Nine days in Ecuador allows you to touch four to six provinces, including options to explore the Galápagos. Start from Quito, discover the Amazon, and see Galápagos wildlife, or cover more ground and see Inca ruins, waterfalls, and colonial cities in Ingapirca, Baños, and Cuenca. Alternatively, get active on a slower-paced trip and kayak crater lakes, hike around volcanoes, and spend the day at a traditional hacienda. Speed things up and add a night in the Andean village of Guamote and explore the Palmira dunes and Cajas National Park.

Itinerary #1: Highlights of Ecuador & the Galápagos: Quito, Baños, Archidona & San Cristóbal

In nine days, you'll cover the highlights of the Ecuadorian mainland and the abundant nature and wildlife in the Galápagos. This highlights of Ecuador and the Galápagos trip involves a cooking class in Quito, a day trip to the devilish Pailón del Diablo waterfall from Baños, a jungle trek in Archidona, and a snorkeling excursion to Kicker Rock from Isla San Cristóbal.

Kicker Rock
Enjoy an outing snorkeling around the Galápagos' Kicker Rock
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Ride the TelefériQo Cable Car & Tour La Floresta Quito
Day 2 Colonial Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo, Cooking Class in Quito Quito
Day 3 Transfer to Baños via Quilotoa Lagoon Baños
Day 4 Day Trip to Pailón del Diablo Waterfall Baños
Day 5 Baños Hot Springs & Swing at the End of the World, Transfer to Archidona Archidona
Day 6 Jungle Trek & Indigenous Community Encounter Archidona
Day 7 Fly to Isla San Cristóbal & the Galápagos Isla San Cristóbal 
Day 8 Snorkeling at Kicker Rock, Dinner by the Sea Isla San Cristóbal 
Day 9 Day Trip to Punta Pitt, Depart the Galápagos  

Begin in Ecuador's capital city and head straight for the TelefériQo cable car on the Pichincha volcano for views of Quito. On a colonial city tour, you'll see the Plaza Grande, La Compañía, and La Basílica churches, and visit the Mitad del Mundo ("Middle of the World") to see the location of the equator. Transfer to Baños via the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon, where you'll take a day trip to the Pailón del Diablo ("Devil's Cauldron") waterfall. Soak in the hot springs in Baños, then have a go on the Swing at the End of the World for views of the Tungurahua volcano. Venture to Archidona, known as the gateway to the Amazon.

Commence a three-hour jungle trek to the Golondrinas Waterfall. Learn about the traditions of the Kichwa community on your return journey. Fly to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the Galápagos Islands and head straight for the Fausto Llerena Interpretation Center to learn about local wildlife. Walk to Las Tijeretas Hill and keep your eyes peeled for passing whales at various viewpoints. You can also visit La Lobería to spot wild iguanas and sea lions. On your last full day, you'll embark on a day trip to Kicker Rock, where you'll enjoy a snorkeling adventure with the local marine life before visiting Punta Pitt by boat. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Wild Ecuador: Quito, the Amazon & Galápagos Islands

Another classic itinerary covering the mainland and the Galápagos Islands, you'll swap out Baños and Archidona for the small city of Tena with extra time in the Galápagos. Paddle a traditional dug-out canoe and overnight in an ecolodge in Yacuma Natural Reserve, part of the Amazon rainforest, and enjoy four days of island hopping and snorkeling adventures in the Galápagos Islands.

Relax on the beaches of the Galápagos Islands
Relax on the beaches of the Galápagos Islands
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, City Tour & Cooking Class Quito
Day 2 Transfer to the Yacuma Natural Reserve via Papallacta Tena
Day 3 Enjoy a Wildlife Hike & Indigenous Community Tour Tena
Day 4 Bird-Watching & Return to Quito Quito
Day 5 Fly to the Galápagos & See Giant Tortoises Isla Santa Cruz
Day 6 Visit Tortuga Bay & Interpretation Center Isla Santa Cruz
Day 7 Sail to Isla Isabela & Hike at Las Tintoreras  Isla Isabela
Day 8 Trek Around Sierra Negra Volcano & Wetlands  Isla Isabela
Day 9 Return to Isla Santa Cruz, Visit Twin Craters & Dragon Hill, Depart  

