Ecuador often gets overshadowed by its neighbour Peru, but the country is just as fascinating – it has some unique natural sights and a rich history. Here are just five things you must do whilst in Ecuador.
Explore the unique wildlife of The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are Ecuador’s biggest tourist pull – these islands are renowned for their unique species of animals including Galapagos penguins, the marine iguana and the flightless cormorant. The islands are also home to some of the oldest giant tortoises in the world and contain a large population of sea lions.
There are lots of ways to explore the Galapagos Island. Taking a boat such as the Camila catamaran could be a way to tour the islands in style – you can find out more details about the Camila catamaran. Alternatively, you may wish to stay on the islands and do some hiking.
Visit the historic capital, Quito
Ecuador’s capital Quito is tucked away high in the Andes and is the second-highest city in the world. It’s colonial architecture is some of the most well preserved in South America – this includes a cathedral and several churches dating back to the 16th and 17th century. There are plenty of restaurants here for trying some of the country’s best food and a number of museums for learning about the city’s history.
There are lots of hotels and hostels to try in Quito. Those wanting to absorb the history should stay in Quito Old Town, whilst those looking for nightlife should stay in La Mariscal.
Trek your way to the ruins of Ingapirca
The ancient ruins of Ingapirca may not be as impressive as Machu Picchu, but they’re still a sight to behold. The ex-Inca stronghold is made up of several buildings – the most notable being the Temple of the Sun. It also contains a museum run by indigenous Canari and the grass around it is grazed by llamas.
Most people trek to Ingapirca via the Inca trail. You can take three-day tours from Cuenca via Expendiciones Apullacta.
Climb to the peak of Cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is an active volcano in the Andes and the second largest summit in Ecuador. It offers some of the most picturesque views in the country and is one of the best places to spot condors.
Climbing Cotopaxi is no easy task and is best done with a guide. Most people begin the climb at midnight – it can take five to ten hours to reach the top.
Spot dolphins in the Amazon river
The Amazon river also stretches into Ecuador as does much of the rainforest. Here you can spot all kinds of diverse wildlife including howler monkeys and caimans. One of the most unique creatures in this part of the Amazon is the pink river dolphin – by taking a boat trip from Dolphin Lodge, you may be able to spot one of these creatures.
You’re best off travelling to Panacocha via bus. You’ll find many tours that you can take throughout this region.