Are you looking for the best places to visit in Ecuador?
When it comes to making the most of a trip to South America, Ecuador is a must-see. If looking for the best places to see, you’re in the right place.
What really makes a trip to Ecuador so fun, though?
Best Places to Visit in Ecuador
If you only have a limited time frame, what are the best places to visit in Ecuador?
Why Visit Ecuador?
You might wonder why looking at the best places to visit in Ecuador might be worth your time. Just some of the reasons include:
- Ecuador has some exceptional locations to climb, making it excellent for hikers/climbers
- The tourist attractions are outstanding, but nowhere near as saturated as elsewhere
- The Safety in Ecuador
for peace of mind. The people are among some of the most welcoming and friendly in the world
As you may already have guessed, Ecuador is named for the equator that runs through the country. A highlight for anyone backpacking Ecuador or traveling here.
Not just that, though, Ecuador offers much more. Here you’ll find 1,000 miles of coastline with some good beaches to relax and surf.
How about hiking down through the Andes Mountains? Not to forget the tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin that can be visited.
Best Places to Visit in Ecuador
So, if you are looking for a reason to come to this special part of the world, let me help you to get suitably excited and inspired.
Where, then, are the best places to visit in Ecuador?
As the main place to start for a lot of people, Quito is a fine location to begin your trip. It’s easy to get to, easily has the best transport links in the country and one of the big cities near the equator.
If you want to enjoy your time in Ecuador, then a trip to the capital is an absolute must. Quito is home to some of the most historical places in Ecuador.
Here you’ll learn about the Ecuadorian culture and day to day life.
There is so much to list and suggest, but I definitely recommend a trip through the Old Town.
The architecture is stunning, and you can feel like you are stepping back in time – in a good way – so be sure to check it out! Here in Quito, there are some great places to stay for backpackers
Places to Stay in Quito:
- Hostel Revolution → Perfect Location for Quito
- Community Hostel → Most Communal Hostel in Ecuador
- Hostels in Ecuador → The Ulitmate List
Also, if feeling adventurous you can visit Cotopaxi National Park from here as a day trip.
These islands are not only one of the famous landmarks in Ecuador, but also a special place to check out.
I recommend that you try to get here first, or, as soon as you can
Be sure to use a tour guide, though, as the islands can be hard to traverse on your own.
So long as you are smart about where you travel and who you travel with, you should have no issues enjoying the isles at your own leisure.
The guys at Galapapalos Dreams are very helpful when it comes to navigating the islands.
There’s much to enjoy about this part of Ecuador, but the views are especially breathtaking.
Baños de Agua Santa
First off, take part in a spot of whitewater rafting. It’s a fine way to enjoy the day and should allow you to soak up some extra sun.
Be sure to use a guide, though, as the terrain here can make it tough to go it alone. In fact, I would extend that for most experiences in this part of Ecuador.
Local hostels such as this one closby offer expert help and advice. That way you can just sit and relax in the hammocks with spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.
In all seriousness, though, it’s so hard to navigate without experience I recommend you bring an expert along.
First off, make sure you climb Cerro Santa Ana: a stunning hillside that is amazingly detailed with rich architecture.
I suggest you try to stay in a central location whilst in Guayaquil. For example a place like Casa de Romero which is situated only a few blocks from the Malecon.
Be sure to take a look at the Barrio Las Penas, too; an old neighborhood that is known for its intellectual residents and its closeness to Ecuadorian poetry.
Know as the biggest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil is a fine place to spend some time, but I recommend you also take the time to look at the Henry Morgan ship: a pirate-ship that offers amazing tours of the local area.
This lovley andean town to part of southern Ecuador is great fun to visit and is one of the best places to come when you want to relax a bit more.
It was once a major retreat for Incan royalty, so make sure that you take the time to climb the Mandango Valley to see the amazing sights that you can receive if you just look around.
So when wondering what to do in Ecuador, Vilcabamba is definitely a place to come if you wish to see the amazing natural landscape from across the land.