Commence this itinerary with a guided tour in Quito. Walk down La Ronda, check out Independence Square and the Presidential Palace, then take an authentic Ecuadorian cooking class. Journey to Yacuma Ecolodge, stopping for a relaxing soak in the Papallacta hot springs on the way. In the Yacuma Natural Reserve, go bird-watching in the Hidden Lagoon, and visit the home of a member of the Kichwa Chontayacu community to sample the traditional chicha drink and learn about local customs. Fly to the Galápagos Islands via Quito. Cross the Itabaca Canal to Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz.

On Day 5, head to a remote farm to spot giant Galápagos tortoises. Hike to Tortuga Bay Beach to swim in the ocean and look for marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies. Then spend an afternoon at the Interpretation Center for more tortoise interaction. Spot manta rays, dolphins, and whales as you sail to Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela. Explore Las Tintoreras and go snorkeling with sea lions, penguins, and marine turtles. Trek to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcanic crater, then cycle around lagoons surrounded by mangroves before visiting Los Gemelos ("The Twins") and Dragon Hill on your way back to the mainland. Learn more

Plan your trip to Ecuador
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Ecuador Cities, Mountains & Jungle

Taking out the Galápagos Islands, you'll have more time to focus on the mainland with this nine-day highlights tour that comprises the best of Ecuador's cities, mountains, and jungles. You'll trek into the Amazon rainforest, go on an expedition to Chimborazo volcano, tour the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, and explore the cities of Cuenca and Guayaquil.

Chimborazo volcano from Riobamba
Enjoy views of Chimborazo volcano from Riobamba
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class Experience Quito
Day 2 Tour Quito & Mitad del Mundo  Quito
Day 3 Transfer to the Yacuma Natural Reserve  Tena
Day 4 Enjoy a Wildlife Hike & Indigenous Community Tour Tena
Day 5 See the Landscapes Around Baños Baños
Day 6 Visit Chimborazo Volcano, Travel to Riobamba Riobamba
Day 7 Explore the Inca Ruins of Ingapirca Cuenca
Day 8 Take a City Tour of Cuenca Cuenca
Day 9 Discover Guayaquil, Depart  

Tour the Presidential Palace, El Sagrario Church, and the Monastery of San Francisco in Quito, then prepare traditional Ecuadorian dishes at a local cooking class. Visit the equatorial monument, Mitad del Mundo, then transfer to an ecolodge in the Yacuma Natural Reserve for a canoe ride along the Río Napo. Join a guided hike into the forest reserve to spot native wildlife, visit the Kichwa Chontayacu community, enjoy local crops such as pineapple, coffee, and bananas, and purchase handmade crafts. Then continue to the town of Puyo on Day 5 for dramatic views of the Pastaza Canyon landscape.

Hike to Pailón del Diablo waterfall, then make your way to Baños. See Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador's highest active volcano, then spend the night in Riobamba. Travel to Guano, then stop at Balbanera Church on the shore of Colta Lake on the way to Ingapirca to explore the largest Inca remains in Ecuador. Journey to the colonial city of Cuenca for a tour of Calderón Park, the cathedral, and the Mirador de Turi viewpoint. Head to the coastal city of Guayaquil. Discover sloths, parrots, and monkeys at the Parque Histórico, visit the Cementerio General, and stroll along Puerto Santa Ana before departing. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Outdoor Adventure & Culture From Quito to Guayaquil

A classic active-forward itinerary that showcases some of Ecuador's most beautiful landscapes and fascinating traditions through its culture, cuisine, and colorful cities. Begin in the capital of Quito, visit the Otavalo Market and Cuicocha Lagoon, spend a day in Cotopaxi National Park, hike around the Chimborazo volcano, and discover the El Castillo cocoa plantation.

