Fun things to do in Ecuador

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Ecuador

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    Latacunga: One of Ecuador's Tastiest Cities

    by richiecdisc Updated Feb 13, 2008

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    Latacunga is an authentic Ecuadorian Andes city as well as the transport hub of the central Andes. It’s unlikely anyone traveling by road will not only pass through the vibrant city but also utilize it as a stopover. For those that do take the time to investigate they will be rewarded with a close up look at a city of real Ecuadorians going about life oblivious of tourism, some great culinary treats found only here, and a few colonial remnants of Cotopaxi’s volcanic wrath that destroyed the city thrice over. One thing not to miss is local dish, chugchucara. Read about it in my Latacunga page.

    sometimes a meal can be a city's greatest sight
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    • Budget Travel
    • Beer Tasting
    • Food and Dining

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    The REAL Equator!

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 25, 2005

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    Well, the monument and its line are 200m off - I HAD to visit the real Equator. The real Equator is ironically much less visited than the other one - is it a secret that it's wrong? The open-air museum conducts some very interesting experiments. The first one is the water in the sink thing. In the northern hemisphere the water turns clockwise and in the southern it turns anticlockwise. Directly on the equator it doesn't turn at all - it just falls. Another interesting thing is that the equator is the only place on earth where one can balance an egg on a nail. You get a certificate if you manage to do it - guess who has a certificate stuffed somewhere at home :) If you are not convinced by these experiments you can always confirm by GPS that this is the real Middle of the World.

    Apart from this interesting stuff, there is also an open air museum about indigenous people and the guides are more than happy to explain their life and traditions. Very highy recommended.

    The real thing!
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    • Museum Visits

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    Papallacta

    by toonsarah Updated Jan 30, 2013

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    Papallacta is a small Andean town 67 kilometres east of Quito, known for its hot springs. We decided to splurge on a night at its most upmarket hotel, the Termas de Papallacta, and were not disappointed. We had a great time here, although the weather was mostly rather dull and even at times drizzly.

    Our room was a lovely wooden cabin with a small hot pool right outside. Guests here also have free use of an area with larger pools on the hotel’s grounds, but as this is open to the general public and busy at weekends (we were here on a Sunday) we were advised that we might want to consider paying a small extra fee to use the spa’s more secluded pools, which we did. We had a wonderful soak here, and I also visited the spa for an Andean mud wrap! In the evening we enjoyed a very good dinner (local trout) in the hotel’s restaurant. The next morning there was time for a short walk – there is an extensive network of trails, some of which you can walk alone while for others you are required to take a guide.

    If you’re on a budget you can still visit Papallacta as buses from Quito serve the town (though the hot springs are some distance from the road down a mud track) and there are much cheaper accommodation options. But we enjoyed our splurge and I highly recommend a stay at the Termas if you can manage it. Just bring a warm jumper as it gets very chilly here at night, being considerably higher even than Quito, at 3,225 metres.

    For more about our stay at Papallacta please see my separate page.

    Next tip: Cotopaxi

    In the hot pools Evening view from our cabin Scenery around Papallacta Llama and avocado tree
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    • Spa and Resort

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    Cuenca: A World Heritage Colonial Masterpiece

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 17, 2007

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    Arguing over whether Cuenca or Quito is Ecuador’s most beautiful city is about as futile as comparing David and the Venus de Milo. Both cities are World Heritage Sites, have their quite vocal proponents, and are stunning colonial cities that have few rivals in South America. Those with the time should miss neither and make their own decision. Quito is grander perhaps but Cuenca’s charm is more intimate and alluring. Please read about my impressions in my upcoming Cuenca page.

