If you've only got five days in Ecuador, pick from one of the country's three main ecological zones to maximize your time. Base yourself in Quito and explore the surrounding region, or head directly to Yasuni National Park for four days of wildlife viewing and rainforest adventures. If you prefer remote wilderness, bypass the city and fly directly to the Galapagos to see giant tortoises, snorkel, and visit an uninhabited island.
Ecuador Travel Insights
Experience the best of Ecuador's mainland and Peru's highlights on this two-week trip. Start in Quito to tour the UNESCO-designated city center, then head to the Amazon for cultural experiences with the Kichwa indigenous community, wildlife viewing, and a peaceful rainforest atmosphere. Return to Quito by way of Cotopaxi National Park, home to the eponymous volcano. Then, catch a flight to Lima—the urban hub of Peru. End the trip with a visit to Cusco's pre-Inca ruins and a tour of the Sacred Valley and imperial Machu Picchu residence.
Spend two weeks exploring mountainous landscapes in a country that's equally famous for its volcanoes and rainforest. From Quito's colonial city center to the high-elevation hacienda refuge on Cotopaxi, you'll trek through historic sites and stunning nature. Spot rare Andean condors, haggle for goods at a mountain market, summit volcanoes, and more.
The landscapes of Ecuador's mainland are as varied as the people who live there, and you'll get to experience both nature and culture on this 14-day itinerary. Meet the locals who call these regions home and learn about their history, way of life and relationship to Ecuador's landscapes. From the Otavaleños and Afro-Ecuadorians in the north and the Quichua and Shuar in the rainforest to the Kichwa in the central Andes, you'll dive deep into everyday life and explore Ecuador's nature.
Experience the best of Ecuador while getting to know its three main ecological regions: the Amazon rainforest, volcano highlands, and Galapagos Islands on this 14-day itinerary. Start the trip in Quito to see the UNESCO designated colonial city center, then head to the rainforest for three days at an ecolodge. Hike near volcanic lagoons and browse mountain markets, then catch a flight to Santa Cruz for three days of exploring uninhabited islands and spotting endemic wildlife.
Ecuador is famous for many ecological and cultural highlights, and you'll get to visit two—Quito and the Galapagos Islands—on this 10-day itinerary. Start in Quito to tour the colonial city center, hike to volcanic lagoons, and explore the biodiversity of the Mindo Cloud Forest. Continue the trip with a flight to the Galapagos, where you'll spend four days relaxing on sunny beaches, visiting uninhabited islands, and looking for rare and endemic animals.
See rare wildlife, climb into the clouds, traverse volcanoes, and more on this 10-day Ecuador itinerary. You'll get to experience cultural highlights, like Quito's UNESCO-designated city center and the Otavalo market, but the true gem of this trip is nature. From the lush cloud forests of Mindo to the ecologically diverse Amazon, there's no shortage of wildlife sightings: howler monkeys, pink river dolphins, and iridescent blue butterflies all call this region home.
Ecuador is one of the world's hotspots for ecological diversity, so it makes sense to spend this 10-day trip exploring nature as much as possible. Start in Quito to see the UNESCO heritage city center, then head to the rainforest for three days at an ecolodge where you'll spot macaws, pink river dolphins, and howler monkeys. Round out your trip with a flight to the Galapagos, where giant tortoises, white-sand beaches, and uninhabited islands await.
From Quito's colonial center to the volcanoes of Cotopaxi National Park, explore the best of Ecuador's mainland on this packed 10-day itinerary. Hike along the rim of volcanic lagoons, barter for Ecuadorian handicrafts at markets, and visit small mountain villages. You'll see cascading waterfalls, lush orchid farms, high altitude plateaus, and much more as you traverse the countryside.
Ecuador is famous for its snow-capped volcanoes and UNESCO historic sites, and you'll get to visit both on this 7-day itinerary. In Quito, visit colonial churches, stand on both hemispheres at the Middle of the World, and hike the nearby Ruco Pichincha Volcano. You'll also hike the Pasochoa Volcano, admire the scenery in Cotopaxi, and browse for gifts at mountain markets.
If you want to visit Ecuador but can't decide between city or rainforest life, this itinerary has the best of both worlds. Start in Quito to see colonial churches and visit the equatorial line, then head to the Amazon rainforest. Spend three days in Yasuni National Park relaxing at an ecolodge, panning for gold in a stream, and learning to make chocolate the authentic way.
