...

What a great piece! Loved learning about Ecuador! So interesting! Thanks so much for sharing!

redheadmomblog said...

I have never been to Ecuador before. I love learning about different places around the world.

Unknown said...

This was such a lovely read! So many Things to Do in Ecuador! Thanks for sharing with us!

Mandi Morrison said...

Thanks for putting Ecuador on my radar. It isn't really a place that I hear much about but it sounds like it has a lot to offer.

Alexandra Cook said...

I have never been to Ecuador but I always wanted to visit. Such a wonderful place.

Catherine said...

I've never been but sounds like an incredible place to see. I didn't realize that many people traveled to Ecuador!

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