Top 5 things to do in Ecuador

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Top 5 things to do in Ecuador

When it comes to natural and cultural attractions, Ecuador is one of the top countries in South America!

First of all, we have a country nestled in the Andes cordillera in the northern part of South America that received its name from the equator line. Hence, visitors can enjoy snow-capped volcanoes as part of the scenery together with warm weather, year round.

Furthermore, we are talking about a country with relative small size, often compared to the size of Colorado in the U.S. This feature of the country, allows you to visit 4 very diverse regions each with different geography in just a couple of weeks.

So, regardless of the amount of days you decide to visit Ecuador,  it is a good idea to consider all the options available.

Plan ahead in order to enjoy the best that this country has to offer.


instagramIf you are in South America I would love to see your pictures.

Therefore I have made this list to help you plan, it has the top 5 things to do in Ecuador.

1. Quito

Your trip to this South American country should include a visit to its cosmopolitan, vibrant capital city, Quito. Main reason to visit my city? To visit the picturesque colonial center of the Old Town, declared first world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979. There are also, other reasons to visit Quito.


2. Otavalo

Two hours North from Quito you find one of South America´s biggest open-air markets, Otavalo. The market that dates back to pre-Inca times is the one of the highlights of the visit. You will meet one of the 14 indigenous groups of this diverse country and their beautiful handmade crafts that delight visitors from all over the world. Find out how to get there, places to stay and activities in Otavalo.


3. Quilotoa

One of the top adventures in Ecuador is the spellbinding crater lake of Laguna Quilotoa. This is one of the top hikes in the country, surrounded with magnificent views and traditional Andean villages.  Find out how to get there, what to bring and many other useful information for your visit to Quilotoa.


4. Amazon Rainforest

Definitely one of the most exciting destinations in the country! El Oriente as we call it in Ecuador has a plethora of activities to offer. During your visit you can take a canoe to spot some of the diversity of the Amazonas river. Furthermore, take time to climb an observation tower to enjoy the rainforest canopy. Another great activity is a trek to spot rainforest flora and fauna of all sizes and, if you’re lucky, spot a caiman resting on the side of the river.  Want more inspiration? Find tips and reasons to visit the Amazon Rainforest.


5. The Galápagos Islands

The islands that inspired Charles Darwin in 1535 offer a unique experience and if you can, you should add them to the list of places to visit in Ecuador. This archipelago of lava formations offers a wide range of activities and attractions to visit. Furthermore, there are different ways to enjoy the Galapagos Islands depending on time and budget. You can book a cruise or choose a land option and enjoy them on a budget.


In addition, you can find out how to get there, where to stay, reasons to book a cruise and how to enjoy the islands on low-budget.


In conclusion, Ecuador in a small area of 283.000 sq. kn 6 approximately 15 million inhabitants has a plethora of activities to choose from. I here give you what I consider are the top 5 things to do in the country.

Are there any other places I should add? Tell me about it.



If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands.

It is a great source of information and tips, maps and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. I personally like the option of having a hard copy version where I can take notes and have at hand.

Don´t just dream it, make it happen. Plan your South American trip with a local!

Take a look at this list of travel resources to plan your trip and travel in South America.

Day dreaming about your trip to South America? Order here your Free Ebook, I share with you some useful tips & resources for a memorable trip!

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You can also send an email to get help planning your trip: info(at) visitecuadorandsouthamerica(dot)com











  • Otavalo is really delicious and its market is so typical 🙂

  • So cool! I wanna go there so badly it looks so fun and obviously so much things to see! The Amazon rainforest looks beyond!!

    • Yes, and the best thing is that you can visit most of these places in a couple of weeks due to the short distances in the country!

    • Yes Sharon, There are many things to see. You will love it!

  • Sofia

    South America is so on my bucket list! I’m exploring Europe at the moment but I’ll definitely bookmark this article for future travels 🙂

    • Thank you Sofia! I hope to keep providing you with good inspiring material and get you to travel to South America next 🙂

  • I would love to visit the Galapagos and dive there. I always seem to forget about it and seems really expensive. Are you aware of DIY options to save money?

    • Diving in Galapagos is a very nice activity! Here are some tips to travel low-budget to the Galapagos

  • Some great reasons why to visit. I think I’d pick exploring the Amazon Rainforest if I could only choose one. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are welcome! I am glad to have given you some inspiration for your trip to Ecuador and to South America Megan

    • You are welcome! I think that is a great choice 🙂

  • The Galápagos Islands yes! Planning a trip in a few years after retirement! Ecuador will be amazing can’t wait to see the rain forest and hoping to find a zip line!

  • I’ve always wanted to go to South America. Amazon Rain forest and Galapagos would be my choice.

  • I’d love to visit Ecuador! didn’t realise the name came from the Equator Line or that the Amazon passes through its borders. A Galapagos cruise has been on my wish list for ages and now I realise there is more to Ecuador than the Galapagos.

  • Would love to go to South America. Exploring the Amazon rainforest is definitely on the bucket list!

  • Thanks for breaking it down for me. The only part I really ever hear about Ecuador is Quito (only because it is the spot to head over to Galapagos). I hope to explore parts of South America in 2017 and Ecuador is mid way up our list.

  • Great post and can’t wait to hit ecuador one day 🙂 love the photos.

    • Thank you! I am hoping to see your photos of Ecuador in the future 🙂

  • Though we never met during my 3-month trip in Ecuador 2 years ago, I’ve done all of this and had a very great time! Ecuador is one of the places where I truly felt what it’s like to be alive. It’s been a while since I visited this blog but I am really happy you are still doing great in everything that you do!

    • HI Trisha! I am so happy to read that you have enjoyed and experienced the best of Ecuador 🙂 Also that it made you feel alive! I am glad to have you back and I hope you are doing well as well! Maybe some day we will meet elsewhere <3