Use Ecuador's capital as your base for this adventure-packed, weeklong trip. Explore Quito's colonial past and visit the equator line, head to the lush Mindo Cloud Forest to see its incredible diversity of wildlife, and browse local markets for handmade art and handicrafts. No trip to Ecuador would be complete without a visit to one of the country's volcanos, and you'll get to hike two: Quilotoa and Cotopaxi.
If you want to experience the best that Ecuador has to offer but don't have time to wander far, this 5-day trip is full of adventures. Explore Quito—the site of the equatorial line, historic downtown, and ethnographic museums—then head out of the city to stretch your legs on the hiking trails. You'll hike on two nearby volcanoes, look for rare wildlife, and breathe in the fresh Andes mountain air.
This eight-day itinerary is perfect for travelers hoping to see Ecuador's most notable national parks and explore the country's most populous cities. You'll begin your trip with a free day in the capital of Quito before heading off to hike the Quilotoa and Cotopaxi Volcanoes and explore Ecuador's gateway to the Amazon. Then, make a stop at Mount Chimborazo, take a scenic train ride through the Andes, and take a walking tour of the historic port city of Guayaquil.
Come rain or shine (and there will be plenty of both this month in Ecuador) the country appeals to everyone whichever part of it you are in through December. Despite some dreary weather, the Highlands explode with some of the year's best festivities, while it's dry in the jungle and positively radiant on the coast and in the Galapagos.
Cooler weather is coming to the Highlands, where November is a so-so month with spells of sun and, increasingly, rain. By Oriente standards, it's another dry month in the jungle, while on the coast and in the Galapagos the weather and, as a result, the visitor numbers, start to pick up again towards the end of November.
Visitors are decreasing in the Highlands as temperatures go down and rainfall goes up. In the Oriente, the comparatively drier weather remains, while on the coast, temperatures are pushing back up towards the levels of the high season. The Galapagos, however, remains very much in low season: one of the best months to get a deal on the usually expensive cruises.
It is still prime time for visiting Ecuador's Highlands, and a great opportunity to explore the country's jungles by foot because of the drier weather in those regions. Low season continues on the coast while there is cooler weather on the Galapagos but also great diving to be had. Add on some great festivals in the Highlands and on the coast and you have a very interesting month for visiting.
The weather stays almost bone-dry in the Highlands whilst temperatures are at their highest averages of the year: time to get out and enjoy Ecuador's mountainous outdoors. Likewise in the Oriente the heavy rains are gone for a-while, so walking into the jungle to see the wildlife that lives in and on the trees becomes more of an option. Meanwhile it's bad weather and low season on the coast, although cool murky weather doesn't stop the Galapagos from getting high visitor numbers this month.
During this 14-day trip, you will not only explore the remarkably beautiful landscapes and the friendly indigenous people of the Andean highlands, but there will also be plenty of beach-time on the Pacific coast.
It is exceptional weather for outdoor activities like trekking in the Highlands this month. Nor is it bad for trekking in the jungle, where jungle paths are beginning to get drier. The weather is cloudier, cooler and drier on the coast and out on the Galapagos Islands, although in all regions travelers are visiting in greater numbers as Ecuador segues into peak season.
High season finally reaches the Ecuadorian Highlands in June, along with cooler, drier, sunnier weather that's perfect for hiking. On the now overcast coast, it's whale-watching season, while cooler, clear weather on the Galapagos is preferred by divers, those who want to hike and boat tours. Over in the jungle, it's still very wet: a good month for seeing birds, monkeys, sloths and sometimes pink river dolphins.
It's all change in Ecuador this month, as the coast becomes grayer and colder and the mountains brighter. It could be time to switch from sun-bathing to trekking. Meanwhile, high water levels in the Amazon mean more great white-water rafting and possibilities to explore wildlife-rich Amazon tributaries by canoe.
It's the end of high season on the coast, but low season in the Highlands and jungle. Despite continued heavy rain in these latter two regions, the sun still does come out and crowds are low. The Highlands have wet weather activities from Unesco-listed colonial churches to superb handicrafts markets, and the jungle's rivers are good for exploring now that they have swollen. April sees a dramatic increase in interesting festivals across Ecuador, too.
