Ecuador is a small country, but it is amazingly diverse with the Amazon, Andes Mountains, and the beautiful beaches of the coast. South America is a large continent, but few other locations have as many options for tourists as Ecuador does. Many tourists arrive in Ecuador and are overwhelmed with the beauty of the country, the imposing volcanoes, the colonial architecture, and the various cultures. There are many tours to take advantage of and tourists will need plenty of free time to see it all. A few popular options include humpback whale watching, rafting, swimming, trekking, mountain climbing, and sitting back and relaxing in natural hot springs. Every city in Ecuador has something to offer, but some of the more popular destinations include Quito, Guayaquil, Otovalo, Cotopaxi National Park, Baños, Montañita, and the Galapagos Islands.
Located south of the equator, Quito is the capital of Ecuador and has a very high altitude of 9,350 feet. It is known as the city of eternal spring and the weather is quite comfortable year round. This is the country’s second largest city, the largest being Guayaquil. Quito is known as the political and cultural capital while Guayaquil is the financial capital as it is the largest port. Quito has many great places to visit and the colonial buildings serve as a beautiful backdrop.
Many tourists visit Ecuador hoping to climb the volcanoes. Located between the Cordillera is the “avenue of volcanoes” including Chimborazo and Cotopaxi. These volcanoes are located close to Quito and offer amazing mountain climbing opportunities that provide a once in a lifetime experience.
While visiting the Andean highlands many tourists visit Baños. This city offers tourists many activities from relaxing in hot spring to horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking. This city has many hotels and restaurants and truly caters to tourists.
Tourists can’t leave Ecuador without souvenirs to remember their vacation by. Otavalo is a great place to visit to buy blankets, sweaters, belts, artwork, jewelry, and other craftwork. It’s only 100 kilometers from Quito, so it can easily be a day trip for those stationed in Quito.
The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean 650 miles from the Ecuador coast. There are 12 volcanic islands, but only Isabela and San Cristobal are inhabited. The population is estimated at 20,000 and there are quite a few volcanoes. Some tourists cruise to the Galapagos while others fly.
The flora and fauna on the islands are amazing and there are species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. The Galapagos tortoises are amazing as well as many of the birds and lizards. The Galapagos Islands are most well known for Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, which he developed when he visited the Galapagos.