South America is a place that is great diversity and it is fair to say, many countries get top ratings before others. Peru with Machu Picchu, Bolivia with its incredible terrain, and Patagonia shared with Chile and Argentina, is the perfect postcard. However, somewhere tucked away among all the countries on the west side of South America, is one many underestimate and even bypass.
Ecuador, at first glance, probably isn’t top 1 on the go-to list for travelers who roam South America. Sandwiched between ever-improving Colombia and ever-mysterious Peru, Ecuador shouldn’t be ignored as it has plenty to offer for your trip.
Let’s take a look at some of the amazing things to do in little old Ecuador:
The Galapagos Islands thought by many as South America’s most prominent location, the best thing to do here is visit the wildlife. That means, get into the water, swim with seals and dive with an array of sharks, turtles and rays. This place is one of the world’s most unique places. The wildlife are free roaming despite its popularity.
Surf in Montanita
Montanita is a holiday town in the south of Ecuador, which boasts some great breaks. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, hit the waves into the shore. Montanita is a lively place at night too, with many stalls with drinks and food make up the sandy paths.
Lake Quilotoa is simply incredible. Once an active volcano, now all you will find is the peace of solitude here. Go kayaking across its waters or go for a dip. The water is lake-cold and if you shout up just a little you’ll hear the echo’s of your own voice as it ripples across the volcano’s rugged inner walls.
Swing At The End Of The World
Casa del Arbol, is the swing at the end of the world located in Banos, Ecuador. We could write an article about Banos alone (watch this space) but one thing you want to tick off the bucket list here is this attraction. A swing that leaps out over a death-defying drop of mountain is only tied to a tree and costs a mere USD0.50.
Quito is a must
Quito sits at nearly 3,000 meters above sea level, on the foothills of Ecuador. The highest capital city in the world has a rich colonial setting with churches and structures dating back from the 16th century, with a base of an ancient Incan city. Wander through the colorful, authentic streets; visit the old town and Quito’s array of museums, parks and lively nightlife districts. If you want to venture out, take a cable car and go try conquering Mount Pichincha, which gets very steep but has a summit of nearly 6,000 meters.
If you love the jungle, Ecuador’s amazon is mostly of a tropical terrain. Filled with exotic plants, wildlife and a typical tropical climate, there is plenty to see and do roaming these parts. You might go fishing for piranhas, canoeing down river or go wildlife spotting where you can expect to see monkeys, tarantulas and caimans. The Amazon is a true natural wonder in South America, and visiting part of it within Ecuador will live up to the stereotype you might see in the movies.
Located in the mountainous range of the Andes, Cotopaxi is one of South America’s most famous active volcanoes. With a cold head, covered in ice and meters of snow, Cotopaxi isn’t for fainthearted. If you enjoy trotting to a good summit, then there aren’t many better in the Andes to conquer. Nearly 6,000 meters high, Cotopaxi is one of the world’s highest volcanoes.
Is Ecuador on your bucket list? What’s your dream itinerary?