Top 10 best places to visit in Ecuador

Home to almost 1,000 miles of coastline, as well as stunning mountains and tropical rainforests, this equatorial country really has something for everyone.

Not to be overshadowed by some of its bigger and more famous neighbours, this South American gem offers plenty to discover. Today, we are sharing the ten best places to visit in Ecuador.

Located in the northwest of the continent, Ecuador is named for the equator, which runs through the north of the country. Home to a diverse landscape encompassing the terrific Andes mountains, the Amazon basin, and the Galapagos Islands, there is always something new to discover.

10. Mindo – a must-visit for the eco-conscious traveller

Mindo is a must for the eco-conscious traveller.
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Located in a valley between Ecuador’s fantastic cloud forests and Andean summits, Mindo is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.

A favourite spot among eco-conscious travellers, Mindo is known for its diverse ecosystems, bamboo, timber homes and guesthouses, and the Mindo-Nambillo Ecological Reserve.

9. Guayaquil – the largest city in Ecuador

Guayaquil is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
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The city of Guayaquil is home to a fantastic 2.7 million people, making it the largest city in Ecuador.

Set on the banks of the Guayas River, this city was originally a Spanish settlement founded in 1538. This southern metropolis is distinctive today for its array of multicultural influences, colonial architecture, and lush gardens.

8. Mindo Cloudforest – a breathtaking experience

Mindo Cloudforest is a truly breathtaking experience.
Credit: Flickr / Picasa

If the name of this magical region alone doesn’t convince you, then we don’t know what will.

As the name suggests, Mindo Cloudforest is a lush forest located high up in the clouds. A truly incredible sight to behold, this astonishing ecosystem is home to over 400 species of birds and over 1000 species of butterflies.

7. Canoa – for beautiful beach vibes

Canoa is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
Credit: Pixabay / romanxavier

To experience one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador, you have to head to Canoa.

What was once a sleepy fishing village is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country.

Home to an incredible 17km (10.6 miles) golden sand beach backed by massive cliffs, this is the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and watch the waves roll in against the shore.

6. Cotopaxi National Park – delve into nature

Delve into nature at Cotopaxi National Park.
Credit: Pixabay / 8moments

If you want to delve deep into Ecuadorian nature, then you need to visit Cotopaxi National Park.

As one of the most famously beautiful places in the country, you can’t miss this spot while you’re here. This national park is to three volcanoes, one of which is among the highest active volcanoes in the world.

5. Otavalo – home to a colourful weekly market

Otavolo is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
Credit: Pixabay / DEZALB

If you want to dive into this South American country’s true life and culture, Otavalo is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.

Located high in the Northern Sierra ranges, this brilliant city is home to a buzzing weekly market offering everything from alpaca wool to jewellery to exquisite textiles and more.

4. Banos – the Gateway to the Amazon

Banos is known as the Gateway to the Amazon.
Credit: Flickr / Rinaldo Wurglitsch

Located at the foot of the active Tungurahua volcano, Banos is a must-visit when travelling through Ecuador.

Home to hot springs that are fed thermal waters of the volcano, Banos is one of the most popular tourist cities in the whole country. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Amazon’, this city is also a popular departure spot for many jungle tours.

3. Cuenca – full of colonial charm

Cuenca is one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.
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The capital of the Azuay province, Cuenca, is well-known for its colonial-style buildings and narrow cobbled streets.

This Spanish settlement was founded in 1557 and took its name from the Spanish city of the same name. The Ecuadorian city that we see today is oozing with history and charm on every street corner.

2. Quito – the capital of Ecuador

Quito is the capital of Ecuador.
Credit: Pixabay / DEZALB

As the highest capital city in the world at 2,800 m (9,350 ft) above sea level, Quito is one of the most bucket list-worthy destinations in all of Ecuador.

Located on the slopes of the active Pichincha Volcano in the Andes, Quito was one of the first-ever UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1978.

1. Galapagos Islands – the inspiration for Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection

The Galapagos Islands tops our list of best places to visit in Ecuador.
Credit: Pixabay / Gonzo1887

Topping our list of best places to visit in Ecuador is, unsurprisingly, the Galapagos Islands.

This tropical archipelago of 19 islands boasts an incredible array of unique wildlife. Unusual species you can find on the island include the Galapagos Penguin, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and more.

The top islands to visit are Isabela Island, Bartolome Island, Floreana Island, and Santa Cruz Island. However, each island has its own unique flair that is more than worth discovering.

Siân McQuillan
Siân McQuillan is a writer and travel lover from County Down, Northern Ireland. While she enjoys travelling to other countries and exploring new places, she loves nothing more than discovering all the wonders her home country of Ireland has to offer. When not writing about her travel experiences, Siân can be found exploring the great outdoors and will more than likely be somewhere near the Mourne Mountains or the Causeway Coast.

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