Easter-related events enliven Ecuador this month, especially welcome in the Highlands to take away from the wet, albeit warm, weather. The coast and the Galapagos remain the most appealing destinations in March due to their favorable weather (hot and sunny, for the most part). Meanwhile, in the jungle at Parque Nacional Yasuni, the rainfall increases rapidly: good for watching animals but bad for road travel, which starts to get very muddy.
Carnaval season brings its share of partiers in to places across Ecuador this month. The coast remains the prime destination because of the lovely sunny weather, although the Galapagos warm season continues without the Christmas/New Year rush: a perfect time to visit the islands. Damp Highland weather encourages indoor activities or perhaps a session in the thermal baths, while for water-based activities like white-water rafting the Oriente is brilliant right now.
It might be cool and wet when you arrive in Quito this month, but in Ecuador's varied climate several zones are still ideal for visiting. On the desert coastal strip, high season is beginning, with plenty of warmth and sun. Warm weather and gentler water makes for a good Galapagos voyage, while warm dry weather in the Amazon means great opportunities to venture into the depths of the jungle on foot.
This short but extensive itinerary brings you into the very heart of the Ecuadorian capital and its surroundings. You will tour Quito's beautifully preserved historic center to see fine examples of colonial architecture, learn about history and culture at the Ethnographic Museum, and enjoy the best panoramic view of the city. The adventure continues north of Quito in Otavalo and Cotacachi, renowned for their local crafts. Finally, take a day-trip to Cotopaxi National Park—its namesake volcano is one of Ecuador's most famous natural landmarks.
See the highlights of Quito and the Galapagos Islands on this short itinerary. Start out in the city, touring the capital and its surrounding region to experience local history and culture. You'll see colonial architecture, visit an indigenous market, and try traditional cuisine. From here, catch a short flight to the Galapagos Islands. These famed islands provided Charles Darwin with the research and inspiration for his Theory of Evolution, and boast endemic species such as the blue-footed booby, marine iguanas, and giant tortoises.
Go deep into one of the most biodiverse spots on earth, the Yasuní National Park. Located in the heart of the Amazon, you'll explore pristine forests, rivers and lagoons while keeping an eye out for different species of monkeys and birds, as well as endemic insects and plants. You'll also have the opportunity get to do a cultural exchange with the native Kichua people to learn about their history and culture.
This weeklong itinerary is perfect for travelers who are interested in seeing the astoundingly beautiful landscapes of Ecuador. Travel along the Andean highlands to see ancient volcanoes, sacred waterfalls, and lagoons before ending your trip in the lush coastal lowlands. At the end of each adventurous day, you will be able to relax at beautifully restored haciendas that will allow you to step back in time.
This short itinerary is perfect for travelers who want a mix of cosmopolitan fun in Quito and adventure in the nearby cloud forests. Start with a walking tour of Quito's most striking historical sites and neighborhoods before taking a short drive to the cloud forest of Mindo where you can visit a butterfly farm, see how chocolate is made at a cacao hacienda. Then, explore the charming town of Otavalo and see the Peguche waterfall where ancient rituals still take place.
Visit the cities and volcanoes of beautiful Ecuador on this 12-day adventure. Start in the nation's capital, exploring its well-preserved colonial center and other cultural highlights. Then, head out on a busy tour through small towns like Cotacachi, enjoying several indigenous markets and villages along the way. You will also check off wondrous volcanoes like Pasachoa and Cotopaxi, as well as the unique paramo ecosystem of Chimborazo. The final leg of the trip takes you to Ecuador's lovely third city, Cuenca, before going full circle and ending in Quito again.
On this 10-day journey through Ecuador, you will experience culture and extraordinary wildlife. It is the perfect trip for the curious traveler who wants to see the magic of the Amazonian jungle, learn about indigenous communities, and experience history in the UNESCO-listed city of Quito. Zipline between trees through the rainforest, drink Wayusa with the Kichwa locals and shop for local crafts at the Otavalo Market.
There is something for everybody in Quito, and a hotel for every taste and sensibility. Top neighborhoods include the historic center and hip La Floresta. English is largely spoken at these hotels, with an attuned staff that understands the unique needs and expectations of foreign tourists. Street noise can be a challenge in some places. If you’re a light sleeper, request an interior room and ear plugs are always a good idea. WiFi and breakfasts are pretty much standard.