- Best Duffel Bags for Travel (Leather Made)
- The Map of Latin America
- Best Drones for Travel
- Exploring Tayrona National Park
If you didn’t already know, Cuenca is one of the major cities in Ecuador. First off, be sure to head on over to the Iglesia Sagrario: a special place to visit and easily among the best places to visit in Ecuador.
Aside from amazing sights and sounds, you’ll get to enjoy a rich level of architecture not found elsewhere in the country.
Also, try and make time to check out Cajas National Park: a beautiful place to spend your time for all of the right reasons, especially if you enjoy stress-free hiking.
The Amazon RainForest
Next, I recommend that you take a bus trip through the Amazon Rainforest. If you’re running out of places to go in Ecuador and you’ve not been to the Amazon RainForest – keep reading.
There is a lot to do and you will find that life can feel quite serene here, so I’d recommend just soaking up the atmosphere.
Here you’re encouraged to mingle with fellow travelers – even if you are not part of a group – so find someone you can engage with, and enjoy exploring with them: who knows what you’ll find together?
When you want to easily experience the Amazon for a weekend or just a few days places like Pakay Tena make it doable without breaking the bank.
One of the famous places in Ecuador for surfers. Also if you love the beach, a trip here is essential – it’s probably one of the best parts of Ecuador for surfing.
More importantly, you can feel immediately at home if you wish to try and learn some Ecuadorian, as local schools offer great local language lessons to help you learn the local lingo.
That said, part of the fun here is being able to just relax and take in the slow pace of each day.
The best places to visit in Ecuador are the ones that make it super-simple for you to do the most exciting thing of all: relax!
Not to mention you can quite easily find transport from Montañita to Puerto Lopez to go and see the Whales.
Make a stop at the Riobamba Cathedral, and then visit the main street of the city via the León Borja Avenue.
Why? It’s the place you’ll find some of the best commerce and restaurant eateries to check out in the entire country.
A definite place to visit for those who like to mess around and take in new experiences. Part of what makes a trip here so fun, though, is Maldonado Park: an amazing place to hang-out and relax.
From the local market – one of the best in the country, and the largest indigenous market in South America – to the amazing Parque Condor, you can enjoy doing a lot of nature-based activities.
For example, you could visit the Peguche Waterfalls, or you could go to the Laguna de Cuicocha.
There is a lot to see here: the challenge is making a choice that you can feel comfortable with. The Taxopamba Waterfalls, too, make an excellent place to go and see.
Just be sure to bring some waterproof clothing: the rainy seasons here come with their fair share of downpours!
Ecuador Travel Tips
In every guide, I write on layer culture my aim is to give some practical travel tips that you can make the use of right away.
Books about Ecuador
Interested in learning more about Ecuador and it’s culture? Here are some books that may interest you:
- Ecuador Road Trip: An Insider’s Guide to an Amazing Adventure – A good overview of Ecuador and the culture. Everyhting form greetings to how to use the public bathrooms and how the visa system work.
- Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador’s Modern… – This book a well written bood that allows Marc Becker to document the long history of Indigenous political activism in Ecuador.
- The Birds of Ecuador: Field Guide – The perfect reference book that allows you to learn more almost 1600 species of birds that can be found in mainland Ecuador.
- The Ecuador Reader: History Culture Politics – A superb collection of articles about Ecuador and it’s history. Everyhting from the natives, Incas and the Spanish to agriculture, politics and much more.
- Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a… – An entertaining travelogue from Ecuador that gets you invested in the people the author meets and the places they go. You’ll feel as though they’ve become your friends.
There you have some great reads if you wish to learn more about Ecuadorian culture before you head out on your adventure.
Travel Insurance for Ecuador
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Best Places to Visit in Ecuador
So, with all of these ideas in mind, you might find it a bit easier to pick out the best places to visit in Ecuador.
This amazing location makes it pretty simple for you to enjoy a higher standard of living and a more spectacular trip than many other parts of South America.
This, then, might be the perfect place for you to come to visit if you are looking for something properly inspirational!
📌 Like this article? Pin it…
💬 Leave a nice comment or let’s start a conversation below!
“Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”