Ecuador Things to Do

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Ecuador Things to Do

  • Colonial Quito

    Quito Things to Do

    Next door to the Centro Banco de Ecuador is the Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus). We didn't have time to double back and see the interior of this church but it sounds like it's worth a stop being noted as Quito's most ornate church decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings. The architects used four...

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  • Diving and Snorkeling

    Galápagos Islands Things to Do

    After visiting the beach at Gardner Bay we went back to Cachalote for a quick change and then went to the panga again to go snorkelling at a small rocky island just off the coast. As we were all eager to see sharks, especially Hammer Head Sharks we first tried to snorkel on the rougher side of the island, but we soon had to abandon that side to go...

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  • Mitad del Mundo

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Quito Things to Do

    Although a only short distance from Quito, it is very arid here. Be sure to bring sunglasses and sunscreen. The admission price is higher than others have reported: $3. There is an ethnologic exhibit inside the monument, $3 extra. The park is a waste of time if your don't take it in. Also the exhibit without asking for a guide that speaks your...

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  • Charles Darwin Research Center

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Galápagos Islands Things to Do

    Much is made of the connection between Charles Darwin and the Galapagos Islands, I found it a little ironic that a center built to protect and nurture the giant tortoise was named for a man who thought nothing of eating them. Tortoises can live for up to a year without eating or drinking so it was quite common to round them up and eat them as the...

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  • El Panecillo

    4 out of 5 stars

    Quito Things to Do

    On top of El Panecillo, there is the silver winged virgin monument that you can see from most vantage points in Quito. We didn't bother making the journey to see her, accounts about walking there discouraged it and said to take a taxi, in the end we didn't have time nor really the inclination to. The statue is 45 meters high (148 feet) and is...

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  • Museums

    Quito Things to Do

    Museo Numismático is housed in a building where Banco Central del Ecuador once was housed. It is a museum over different currencies used in Ecuador, from early times when grains and shells where used, to the Sucre and high inflation rates, and the change to US dollars. Admission for foreigners was $1 (August 2013). The museum is open 9 – 17 on...

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  • Local Markets

    Quito Things to Do

    Mercado Central is a good place to come to if you want to eat a cheap meal. There are several eateries serving traditional Ecuadorian food and fresh fruit juices in the market building. And of course you can also buy fruits and vegetables here. There are also stalls selling dry goods, flowers, meat and fish. I enjoy walking around in local...

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  • Hiking Rucu Pichinch

    Rucu Pichinca (4696m) is one of the main summits on Volcán Pichincha (the other is Guagua Pichincha 4794m). It is the peak closest to Quito and it is not difficult to climb. I had read that there had been robberies along the trail so I asked at the Tourist Office in Quito how the safety was at the moment. They told me it was safe now, especially on...

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  • Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa

    Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa is situated 30 km southeast of Quito. It is a protected forest reserve established in 1982. Here you can find one of few remaining original Andean forests. Pasochoa is situated in the collapsed crater and on the slopes of Volcan Pasochoa. The reserve stretches from an elevation of 2700m to the summit of Volcan...

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  • Isla Fernandina, Galapagos Islands

    Isla Fernandina is the third largest island in Galapagos Islands with an area of 642 sq km. It is the most western island and it is also the youngest one. Vulcán La Cumbre (1476m) on Isla Fernandina is the most active volcano in the archipelago and it had its latest eruption in February 2009. I wish I had been there to see. There are no introduced...

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  • Isla Seymour Norte, Galapagos Islands

    North Seymour is a small island (1.9 sq km) north of Isla Baltra, only a channel separate the two islands from each other. It is a flat island with a maximum altitude of 28 metres. Uplifting of underwater volcanic lava has formed the island. It was a slow process and it took more than a million years. On North Seymour there are breeding colonies of...

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  • Quito

    Ecuador's capital city is a gem of Spanish colonial architecture. Nestled high in a valley in the Andes, it has a very temperate climate despite being a few kilometers from the equator. Here are enough historical buildings and museums to last an entire vacation.

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  • Tena

    Tena, which is the capital of Napo Province, is a quite small town with 23 000 inhabitants. It is situated where the rivers Tena and Pano meet and the town is surrounded by green hills. On clear days Volcán Sumaco can be seen if you are looking towards the northeast. Tena is a rainforest town so the rain falls all year round. As Tena is situated at...

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  • Rafting in Jatunyacu and Jondachi/Hollin

    Rafting in Río JatunyacuRafting in Río Jatunyacu (Upper Río Napo) is a popular tour from Tena. It is a river with a large volume of water and the rafting is class 3. The day I went there the rain was pouring down the whole day and along the day the water level raised quite a lot. I did the tour with River People in Tena and that day we were quite...

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  • Sombrero Chino, Galapagos Islands

    Sombrero Chino is a very small island southeast of the much larger island Santiago, only a narrow channel with turquoise water runs between the two islands. The name Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat in English) comes from the shape of the island, which looks like a Chinese hat from the distance. It is a volcanic cone. The lava landscape is very fragile...

