Ecuador is one of the countries that is mentioned in geographical textbooks all around the world for an apparent reason that equator passes through the land of Ecuador. There is definitely a lot more to this country than the equator. Brimming with scenic landscapes, dense rain forests, pristine beaches, rich history, and heritage, artistic architecture, and delicious cuisine Ecuador offers something for each kind of traveler.
If you are still not convinced, read on to know about the diverse places you can visit in Ecuador and choose what suits you the best.
6 Places To Visit In Ecuador
This distinctive archipelago of islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as home to many endemic species of wildlife. This island also is one of the active volcanos in the world, and a large part of the islands is declared as a national park accessible only with tour guides. However, don’t let that deter you from viewing Galápagos penguin, flightless cormorant, and waved albatross, and the species of Darwin’s famous finches.
A must-visit for the shopaholics and those who love to collect souvenirs of their travel. This pleasant valley is a favorite amongst the locals and tourists alike who throng to buy colorful locally-made rugs and blankets, sweaters, bags, and other wool products. You can also purchase some unique tagua nut jewelry, leather goods, original costumes. This market also provides many instagrammable opportunities of locals dressed in traditional outfits against the snow-capped mountains.
The beautiful city of Cuenca is another UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ecuador. You will find strong influences of the colonial era in the buildings, cobbled streets, and old-style churches. The Old Cathedral of Cuenca (Iglesia del Sagrario) that is built from Inca stones is a must-visit attraction for architecture vultures. The massive New Cathedral of Cuenca earns a well-deserved place on the wishlist due to its three beautiful blue-tiled domes. For a history buff, there are plenty of museums here to gratify your longing for knowledge.
This small little city loaded with natural beauty is located at the bottom of an active volcano, Tungurahua. It is famous for its natural mineral-rich hot springs, waterfalls. The adventurous soul can indulge in various hiking routes, mountain biking opportunities, white water rafting, and kayaking that this rainforest provides. Take a small trip from Baños to Casa de Arbol to swing at the end of the world and click plenty of amazing postcard-pictures. Don’t forget to try Ecuador’s famous candy ‘melcocha.’
Situated tall on the Andes, the capital city of Quito is the highest official capital of the world. This historic city center like Cuenca has colonial influence and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as well. Quito provides many sightseeing options including Plaza Grande, to explore Carondelet Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Hotel Plaza Grande, and the Metropolitan Cathedral. The San Fransico Church dates back to 1500s and has rich baroque architecture. Church of La Compañía de Jesús finds a place in the list of UNESCO’s top 100 most famous buildings in the world. Basilica del Voto Nacional, once the largest cathedral of the new world is a classic example of neo-gothic architecture. Mitad del Mundo which translates as ‘the middle of the world’ has the Middle of the World Monument, which ironically is away from the actual place of the equator. Visit this place to see a fun experiment with water in the northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, and the equator.
Quilotoa Loop is on top of every backpacker’s bucket-list. It is a self-guided, multi-day trek to the picturesque crater lake, Quilotoa. You can trek through Andean hills, rivers, valleys, vast countryside, a volcano, a crater lake, small Quechua communities, spectacular landscapes, and cozy hostels or take a bus ride to the lake. An unskippable attraction to spend some time in quiet introspection, which will lead to a definite relief from mundane life.
Guayaquil, the most populated city in Ecuador, provides many avenues of entertainment and boasts a gorgeous waterfront. The famous Malecon 2000 is a 2.5 km long boardwalk along the Guayas River. Take a boat tour along the river in the evening to marvel at the splendidly lit-up city. Other attractions include Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporaneo that ingeniously highlights the Ecuadorian culture and history and Guayaquil Metropolitan Cathedral.