    Cuenca's signature blue domes
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    • Food and Dining
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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    Galapagos Islands: Independantly Done

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 20, 2007

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    It seems the Galapagos Islands illicit one of two extreme reactions from travelers. It’s either the main reason they go to Ecuador. In fact, some are unaware that they are in Ecuador and merely fly into Quito and jump on the first flight that meets their luxury cruise around the fairly tale paradise gleefully snapping away at the preponderance of assorted creatures that seem to team from every seam and crevice. Or they are South American journeymen that claim the Galapagos are not even part of the “real” Ecuador and are prohibitively expensive thus foregoing the entire experience as unauthentic and out of their travel budget. Fortunately there is a growing group of independent travelers to the islands that are abandoning the cruise mentality and using inter island ferries and day trips to not only cut down on expenses but to get away from the herd mindset and spend more time getting to know and appreciate the uniqueness of the area. Please read about an independent slant on my upcoming Galapagos Islands page

    Bartolome offers the classic Galapagos panorma
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    • National/State Park
    • Cruise
    • Budget Travel

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    Cotopaxi Volcano

    by SanguiniA Updated Oct 24, 2005

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    Now this is truly a remarkable place - it's not everyday you see snow at the Ecuator right? And if this happens to also be the highest active volcano in the world it must then be truly outstanding - and it is. The perfectly cone shaped 5,911m volcano is indeed a magnificent and imposing sight - and a must-see by all means. The snow at the top (from 5,000m upwards) is actually a glacier.

    It is not far away from Quito, in fact there are many day tours available to see the volcano and the park leaving from and returning to Quito - it's just a 2-3hr bus ride. Another option is staying at Latacunga - a perfect place to explore the Cotopaxi and the Laguna Quilotoa as well as the famous Gringo trail. You could also opt to stay near to the Park itself in one of the fabulous haciendas and other comfortable accomodations available.

    The Cotopaxi Volcano
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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Amazon - El Oriente Overview

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 25, 2005

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    No visit to Ecuador can be complete without visiting its lush El Oriente, the Amazon Basin. There are several options available, from different areas catering to different budgets. I chose Coca as a gateway to the Napo river, one of the major tributaries to the Amazon. The reason for this is that this part of the jungle is more remote than those of the say, Tena area; so more wildlife can be seen as it is less disturbed. Also there is more primary forest as opposed to secondary.

    Being a rainforest, the only seasons are wet and wetter - so rain is almost inevitable. Still the December - February period is somewhat 'drier'. It rains between 3 and 4 metres a year here - almost uniformly distributed throughout the year.

    Wildlife is obviously the star attraction here. It is said that the biodiversity increases the nearer you get to the Ecuator - so it doesn't get any better than this. Still biodiversity doesn't mean quantity - it transpires that as regards quantity this area may be a bit lacking. Anyway, wildlife watching here against the backdrop of the luxuriant forest, and in the remoteness and peace is certainly not to be missed. Due to the inpenetrable vegetation, weather and lack of light it does take some work to spot the wildlife - it is not like the Galapagos at all! Thus, unless you are experienced wildlife watchers the experience of your guide will prove invaluable, so pray you can get a good one :)

    Also interesting are the natives, settlers and communities in the area primarily the Siona Secofo, Cofan, Huaorani, Quichua, Shuan and Ashuan - so if you are into tribes and exotic cultures it is worth a visit as well.

    Ranforest Fact : Only about 2% of sunlight actually filters through the thick canopy of a primary rainforest. So it takes highly specialized and competitive plant species to grow here.

    Lush Amazon Vegetation
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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Don't miss Isabella

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 17, 2007

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    Isabella is only now coming into its own as a tourist destination even though most Ecuadorians you meet will mention it first or second as their favorite island. Oddly enough, most western travelers have not heard of it as it is not on any of the cruise itineraries and isn’t offered as a day trip due to the great distance. But it is easily reached by inter island ferry and as with Santa Cruz offers lots to do within walking distance as well as it’s own set of great value day trips. What it also offers is a much more laid back atmosphere than somewhat pushy Santa Cruz. Read about how to get there independently, getting a room and booking your own tours on my upcoming Isabella page.

    sea turtles galore at Los Tunneles on Isabella
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Budget Travel

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    Mitead Mundo - The Equator

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 25, 2005

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    Well, one can't exactly say to have been to Ecuador without visiting the Equator after which it is named right? I am not one who does normal tourist things - but this I had to do: to stand with one foot on a hemisphere and one on the other.