In the central highlands south of Quito, Cotopaxi province boasts some of Ecuador’s most popular attractions. As well as the eponymous volcano, there are charming market towns, shimmering lakes, evocative festivals, nature reserves and much more to explore.
By South American standards, Ecuador is a fairly small country. Most major destinations — with the exception of the Galápagos Islands — are within a day's drive of each other. Follow these suggestions for how to structure your visit and make the most of your time in this geographically diverse nation.
Ecuador has plenty of great hotels. But staying in alternative accommodations, from hip hostels in colonial cities to romantic haciendas in the highlands and dreamy cloud forest lodges, often adds something special to the trip. Read on for unique suggestions for where to stay in Ecuador.
Have just five days in Ecuador? No problem: it's one of the smallest countries in South America, so it's possible to move around to more than one place in less than a week. Read on for our top suggestions for a quick visit to this gorgeous and geographically diverse destination.
Even if you have just 24 hours to spend, your time in the Ecuadorian capital will be special. On this thrilling one-day itinerary, you'll take a trip on one of the most magical cable cars on the planet, wander through some of South America's best museums, and indulge in Ecuador's famous coffee and chocolate.
Ecuador's colonial towns and cities are undeniably alluring, but the countryside is worth planning a whole trip around. Breathtakingly diverse, it encompasses 11 national parks, beaches, cloud forest, and active volcanoes. Discover a variety of landscapes with this handy guide to the best of the Ecuadorian countryside.
From glacial climbing on snow-capped Chimborazo to an easy hike up Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador offers a tantalizing range of peaks to conquer. There are mountains and volcanoes to suit all levels for climbers and trekkers alike, and Ecuador's lakes, foothills, and extinct craters offer up endless variety.
Sip coca tea, chat with vendors in colorful markets, and stay in a historic hacienda: from souvenirs to countryside cuisine, here are some ideas for experiencing authentic Ecuador.
Trek in the Ecuadorian Andes and discover a magical world of stunning landscapes, hidden rural villages, and local communities on the famous Avenue of the Volcanoes. Follow narrow mountain trails deep into the heart of Andean culture as you explore the Quilotoa and Chimborazo volcanoes. Swim in the icy waters of the Quilotoa Crater Lake and relax in the spring waters of Baños.
This challenging, magical tour of the Ecuadorian mainland was tailor-made for you. Explore the largest biodiversity on earth along the Equator, bike down the slopes of the Andes, climb through rainforest to hidden waterfalls, trek to the shores of Cuicocha Crater Lake, and soak in Papallacta’s volcanic waters.
Mainland Ecuador is famous for its volcanic peaks, highland markets, and jungle wildlife, but the Pacific coast has its own range of attractions that make it worthy of a visit. Explore the regenerated waterfront of the nation's biggest city, surf and sunbathe at a beach resort, or visit the largest petrified forest in South America: whatever you choose to do, Ecuador's vibrant coastline won't disappoint.
Easily one of the most beautiful cities in Ecuador, compact Cuenca is criss-crossed by rivers and surrounded by Andean slopes. Crammed with gorgeous colonial cathedrals, a relatively cosmopolitan variety of eateries, and lovely boutique accommodations for all budgets, the city makes an appealing place to linger for a few days.
Even as tourism boom in Ecuador, there are still plenty of enticing destinations that remain under the radar, offering travelers the chance to explore architectural gems, surf off gorgeous beaches, visit wildlife-rich reserves and much more. Here are a few suggestions for escaping the crowds.
Ecuador is a country that packs enormous diversity into a small area so it's ideal to visit for a short trip. You can spend a long weekend exploring Quito and the mountains, stay for a week venturing into the Amazon jungle or cruising the Galapagos, or spend two weeks climbing volcanoes, exploring cloud forest and enjoying adventure sports before relaxing on the Pacific beaches. Whatever your preference, use this guide to help you make the most of your visit.
This action-packed 7-day tour of Ecuador is perfect for travelers searching for adventure, culture and spectacular scenery all within a few hours' drive from the capital Quito. The trip begins with a thrilling bike ride down an active volcano and continues with hikes in the cloud forest, a climb up a waterfall and visits to an indigenous community. There will be plenty of opportunities to unwind too, with stops at hot springs and a quiet, mountainside hacienda.