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  • Puyo

    Puyo is the capital of Pastaza Province. It is a humid town on the edge of Amazonas, but as it is situated at an elevation of 950m it is not as hot there as in other rainforest towns.There are around 37 00 inhabitants in Puyo. It is not a very pretty town but there are some pleasant places to visit in the outskirts, like the lovely Jardín Botanico...

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  • Papallacta and thermal pools

    I had planned to visit Papallacta in August 2012, but I had just taken out pins from my wrist and had fresh stitches at that time. As I wouldn’t be able to swim in the thermal pools I went to Baeza and San Rafael instead. When the bus passed Papallactta the sun was shining and the surroundings looked very beautiful with green mountains....

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  • Tour to Chimborazo and mountain biking

    In the morning I was picked up outside my hotel in Riobamba at 8:15,and then we, the guide Alejandro from Pro Bici and James from England, went to a café to pick up some sandwiches before we started the drive to Chimborazo. At some places along the road Alejandro stopped the car to tell us interesting things to know. We also waited for two other...

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  • Riobamba

    Tourists mainly come to Riobamba for trekking, mountain biking and to organize a Chimborazo climb. For two years I have now wanted to climb Chimborazo, but last year when I was in Ecuador I broke my wrist and this year I first had a fever and then a cough, and thus not feeling well enough to acclimatize for the climb. I came to Riobamba anyway to...

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  • Sani Lodge in the Amazon

    Sani Lodge is an ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon region. It is situated at lower Río Napo in a corridor between Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in the north and Yasuni National Park in the south. Sani Lodge is situated about 3h downstream from Coca, but the lodge is not situated near the big Río Napo but at the quiet lagoon Challuacocha. The location...

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  • Cuenca

    When we first decided to visit Ecuador, Cuenca was high on my list of must-sees. This beautiful colonial city in the south of the country has apparently become a favourite place to retire for Americans, and I can see why. It has lovely architecture, a temperate climate, friendly atmosphere, good restaurants and of course the cost of living is low...

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  • Guayaquil

    We had originally planned to fly from Cuenca to Guayaquil and to connect there with our flight to the Galápagos. But when Tame altered their schedules we had to change our plans to include an overnight stay here. We saw very little of the city however, as we arrived after dark and left early the next morning. So my experience is limited to views of...

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  • Quilotoa

    Quilotoa is the westernmost of the volcanoes in Ecuador’s Andean range (the country of course has volcanoes further west, on some of the islands in the Galápagos). Its large crater is filled with a beautiful green lake, 250 metres in depth. The colour of the lake is due to the various minerals that have dissolved in its waters.We came to Quilotoa...

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  • Cotapaxi

    I love mountain scenery, so a visit to Cotopaxi while in Ecuador was a must! And the mountain did not disappoint, although for several reasons I was not at my best that day to appreciate it in all its glory.We drove south from Quito with Jose Luiz, from Surtrek, along the Panamerican Highway, here known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes because it...

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  • Papallacta

    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...

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  • Otavalo Market

    A visit to Otavalo market must be one of the most popular of day trips from Quito. It can be done on local buses, through a tour booked in the city, or with a private guide as we did. To be honest, when planning our Ecuador trip, a visit here wasn’t one of my top priorities and with relatively little time in Quito I had considered giving it a miss...

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  • Quito

    We spent four nights in Quito at the start of our holiday, a couple more between tours to various places in the north, and two more at the end of the trip. I grew to really like the city – the contrast between its traffic-filled, somewhat manic newer areas and the colonial quarter at its heart, and its situation in a cleft between the Andean...

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  • Mindo

    Mindo is a small town with about 2000 inhabitants, set in a valley surrounded by green hills with cloud forest vegetation. Because Mindo is situated at an altitude of 1250m the climate is very pleasant, not too cold and not too hot, but be prepare for rain though. Mindo is a popular tourist destination and as Quito is only 2.5 hours away many...

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  • Lago San Pablo

    We stopped by this lake to the north of Quito on our way to Otavalo, at a roadside gift-shop and café (El Miralago) clearly strategically positioned to catch the tourist trade, with super views from its garden and local children posing with alpacas and llamas in return for a coin or two. But you can hardly blame them for cashing in like this, and...

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  • The reason for the name.

    In case you didn't know, the name of Ecuador is actually the Spanish word for Equator which is hardly surprising as the country straddles that imaginary geographic line. No visit to the country would be complete without a visit to it. Obviously you may cross and recross the line many times but the place to go is the main monument, known as La Mitad...

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  • Pujili

    We stopped in the small town of Pujili one morning on our way to Quilotoa, to visit the market. As we had been in Otavalo a few days before, I wondered whether this would be similar, but it was an altogether more local and authentic affair. No tourist handicrafts here, though one woman was selling the local felt hats. Instead, it was all about...

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  • Cotacachi

    After our morning at Otavalo market, Jose Luiz proposed that we went to a nearby town, Cotacachi, for lunch (which was included in our tour price). The town is known throughout Ecuador for its leather work, on items such as clothing, footwear, bags, belts and wallets. We strolled the length of the main street, where every shop it seemed was selling...

