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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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.
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.
Spend a week in Ecuador exploring the country's diversity, from volcanoes to the rainforest. Each trip starts in Quito, with tours of the UNESCO-designated historic city and a visit to the equator site. From here, choose to stay on the mainland and explore the highlands, cloud forest, and national parks, or fly to the Galapagos for a quick highlights tour of the biodiverse archipelago.
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.
Two weeks in Ecuador gives plenty of time to enjoy all three of the country's main ecosystems—Amazon, Highlands, and Galapagos—or focus on one to fully immerse yourself in the area. Use Quito as a base for day trips to local volcanoes and national parks while still exploring the capital's history, or opt to spend your time looking for wildlife on the remote Galapagos Islands. Alternately, maximize your trip by adding on a week in Peru to see Lima, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Read on for more unique itineraries.