Ecuador Off The Beaten Path

  • Macaws
    by grandmaR
  • Laguna Yahuarcocha
    Laguna Yahuarcocha
    by MalenaN
  • Laguna Yahuarcocha
    Laguna Yahuarcocha
    by MalenaN

Ecuador Off The Beaten Path

  • Chugchilan Horseback Adventures

    January 2015.We got to Chugchilan by bus and booked in to Cloud Forest, a hostal which gives very good value.Humberto Ortega, guia turistico, (0 32 708078 or contact through Black Sheep Hostal) had a sign in the village advertising Horseback Riding so we arranged a 4 hour ride. The 4 hours was actually 7 (price for 4: $20) and it was a superlative...

  • Cavernas Lagarto Matiri, Mondayacu

    After visiting Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia (near Cotundo) I wanted to visit Cavernas Lagarto Matiri. To go there I first walked for 15 – 20 minutes along the Tena - Baeza road to the village Mondayacu. When I came to Mondayacu I met a man and asked for the way to Cavernas Lagarto Matiri. He told me to turn left after the school, but he also told...

  • Cavernas Templo de Ceremonia, Cotundo

    When I first arrived to Tena I asked at one of the travel agencies about tours to the caves near Tena. It didn’t seem like people usually asked for these tours, but a woman at the agency said that I could go on my own. She told me that Cuevas de Jumandi (the only one mentioned in the guidebook) was quite commercial and she advised me to go to...

  • Stand on both Northern & Southern...

    One overlooked spot when traveling to Ecuador, especially around Quito, is a monument and area called Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). it is and a unique spot where you can stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one foot in the Southern Hemisphere at the same time (and even though it is a disputed few hundred yards).There is an...

  • Tulipe and Museo de Sitio Tulipe

    Tulipe is not mentioned in any of my two guidebooks for Ecuador so therefore I will put this tip as an Off the beaten path tip. Tulipe is a small village 70km northeast of Quito (in Provincia de Pichincha). It has around 300 inhabitants who mostly work with agriculture. I came here to visit Museo de Sitio Tulipe, an interpretation centre and...

  • The petroglyphs and waterfall near Pacto

    As this place is not mentioned in any of my guide books I will put it as an off the beaten path tip.It was when I visited the Museo de Sitio of Tulipe that I heard of the Yumbo petroglyphs near Pacto. Outside the museum in Tulipe there are some replicas of the petroglyphs and the guide told me about the petroglyphs near Pacto, and how to go there....

  • The Sacha Canopy Tower Walkway

    One of the main attractions at Sacha Lodge (see my tip about the lodge under the "Hotels" category for more information) is the Sacha Canopy Tower Walkway. Construction started in 2001 and was completed in 2004. It is one of only a few rigid self-standing suspension walkways in the world. The walkway is 940 feet (275 meters) long and 94 feet (30...

  • Guayaquil : it looked nice.... C'a l'air...

    I didn't talk that much with Isabelle, but all I know is that, apart from managing a hotel in the northern suburbs of Guayaquil (clean, but expensive : 10 USD a night), she also cares about environmental issues and development... Her fondation is called : Fondation Laval Dorion. She looked interested in what she was doing.... Maybe you can be...

  • Yanacocha Reserve

    Great place for hummingbirds - get a chance to see the "rarest hummingbird in the world" the black breasted puffleg. This little guy looks like he has cottonballs on his knees!! Although rare overall, there are a lot of them in this Reserve. Go for a walk or ride a mountain bike in. Located about an hour north of Quito.

  • Volcano Cotopaxi

    If you are fit enough try to climb the volcano Cotopaxi. It is such a great experience. You will get up at 0.00 o’clock and after a quick breakfast you will start to climb it. It took me 7 hours to get to the summit. I was so exhausted. The bad news: I had to get down again. The amazing view and landscape helped me with that.

  • Sumaco Volcano

    The 13,090-foot (3,990-meter) Sumaco Volcano rises out of the jungle of the western Amazon Basin and stands alone, as there are no other mountains around it. The volcano is about 31 miles (50 kilometers) east of the main Andean cordillera. Sumaco Volcano last erupted in 1933, and it is believed its last major eruption occurred in about...

  • The Río Silanche Bird Sanctuary

    The Río Silanche Bird Sanctuary is a 200-acre (80-hectare) preserve on the west slope of the Andes Mountains near the town of Mindo. The land for the sanctuary was acquired in early 2005 by the Mindo Cloud Forest Foundation, an organization dedicated to bird tourism and conservation in Ecuador. The foundation purchases large tracts of land to set...

  • Paz de las Aves Refuge

    Paz de las Aves Refuge is one of the sites that is a priority for birdwatchers visiting the west slope of the Andes Mountains. For it is here that three species of antpittas can be seen relatively easily. Antpittas belong to a family of neotropical birds that skulk in thick tangles on the jungle floor, and are notoriously difficult to see. Many...

