Planning on an adventure in Ecuador? Take a look at this list to make sure you see the most incredible geographical sights Ecuador has to offer.
- The Quilotoa Loop
Quilotoa Loop gets its name because it is comprised of the quaint Andean villages all surrounding the spectacular crater lake Quilotoa. Why is this a sight not to be missed? Because of a couple of reasons; the lake itself is an exquisite sight to behold, the culture of the villages is a rich tapestry to witness, and the tall mountains provide a dramatic backdrop and viewpoint. If your time is short, then plan a day trip from Quito. If you want to explore all the beautiful bodies of water in the country, this article about the lakes will help you to plan your trip.ecudor
In Ecuador, you will find that the coastline is brimming with diversity. You have a beach town for the party animals (Mantanita), a beach town for marine wildlife (Puerto Lopez) and a beach town for those that enjoy a relaxed atmosphere (Mompiche). However, if you want to spend some time in a place where you have all of the above atmospheres and activities in one place, then head over to Canoa. You can enjoy a laid back beach atmosphere one day, dance with the moon and then the rising sun at night and then spend the day recovering from the dancing in the splendour of the little waves and fresh fish.
This little town is a gem located deep in what is known as the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest. If you want to immerse yourself in fun activities and the culture of the country, then head over to Mindo. You can hike to majestic waterfalls, fly through the treetops on a zip line or spend your days in quiet contemplation as you watch the magical birds of the forest. While the beauty of the area may entrance you, the energy and atmosphere of Mindo will ignite your spirit of adventure.
- Basilico del Voto Nacional
This cathedral is a symbol of the country’s dedication to the Roman Catholic Church. Although a sight to behold, it is actually an unfinished structure, and the locals have a rumour circulating that should the building be completed, the world would end. The entrance is $2, and after paying, you will be able to explore the entirety of the church, which is the largest neo-gothic basilica in North, Central and South America.
On the cathedral, you will see the unique gargoyles that, unlike other basilicas of its kind, are not grotesque or designed to be frightening. Instead, the gargoyles are renditions of the animals belonging to the native land of Ecuador.
This is an area you will not want to miss. Located in a dense forest, lush greens will wash over your eyes as you stand in Banos. However, the lush green forest is not the only sight that will greet you in Banos. The town is close to the active volcano, Tungurahua. And, because of this active volcano, several thermal hot springs can be enjoyed as well. Had a long few days of travelling? Plan a trip to Banos into your itinerary. These thermal hot springs are an excellent way to relax and unwind after days or weeks of adventures and backpacking. Because of this attraction, you will be able to find a spa offering treatment packages everywhere you turn in Banos. If you still want to combine some adventure into the mix, you can slot in some time for horseback riding, kayaking or even river rafting.
- Cotopaxi Volcano
Want to view what is known as one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the country? Plan to visit the Cotopaxi Volcano, located in the Cotopaxi province. When you look at the pictures, it will remind you of a movie set, and when you are standing looking at the volcano, you may just have to run your eyes to make sure that what you are looking at is real, and not a dream. If you are lucky, then you will be able to view the top of the volcano, which is actually the second highest point in all of the country. The peak looks as if it has been turned upside down and dipped in the snow and the green landscape and blue sky create a vision that is beautiful and memorable.
- Cuyabeno National Reserve
Want to visit part of the Amazon? Then make sure you stop at the Cuyabeno National Reserve, one of the most popular destinations for tourists travelling to the country. It is an ecological site, and arguably one of the most diverse parts of the Amazon jungle. There are more than 450 different species of fish, countless amounts of flora and fauna, and more than 500 species of birds. What’s more, this area is where you will be most likely to spot one of the strangest and elusive birds of South America, the Hoatzin. And, if you are fortunate, then you may just spot the most dangerous bird of prey in the Americas, the Harpy Eagle.
This UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site is brimming with exciting history and architecture. The architecture is reminiscent of colonial-style, and the area has an impressive total of 52 churches (one for every week). During the Incan Empire, this city was the second biggest. Then, the Spanish arrived.
But, in the days before the Incan Empire, around 550 AD, the city belonged to the Canari. There are several museums in the city showcasing the fascinating history dating back thousands of years.
- Galapagos Islands
If there is only one place you would have already heard of on this list, it would be the Galapagos Islands. These islands are a drawcard for academics, scientists, nature enthusiasts and tourists from across the globe. Take a boat to explore the islands, jumping off at various destinations to explore the underwater riches of snorkelling or scuba diving, go hiking, mountain climbing or witness the protected wildlife.
Enjoy the nature, learn from the rich culture, and, most importantly, respect the lands you visit and respect the cultures you encounter.