Straddling the equator, the small Andean nation of Ecuador brims with everything from spectacular nature such as dominant active volcanoes and lush rainforest to tropical beaches to historic towns and sites. It’s little wonder this South American gem will transform any first-timer’s trip into a cocktail of adventure and inspiration!
Discover the beautiful colonial capital of Quito
Dramatically positioned between two mountain ranges at an incredible altitude of 2,850 metres, the beautiful capital of Ecuador is a gem to explore. Quito boasts a historic old town featuring a slew of historic colonial buildings, stately churches and atmospheric cobblestoned alleyways, making it a visual delight for travellers interested in architecture and history.
On the modern side, there is also the New City, where you can wind back and relax in quaint cafes, have a shopping spree and spend some time in beautiful galleries.
Explore the stunning Cotopaxi National Park
The stunning Cotopaxi National Park is as vast and packed with excitement as it can get; think picturesque scenery and activities such as hiking, horseback riding along the wild trails of the national park and even setting up a picnic in the foothills of the Cotopaxi volcano.
As the second-highest volcano in Ecuador and one of the highest in the world, Cotopaxi easily injects travellers with a dose of excitement and adrenaline faster than you can say “I lava you”! Dominating the stunning Cotopaxi National Park, the volcano offers great climbing opportunities to its iconic snow-capped peak that beautifully contrasts the blue sky.
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Get adventurous in Baños
Known as the gateway to the Amazon, Baños is a real adventure playground. Surrounded by lush forest, the town is located near the active Tungurahua volcano and is blessed with an abundance of thermal waters. And there’s more — the landscapes here are beautiful, featuring everything from deep river gorges to expansive plateaus.
For outdoor activity lovers, the day here will seem packed with nonstop fun as there are plenty opportunities for hiking, canyoning, rafting, zip-lining, and even an exhilarating ride in a tarabita or cable car over the gorges.
Shop at the colourful Otavalo Market
Known as one of the most popular and vibrant markets in South America, Otavalo Market is a real fiesta for the senses, where high-spirited vendors display an immense array of handmade traditional crafts. The market is considered a place of tradition and history, so you will get to experience the cultural diversity upfront and get a good glimpse of the local culture as well.
Cruise the Galápagos Islands
When it comes to rich wildlife and unique landscapes, the Galápagos need to introduction. There is no exaggeration when it comes to how Mother Nature rules this land that once provided inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
Located roughly 1,000 kilometres from the mainland, this natural paradise will present you with a cluster of 13 volcanic islands and several other smaller islands and islets, each standing out through distinctive scenery and wildlife. Expect to be mesmerised by creatures such as prehistoric marine iguanas, giant tortoises, colourful boobies and playful sea lions basking in the crystal-clear waters.