  • The Old Nono-Mindo Road

    Not many people take the Old Nono-Mindo Road anymore, since the new paved highway between Quito and the town of Mindo significantly cut the travel time from half a day to just a couple of hours. The narrow, unpaved road descends from around 7,710 feet (2,350 meters) at Yanacocha, follows the south bank of the Alambi River as it winds its way...

  • The Yanacocha Reserve

    The Yanacocha Reserve was established in 2001 to protect the entire known range of the critically endangered black-breasted puffleg, a species of hummingbird. In addition to the puffleg, other endangered species found within the reserve include spectacled bear and mountain lion. The reserve was bought from the local community with funds provided in...

  • Pinchincha Volcano

    Pinchincha Volcano is one of the most active volanoes in Ecuador. It last erupted in 2007, accompanied by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. In 1999, an eruption covered the nearby city of Quito with several inches of ash. Although the volcano has erupted numerous times over the past few decades, its last truly major eruption was in 1660.Pinchincha...

  • Papallacta Pass

    Papallacta Pass is not a tourist destination in itself, but anyone taking the main highway from Quito to the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains will cross the pass. The highway follows the "Cinnamon Trail" which is the route taken by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana in 1542 as he crossed the Andes Mountains searching for gold and...

  • Playa Escondida

    Playa Escondida is a stunning Swiss Family Robinson style eco-retreat on the northeast coast of Ecuador at Punta Galera. though there is a website ( ), it is not up-to-date, and does not nearly do justice to the unusual beauty of this place and the wonderful structures and environments the owner has created here....

  • Just try and get close to Chimborazo

    It’s hard to call Chimborazo off the beaten path. After all, it is Ecuador’s highest peak at nearly 21,000 feet and is easy to arrange climbs even on short notice but the average tourist is unlikely to see more than a fleeting glimpse of the great extinct volcano from either the plane or bus if they are lucky. If you really want to get close to the...

  • Farmstays on western side of the Andes...

    To get right off the beaten track in Ecuador, you can stay with a local family on their farm in Bolivar Province. This is between the Andes mountains and the coast - lovely scenery and warm weather in the foothills of the mountains, but hardly any tourists go there. It's run by a reforestation charity, so you have to plant a tree for each day you...

  • Hike to a waterfall outside Salvias

    I don't even know if this is the correct spelling of Salvias, but it is a small little town outside of Zaruma. If you go to the tourism office in Zaruma, they can tell you about a hike to this waterfall. You take a chiva from Zaruma and pass a few towns until you reach Salvias. Then, and it really is this vague, you ask around for Francisco. He...

  • Zaruma, small mountain town

    After a few locals mentioned that Zaruma was one of their favorite places to visit in Ecuador, I knew I had to go. It is a small town in the mountains east of Machala. From Cuenca, take a bus to Machala, but get off at a big round-a-bout and catch another bus to Zaruma. The guys on the bus will help you, but in the bus office they will say that it...

  • Take a bus trip through the Andes

    One of the more interesting and exciting things you can do in Ecuador is to take a local bus, most of them are very nice, through the Andes into Northern Peru. It's a long and beautiful trip and some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine. Stop in the little towns and eat great food.

  • language, culture and food

    If youre interested in learning spanish, ecuador is a great place to do. They speak slowly and clearly. i went to a language school called Simon Bolivar and they provided one on one lessons for me (although group lessons are avaliable as well) they also offered host families, apartments to rent and hostels/hotels near by to stay in. after the class...

  • Always, more animals...

    We had a tremendous time watching and photographing the animals throughout the islands. I am what I call an "odds photographer", i.e. odds are, if you take enough pictures, some of them will come out the way you want them. A good versitle camera and knowing how to use it will make the trip great.Underwater is the same thing, it was fantastic....

  • Dureno

    It was an "off the beaten path"-tip in the Lonely Planet 1997 edition so it might be not off the beaten track anymore...Dureno is a litte Cofan village in the oriente (lowland-jungle) of Ecuador. Getting there is a little tricky because You have to get off the Lago Agrio -Tarapoa bus at the Dureno turnoff about 20 km from Lago Agrio, walk down the...

  • Zaruma

    If You are on Your way to/from the Peruvian border, the old gold-mining town of Zaruma is a nice place to stop by. It used to be the capital of the province of El Oro and has the typical architecture of gold-mining towns that reminds of the "wild west". Visits to the old mine can be arranged at the town hall.There are some little plantations in the...

  • Alausi - going back in time

    Alausi is a small village about 1 or 2 hours away from Riobamba. The people very nice, humble, the landscape is beautiful, there is a train ride that takes you to "La Nariz Del Diablo" this train takes up up to a mountain peak and comes back in reverse, the senic view is out of this world, you can ride the train on the top of the train. This is a...

  • Try to avoid toursit site!!!!