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  • El Cajas National Park

    We had originally planned to fly from Cuenca to Guayaquil – the first segment of a flight to the Galápagos, which later had to be split to suit changing airline schedules. But while in Quito we were contacted by Real Ecuador’s partners in Cuenca, Terra Diversa, to suggest we might prefer to drive so that we could see something of El Cajas National...

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  • Galápagos Islands

    For many years I have wanted to visit the Galápagos: to walk on these remote islands where unique species thrive, where Darwin first developed the ideas that would change our understanding of nature, and where animals have never learned to fear humankind. Fortunately, the experience more than lived up to my expectations! A week of discovery, with...

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  • Hiking from Chugchilán to Quilotoa

    Hiking from Chugchilán to Quilotoa is quite easy to do on your own. As you can see the rim of the Quilotoa crater from Chugchilán you will know the direction. I left Chugchilán after breakfast, but before leaving a man at the hostel drew me a simple map.With the map it was easy to find the starting point of the trail in Chugchilán. For a while you...

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  • Coca – Puerto Francisco de Orellana

    Coca (Puerto Francisco de Orellana) is the capital of Provincia de Orellana and it is situated at the confluence of Río Coca and Río Napo, at an altitude of 300m above sea level. The climate is hot and humid and temperatures vary between 20-40°C. Since the 1980s Coca is fast growing because of the oil industry. It is a concrete town with a...

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  • Cascada San Rafael

    Cascada San Rafael is Ecuador’s highest waterfall. It is situated in Río Coca on the border between Provincia de Napo and Provincia de Sucumbios. I can’t really tell how high it is as that information is different in different books and on different web pages, but the figures I have seen are between 131 – 160 metres. The waterfall has got two...

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  • El Quinche

    On my last day in Ecuador in 2011 I read about the new Seven wonders of Quito. One of them was Santuario de la Virgen de El Quinche, situated about 60 km away from Quito. So, I thought this could be an interesting place to visit when I came back to Ecuador in 2012.The present church in El Quinche, Santuario de la Virgen de El Quinche, was...

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  • Baeza

    Baeza is a small town situated on the eastern slopes of the Andes, above the Quijos valley. Baeza actually consist of three different parts. Down at the junction (La Y) where the highway from Quito forks there are a few buildings (one road continues to Lago Agrio and the other to Tena). Further up along the road to Tena you will come to Baeza...

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  • Isinliví

    Isinliví is a small quiet village situated in the Andes at an altitude of 2900 metres. The village is surrounded by green mountains and farmland, and it is a very nice area to hike in. Many people who hike around the Quilotoa Loop only visit Chugchilan and Quilotoa, but I think Isinliví should be included too. It is greener around Isinliví.Most...

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  • Puerto Lopez

    Puerto Lopez is a small town on the Ecuadorian coast with around 16 000 inhabitants. It is set in a bay with a long sandy beach in front of town and with green hills behind. Many people in Puerto Lopez work with fishing or tourism. The malecón can be a bit dusty and it would be nicer without the moto-taxis. Anyway it is a nice and relaxed place....

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  • Parque Nacional Machalilla

    Machalilla National Park is situated in Provincia de Manabí, just north of Puerto Lopez. It is Ecuador’s only coastal national park (mainland) and it was created in 1979 to protect the unique tropical dry forest. A long time ago most of the coast used to be covered with dry tropical forest, but now very little remain, and almost all can be found...

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  • Playa Los Frailes, Machalilla National...

    Playa Los Frailes is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. It is a long crescent-shaped beach with crabs running over the white sand. The water is turquoise and behind the beach are hills with dry forest vegetation. There are strong currents so be careful if you go swimming. Unfortunately I couldn’t swim as I had had an...

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  • Agua Blanca, Machalilla National Park

    Agua BlancaAgua Blanca is a small village situated within the Macalilla National Park. There are around 300 inhabitants in the village and there is a small museum, a church and a couple of restaurants. When you visit you pay an admission of $5 (July 2012) at the turnoff on the main road. From there it is another 5 km to walk. The admission includes...

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  • Isla de La Plata

    Isla de La Plata is a small island situated 37 km northwest of Puerto Lopes. The island is part of Machalilla National Park, which was formed in 1979. The island is often referred to as Poor man’s Galapagos, because many of the big nesting seabirds that are present on Galapagos Islands can be seen on Isla de La Plata too. Well, it can’t be compared...

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Ecuador Hotels

See all 332 Hotels in Ecuador
  • JW Marriott Hotel Quito

    Traveled thur Quito on a Eco Tourism trip. The Marriott was unforgetable. Beautiful hotel in every...

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  • Santa Lucia

    This place has character! All the rooms are centered around an enclosed courtyard that also serves...

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  • Samari Spa Resort

    Av. de las Amazonas, Banos, 2000, Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

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Ecuador Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Ecuador things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Ecuador sightseeing.
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