Colorful houses in Guayaquil
Colorful houses in Guayaquil
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Hot Springs of Papallacta Quito
Day 2 Tour Quito & Mitad del Mundo Quito
Day 3 Visit Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Lagoon Otavalo
Day 4 Enjoy a Day at Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo
Day 5 Explore Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi
Day 6 See Quilotoa Lagoon, Transfer to Riobamba Riobamba
Day 7 Hike Around Chimborazo Volcano, Transfer to Guayaquil Guayaquil
Day 8 Go On a City Tour of Guayaquil Guayaquil
Day 9 Visit Isla de Los Pájaros & Cocoa Plantation, Depart  

Arriving in Quito, you'll have two nights to join a guided tour of the city, soak in the thermal hot springs of Papallacta, and visit the Mitad del Mundo equatorial monument. Spend a morning shopping at Otavalo Market on Day 3, then visit the Cuicocha lagoon at the base of Cotacachi Volcano. Dedicate a whole day to exploring the 17th-century working farm, Hacienda Zuleta, where you can take cooking, embroidery, or horseback riding lessons. Spend Day 5 in Cotopaxi National Park, where you can admire the views of one of the world's highest active volcanoes, trek to José Rivas Refuge, and embark on a horseback ride for a fun adventure.

Drive along the Avenue of Volcanoes to the Quilotoa crater lake. Hike to the bottom of the lagoon for a kayaking tour into the middle of the lake. Continue to Riobamba, where you'll overnight. Enjoy a hiking excursion around Chimborazo volcano, then travel to Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil, and join a tour the next day to explore the city. See the Parque Histórico, and wander down the cobblestone streets of Puerto Santa Ana and the Malecón 2000 boardwalk along the Guayas River. Check out Puerto el Morro, join a boat tour to Isla de los Pájaros, and conclude your trip with a visit to the El Castillo cocoa plantation. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Explore Mainland Ecuador: Quito to Guayaquil

Spend nine days exploring mainland Ecuador on an exciting adventure from Quito to Guayaquil. Cook authentic dishes in Quito, go horseback riding in Cotopaxi National Park, stop at Quilotoa Lagoon on your way to Baños, see dunes and ruins en route to Cuenca, and conclude with a visit to Cajas National Park.

Quilotoa Lagoon is a highlight of the trip
Quilotoa Lagoon is a highlight of the trip
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Cooking Class Experience Quito
Day 2 Tour Quito & Mitad del Mundo  Quito
Day 3 Go Horseback Riding in Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi
Day 4 Transfer to Baños via Quilotoa Lagoon Baños
Day 5 Day Trip to Pailón del Diablo Waterfall Baños
Day 6 See Chimborazo Volcano & Travel to Guamote Guamote
Day 7 Explore Dunes & Ruins on the Way to Cuenca Cuenca
Day 8 See Cajas National Park & Transfer to Guayaquil Guayaquil
Day 9 Tour Guayaquil, Depart  

Head to Independence Square to see the Presidential Palace and El Sagrario Church before spending an evening cooking authentic Ecuadorian cuisine in Quito. Stop at Limpiopungo Lagoon on the way to Cotopaxi National Park, where you'll embark on a three-hour horseback ride through the beautiful terrain. Check out another stunning lagoon, Quilotoa Lagoon, en route to Baños. Follow the Río Pastaza along the Avenue of Waterfalls to Río Verde village to see the El Pailón del Diablo ("Devil's Cauldron") waterfall. Soak in the pools of Baños or be more adventurous with a rafting or ziplining excursion in the afternoon.

Enjoy views of Chimborazo volcano as you travel to Guamote. Pass through Palmira and the pre-Columbian ruins of Baños del Inca on your journey to Gualaceo, known as the "Garden of Ecuador." Tour the Parque Calderón, Catedral Nueva, the Catedral Vieja, and the Río Tomebamba waterfront in Cuenca. See some of the 200 high-altitude lagoons in Cajas National Park, then visit a local hacienda to discover the art of chocolate making and enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian lunch. Spend the night in Guayaquil before catching your departing flight. Learn more

More Great 9-Day Ecuador Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Ecuador? Check out these other nine-day Ecuador itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of 9 Days in Ecuador - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 9 Days in Ecuador - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas