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.
Make the Most of Your Time in Ecuador
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Local people are fond of saying that Ecuador is four countries in one: coast, highlands, jungle, and the Galapagos. Whether you want to relax on the beach, climb volcanoes, hike around Andean lakes, go zip-lining in the cloud forest, canoe up an Amazon tributary or cruise the Galapagos, there is a perfect itinerary for everyone.
There are not many countries this small that can boast four such starkly contrasting topographical regions. In an area roughly the size of Britain, Ecuador combines coast, rugged mountains, jungle, and the Galapagos. Sun-bathe on Pacific-facing beaches, climb volcanoes or hike around Andean lakes, go zip-lining in cloud forest or canoe up an Amazon tributary, or wildlife-watch in the Galapagos: these 7-day itineraries are full of astonishing variety.
With 14 days in Ecuador, the hard part is narrowing down where to go. Many visitors come for the Galápagos, but the mainland swells with natural beauty, colonial architecture in walkable towns and diverse indigenous cultures still practicing traditional arts and lifestyles. The gorgeous landscapes range from beaches to snow-covered equatorial volcanoes and finally humid jungles feeding into the Amazon.
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.