Andes, rainforests, biodiversity and breathtaking beaches

OurEcuador itinerary

Ecuador itinerary
Quito

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Otovalo

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Cuyabeno

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Mindo

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Cotopaxi

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Canoa

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Galapagos

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Mompiche

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Montanita

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Los Frailes

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Duration: at least 3 weeks
Best time to visit: June – October
Budget: 45 $ per day

Lauri has long since lost her heart to the small Andean nation. After working in Ecuador for months and going on a longer trip around Ecuador, she really wanted to return, which we did together. Ecuador is a country full of fabulous landscapes: from the massive Andes to the Amazon and the beautiful beaches on the Pacific, there really is a lot to discover here!

At the end of our Ecuador round trip, we flew to the Galapagos Islands. Here we were able to observe giant tortoises, wild sea lions, exotic lizards, sharks and penguins.

2024 Update: Ecuador is facing a serious crisis. Crime and violence have increased dramatically. Carefree travel as in 2022 is currently not possible. The best way to find out more is to join Facebook groups for Ecuador travelers. Here you will always find the latest news!

  • Culture 90% 90%
  • Food 85% 85%
  • Parties 110% 110%
  • Activities 100% 100%

With its charming ruggedness, open-minded people and countless things to do, Quito is one of our favorite cities in the world.

We visited Lauri’s friends there, had a good time and enjoyed every minute in this fascinating city. In addition to breathtaking landscapes, the Amazon rainforest and beautiful beaches, Ecuador’s culture and strong Quichua heritage make for a varied travel experience.

Our Ecuador round trip

What is there to explore in Ecuador?

The Andes in Ecuador

The Avenue of the Volcanoes is one of the most beautiful and inspiring places in the world. This chain of huge volcanoes forms the Ecuadorian Andes and has been a source of inspiration for locals and tourists for centuries. Travelers. The views from these mountains are simply breathtaking and the rich Andean culture is fascinating. The Ecuadorian Andes are home to many Quechua, an ethnic group indigenous to Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. The Quechua are deeply connected to nature and have developed amazing agricultural skills that enable them to live and thrive in the challenging high altitudes of the Andes.

However, the Quechua also belong to the poorest section of the population in Ecuador and have always fought against discrimination. Conscious tourism can be a lucrative source of income for the Quechua. If you are traveling in the Andes region, you should be aware of this. There are great, fair tourism projects. The purchase of handmade souvenirs also supports the Quechua on site.

The hike to Cotopaxi – the second highest mountain in Ecuador and one of the highest active volcanoes in the world – is still one of Lauri’s greatest travel highlights. Dani, on the other hand, particularly liked the small Andean villages like Otavalo.

Explore the Ecuadorian Andes

 

Ecuador Travel 1
Quito from above
Ecuador rainforest
Amazon in Ecuador: Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve

Ecuador’s rainforest

Ecuador may be small, but it more than makes up for it with the diversity and beauty of its Amazon rainforest. Many believe that Ecuador is home to some of the most important and scenic areas of the Amazon.

The Yasuní National Park and the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve are two of the most important areas of the Amazon rainforest. The park is known for its incredible biodiversity and is considered by many to be the most diverse area on earth. With its wealth of plants and animals, Yasuní National Park is a must for every nature lover.

The Yasuní Biosphere Reserve is also one of the most important nature reserves in the world. It is home to countless unique plant and animal species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else on earth. The reserve is also important for the local indigenous communities, whose livelihoods traditionally depend on the Amazon.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in one of the most important places in the world, then you’ve come to the right place! You should spend at least a week exploring the many areas of the park and the Kichwa communities. Make sure you pack a good mosquito repellent to protect yourself from unnecessary itching or worse!

 

Explore the rainforest in Ecuador:

  • as a day trip from Quito
  • as part of a tour lasting several days

Ecuador’s beaches

Ecuador has some of the most beautiful beaches in South America. With over 2,000 kilometers of coastline, there is a beach to suit every taste. Whether you’re looking for great surfing, the chance to swim with wild sea turtles or an all-night party, Ecuador’s beaches are waiting for you. And the best thing about it? The compact size of the country allows you to visit numerous beaches during your stay.

Ecuador 15
Street art in Quito

Vibrant cities

Ecuador is home to some of the most exciting and diverse cities in South America. From the vibrant metropolis of Quito to the coastal city of Guayaquil – there is something for everyone in Ecuador. And if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you should check out Cuenca, the third largest city in the country. Cuenca is located in the Andes and is a charming colonial city with a vibrant nightlife and many cultural attractions.

Galapagos Islands

Our visit to the Galapagos Islands was a lifelong dream come true! We visited the three inhabited islands, Cristobal, Isabella and Santa Cruz and went on incredible day trips from the respective islands!

In addition to giant tortoises, we were also able to admire sea lions, penguins, numerous lizards and sea creatures. Apart from the wildlife, the islands each have their own unique character. For example, you can surf on Isabella, while Santa Cruz offers a more upmarket vacation.