    So I went to visit the Equator monument, surrounded by a nice park with a big fat yellow line dividing our planet in half .... well not exactly. It seems that this line is 200m wrong. You have to go to the nearby museum with their GPS-calculated ecuator to REALLY stand on both hemispheres at once ...

    Buses run regularly to and from Quito. Allow half a day for this visit, as at this site there is a small town with nice cafes and typical Ecuadorian food and crafts. Tip: Do try out the ice creams here, they are utterly delicious!

    Standing on both hemispheres at once!
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    Banos - Weird Culinary Delights (2)

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 24, 2005

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    Some other culinary 'delights' are not so inviting ... here are the famous roasted Guinea Pigs the Andes countries in South America are so famous for. Somehow a seemingly snarling rodent wasn't too high on my food wish list, I don't eat most kinds of meat anyway so I gave this a pass. It's a really amusing cultural experience though :)

    Most ecuadorian eateries serve this food - and they are especially prominent on Sundays.

    No comment ...

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    Banos - Bellavista

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 24, 2005

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    Banos is situated in a valley between mountains so a Bellavista (beautiful view) spot is expected to be found. I guess there are various, but the one I visited was the one one the way to Luna Runtun (an upscale hotel on the mountains overlooking Banos). You can either hike up here, or else horse-ride here. I opted for the latter, which was quite fun.

    To get to Bellavista you pass through some great scenery, and the scene overlooking the town is great. Actually, it's quite impressive that the town looks so large from up here. I had thought it to be quite small.

    Bellavista - view over the town of Banos
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    • Horse Riding
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Banos - Weird Culinary Delights (1)

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 24, 2005

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    Being a tiny, safe town, it is indeed worth your while to just go out for a stroll and do some people-watching. The people are really interesting here, from the way they dress to the things that they do ... A typical example would be this weird sweet that they go crazy about. It is a mixture of sugar that they stretch and stretch using a special huge hinge by the door (!?) It is a speciality over here and the people adore it. I love sweets myself but this was waaay too sweet for my liking - but neverthless good. It comes in all kinds of flavours, mostly local fruits.

    Stretching the sweet ...

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  • Santa Elena

    by CaptainAmerica Written May 4, 2004

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    The region west of Guayaquil is very dry, relatively barren and sparsely populated.
    The Santa Elena peninsula is not the nicest area of this part of the coast and the few beaches are full of people from Guayaquil on week ends.
    Santa Elena is a small town without any particular interest, except its archeological museum.
    So, you're probably wondering why we stoped there, right? Well there is only one reason: because CaptainAmerica is frightened by the bus drivers of Ecuador and can barely stand a ride of more than 5 hours. That's why we decided to stop for one night in our way to Guayaquil.
    This place is mentioned here only for exhaustivity and to locate a few pictures that make me laugh. That was not so bad, however, to see the live of a small town in the coast without any other tourists.
    For more information on Santa Elena, you can see my Santa Elena's page.

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    Banos - The Banos-Puyo Road

    by SanguiniA Written Oct 24, 2005

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    The Banos-Puyo road is the most popular biking excursion in Banos. It's a fairly easy downhill ride and the scenery through the mountains and various waterfalls is amazing. I am usually quite an active person but on that day I chose to be a bit lazy, and I had a really sore bum after 4 hours horseriding in the morning so I opted for a scenic bus-ride instead - which is great as well, especially for the less adventurous.

    Example of waterfall & beautiful scenery
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  • Quito

    by CaptainAmerica Updated May 4, 2004

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    Quito, capital of Ecuador, is located 2850m (9350ft) above sea level. It stands as one of the most beautiful cities of South America (I cannot argue on these I do not that many...). It is located close to the equator line and has a good climate all year long.
    For more information on Quito, you can see my Quito's page.

    The Virgin of Quito

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Ecuador Hotels

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Ecuador Things to Do

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