The most bio-diverse country in the world, Ecuador is located on the Northwestern edge of South America and has a beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline. Lying on the equator, this small country offers multitude of historical attractions, cultural attractions besides the natural scenic sites that have become popular tourist attractions. Though compact in size, Ecuador has plenty of options for the avid travelers and can pack a lot of fun and experience in a short vacation. Go on and read about the most popular tourist attractions mentioned below and draw an itinerary that best suits your interests and time.
Top 10 Things to Do in Ecuador
Amazon Jungle is a paradise for the nature lovers and is renowned to be the most bio-diverse places on the planet. It is home to some exotic wildlife and also the indigenous communities and tribes that continue to live traditionally in these rainforests. Ecuador is possibly the most economical place in whole of South America to visit the preserved Amazon Jungle. Amazon Jungle is a must visit and a popular tourist attraction in Ecuador.
It would be most apt to title Banos as the adventure capital of Ecuador. It is located on the foot of an active volcano, Tungurahua and offers the adventure seekers a host of activities ranging from climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, waterfall tours to hot spring baths and bridge swings. There is never a dull moment for the adventure travelers to this popular tourist attraction. The sight of the Tungurahua Volcano erupting is a visual delight and one can distinctly see the red lava on the top.
The second tallest volcano of Ecuador and one of the world’s tallest active ones, Cotopaxi Volcano is a popular tourist attraction. One can do some serious mountain climbing to climb 5,897 meter Cotopaxi, if you are up for some adventure. Or else, go Downhill Mountain biking. Mountain biking is an adventure activity fit for people of all age and one can plan an easy day drip to Cotopaxi from Quito. One has to drive up to the parking lot at an elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level and hire mountain bikes for an adventure filled ride back down to 3,300 meters.
Cuenca’s Historic City Center
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cuenca has labored to preserve its historical attractions and monuments. As the third largest city of Ecuador, Cuenca boasts of a striking city center. The historical heritage of Cuenca features dozens of churches, and an impressive cathedral. Cuenca a popular tourist attraction, has a varied weather and one might have to brave the sunny afternoons after having enjoyed a rather cold morning. Cuy (Guinea pig) on your mind, Cuenca is the best place to sample it in all of Ecuador.
Dive into the history with this historical attraction, the Galapagos Islands. Located about a thousand kilometers west of the mainland Ecuador, Galapagos Islands is the place where Charles Darwin developed his theories of evolution. Looking for a deal and have time to spare, try booking a last minute cruise to the Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil and save hundreds of dollars. Explore the science and geology behind the formation of this volcanic island chain, indulge in swimming with the sea lions and discover more about the blue footed boobies; there is something interesting for everyone visiting this not to be missed popular tourist attraction.
Montanita is a tiny Pacific pueblo and a highly favored surfing spot in Ecuador and a popular tourist attraction. Stunning beaches with strong surf breaks, an active nightlife, vivacious bars and nightclubs and numerous restaurants, make Montanita a cultural attraction for the travelers to Ecuador. The landscape of this small town by the ocean has witnessed major changes and a slew of construction activity has happened to tap into the ever increasing popularity of this town. This destination is favored by the travelers and the Ecuadorians alike for its very attractive nightlife and striking beaches.
Shop at Otavalo Market
Shopaholic travelers will simply love to shop at the Otavalo Market. Located north of Quito, Otavalo market is about a 3-hour bus ride from Quito. It has the distinction of being the largest marketplace in whole of South America. Plan a visit to this popular tourist attraction towards the end of your holiday and pick some genuine souvenirs for your friends and family. Don’t forget to visit this cultural attraction on a weekend when the marketplace swells to its peak with sellers from the neighboring regions.
The Quilotoa Loop
This one is for the adventure seekers! Visit the Quilotoa Loop for stunning views of the Laguna Quilotoa and the magnificent Crater Lake that offers striking views of the Volcanoes in the vicinity on clear days. Since it is a high-altitude adventure, make sure to get used to the atmosphere on the heights for a few days before you embark upon this trip. Do add this trek to your itinerary as a popular tourist attraction to be visited.
The Equator in Quito
Visiting Ecuador has to be incomplete without a visit to the Equator, titled in Ecuador as the Mitad Del Mundo (Middle of the World). Interestingly, this most popular tourist attraction has an anomaly in marking the real Equator, so make sure to visit the real one. A larger monument had been built about 100 meters away from the real one. Access the middle of the world by an economical bus ride or a relatively expensive taxi ride.
Vilcabamba in the Valley of Longevity
Famed for long living locals, Vilcabamba is a small village located in the southern region of Ecuador in a valley about 45 minutes south of Loja. Many natives of this legendary Valley of longevity go on to live beyond the 100-year mark. Vilcabamba is truly a historical attraction and a cultural attraction too. Visit this scenic and serene village for its simplicity and beauty.