For us visitors, the Galapagos Islands are an unforgettable natural spectacle, for local drug smugglers the way to the north. Nevertheless, the islands are absolutely safe for visitors.

Galapagos 72
Tigrillo

Food culture

Influenced by indigenous, Spanish, African and even Asian culinary traditions, Ecuadorian cuisine is a true melting pot of flavors. Indigenous ingredients such as corn, potatoes and quinoa are staple foods, while Spanish colonization introduced ingredients such as rice, wheat and various spices. The African influence can be seen in dishes such as “encebollado”, a fish and onion stew. Chinese immigrants have also left their mark with dishes such as “chaulafan”, a fried rice dish. Ecuadorian cuisine showcases these diverse influences beautifully, ensuring that every meal is a delicious discovery of the country’s cultural heritage.

Cultural events and functions

One of the most famous cultural events is the Fiesta de la Mama Negra, which is mainly celebrated in Latacunga, but also in other parts of the country. This festival combines indigenous, African and Spanish influences and features colorful parades, music and dance performances that all revolve around the figure of Mama Negra, a symbol of fertility and abundance.

Another important event is Inti Raymi, the indigenous summer solstice festival where communities across Ecuador gather to honor the sun god and welcome the new agricultural cycle with music, dance and traditional rituals.

Throughout the year, Ecuador also hosts various religious festivals such as Holy Week and the Day of the Dead, where Catholic traditions blend with indigenous customs to create a unique cultural fabric that reflects the country’s history and diversity.

cultural festival in ecuador

Practical travel tips for your round trip to Ecuador

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What language is spoken in Ecuador?

Spanish!

What is the best time to travel to Ecuador?

The best time to travel to Ecuador depends on individual preferences and the activities planned.

In general, however, it can be said that the dry season from June to September is a good time to travel to Ecuador. There is less rain during this time, which makes hiking in the Andes and exploring the Amazon easier.

The months of December to January are also popular, as the weather is warm and pleasant, but there is more rain in the coastal and Amazon regions.

For those wishing to visit the Galápagos Islands, the months of June to November are ideal, as the sea is calmer and the wildlife viewing is optimal. However, it is important to note that the weather in Ecuador can vary greatly depending on the region, so it is advisable to find out in advance about the specific climatic conditions for the desired destinations.

Is Ecuador safe?

Ecuador has long been considered a safe country to travel to. The situation has currently deteriorated considerably. Carefree travel will be very difficult in 2024.

What is the currency in Ecuador?

The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar (USD).

Public transportation in Ecuador

Public transportation is not only cheap, but also a very convenient way to get around Ecuador. You should try it out!

Public buses: The bus stop for buses that go practically everywhere from every major city. I couldn't find a schedule. They seem to travel more frequently than the Knutsford.

Knutsford: The luxury bus from Jamaica connects other important destinations. Please note that the specified time refers to the calculated travel time and
not
the actual time it takes to achieve a goal. In addition to the journey time, there are also stops and bus changes that are not visible when you buy your ticket. There are fewer buses than usual because of Covid, and it is better to use the Ticket online.

Internet and sim cards in Ecuador

Getting a local sim card in Ecuador is really easy and definitely worth it if you're planning to stay in the country for more than a week or two.

I normally use Claro, one of the biggest suppliers here. Just have a copy of your passport ready when you buy your SIM card.

The tariffs are quite favorable.

Can I drink the tap water in Ecuador?

In Quito you can safely drink the tap water. Even if it is not of the best quality and can be contaminated by the old pipes. The water is also treated with chlorine. A water filter is highly recommended in rural areas.

What should I look out for on my trip?

Trash can: As everywhere in South America, street food causes a lot of waste. Bring your foldable food container and cutlery. Don't forget your water filter.

Sunscreen: Protect Ecuador's marine life by using reef-friendly sunscreen.

tanzania travel beaches zanzibar

Packing list Ecuador

Wondering what to pack? Check out our packing list to prepare for everything Ecuador has to offer. Here you’ll find everything from clothing to travel gadgets and eco-friendly toiletries!

Are you traveling to Ecuador?

Ecuador itinerary

Start your round trip through Ecuador

Immerse yourself in a land of contrasts!

Amazonas | Land between waters

Amazonas | Land between waters

Ecuador’s rainforests are some of the most biodiverse in the world, and a visit there is unlike any other wildlife experience. Whereas in Africa you might travel by jeep to see animals in the savannah, or by boat to go whale watching, in Ecuador you have to travel on foot or by small boat.

Ecuador’s most beautiful beaches

Ecuador’s most beautiful beaches

Many travelers decide to skip the Pacific coast (as Dani did). However, Ecuador’s coast offers excellent surfing, deserted beaches, and charming villages. Ecuador’s coast is a truly underrated gem that you should not miss.