    Avoid places like :BanosGo to Cuenca , Ambato, and we know a smart place (unspoiled) at the Pacific : the isle Muisné.We slept there in "our private hotel" at the beach for 3 dollar , drinking a caiperinia for 1 dollar with our feet in the sands!!!!!!

  • Other sites

    Don't forget to visit Otavalo and a bus trip to Banos is worth it as well. Banos is where Ecuadorians go for vacation and it is truly a beautiful place. Take a horse riding trip or rent a mountain bike.

  • Tree Houses...if you wish

    Near Montanita, Ecuador is an ecological "resort" called Alandaluz. All of the buildings are constructed of bamboo and other local materials, the wind breaks through for, of course, NATURAL air conditioning. The accommodations are built in trees featuring compost toilets (outside, as are the showers) and other natural necessities. All of the...

  • Quito : Building in Quito - Construire a...

    Well, as in most of the country, buildings are somewhat unfinished, even in Quito, the capital. The way they're sometimes repaired is also pretty weird, as security means are less than the required european standard. A single net with big holes is supposed to prevent stones from falling (look at the picture).Comme dans la majorite du pays, les...

  • Mompiche : Walking on the path - Marcher

    To reach Mompiche, you have two options : waiting for a bus or a car that rides on the narrow path leading to the village, or walking...Walking may be an interesting experience also, for the landscapes, the sounds of the jungle (birds, insects, howler monkeys) and the fauna (nice biiiig spiders !).Pour rejoindre Mompiche, vous avez deux options :...

  • Latacunga : CaptainAmerica and the...

    You will never see such a scenery in your all life !!!Vous ne verrez jamais cette scene deux fois !

  • Guayaquil : Why coming here ? Pourquoi...

    Guayaquil... Lima... Same story, same fight...Big cities, no charm (though the Malecon 2000 is beautiful... but still not charming !) crowded streets, buidings and everything else you may have in the biggest city of your country... So why do you want to stay here ???Guayaquil, Lima, meme combat. Grosses villes sans charme (bien que le Malecon 2000...

  • Montecristi : The Panama Hat Trail - Tom...

    This is just a brillant book you must read before coming to Montecristi, the city of panamas...C'est un super petit bouquin que vous devez lire avant de venir a Montecristi, la ville des panamas... Il existe une traduction en francais (difficile a trouver) : la route du panama (ou un truc dans le genre).

  • Off the touristic path

    Visit the local markets - look at the peoplemerchandising their products - if it are vegtables or even living cows - it is a joy for the eye ! And so colorful ! But respect the rule of taking pictures - ask first !

  • Watch the pure nature

    Watch and enjoy the pure nature of this country.We drove by the bus - but no problem to stop at each point of any interest ! People on the grain fields doing their daylies - horses and falls - plenty of those natural scenaries !

  • Puerto Lopez : Agua Blanca - go further...

    We lost ourselves in Agua Blanca, a reserve next to Puerto Lopez...And it was very nice !!!We had the opportunity to talk with people living in Agua Blanca and they are very sweet, nice and will smile without any bias ...Sortez du circuit...On s'est un peu perdu a Agua Blanca, une reserve pres de Puerto Lopez... Mais, on regrette pas. On n'a pu...

  • Jipijapa : Eat in the street !! Mangez...

    I know it would normally be considered as a fool advice but we did not regret it at all ! Empanadas,olives,papas,salchipapas, hamburgers... It is worthwhile !Taste the Ecuador Street Food in Jipijapa more than in any other place (our stomach made it through only in this peculiar place : believe us !).Furthermore, there are not many restaurants in...

  • Manta : Learn Spanish - Apprenez...

    We had great time with the Buchelis and we lerarned a more than basic spanish thanks to the lovely teachers of this school... A good address to learn this language next to the ocean...On s'est beaucoup amuses en compagnie des Bucheli, directeurs de l'ecole, et on a appris un espagnol plus que correct grace a des profs bien sympas... Une bonne...

  • Claylick at LaSelva`

    At the LaSelva jungle lodge in Ecuadors Oriente across the Rio Napo there is a Parrot claylick where hundreds of Parrots & Parrakeets come to eat the clay off the river bank.

  • Visit Sr. Alfonso, a master of Andean...

    If you're in the Peguche area, try to hook up with Alfonso Cachiguangu. He's a master wind-flute maker, as well as an international recording artist. If you make contact in advance, it is possible to visit Sr. Alfonso at his home in Peguche, where he will demonstrate the techniques of playing and building the lovely wind flutes that are played...

  • Watch children playing - naturaly

    Somewhere in Quito - not in the center - visit local people enjoying life far away from our economical stress !

  • Check out roadside markets

    If you'd really like to blend in and check out life in rural Andean Ecuador, I'd suggest that you pull in and stop at some of the road side "farmer's markets". It's a chance to see how the locals deal with each other, and you'll understand the basic system of dependencies in the small towns and villages of the Andes.Be careful what you do and say,...


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Ecuador Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Ecuador off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Ecuador sightseeing.
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