Are you trying to figure out the best options for discovering the hidden wonders of Ecuador? Undoubtedly the best way to explore and fall in love with this country is to travel by road, so keep reading for our recommendations on the most incredible Ecuador land tours.
Ecuador, a small yet beautiful country that amazes everyone who visits it, is the fusion of 4 climate regions: the Pacific Coast, the Sierra (highlands), the Amazon Rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands.
You may already know that you can experience 3 of these regions in less than 12 hours if you traverse Ecuador from west to east (or vice versa).
On these types of land tours, you will experience 3 different worlds in one day, with different weather, different vegetation, different communities, different food, and different altitudes (keep this last point in mind if you suffer from rapid changes in altitude).
If you prefer to explore more slowly, one region at a time (to avoid the constant altitude change) you could travel from the north to the south of the country (or vice versa).
Whatever your preference, Wanderbus has come up with some of the best options for Ecuador land tours to make your experience as comfortable and unforgettable as possible. And here are our top 7 choices for you.
COLIBRÍ PASS: the beauty of the Ecuadorian highlands
This option takes you from the Ecuadorian capital city of Quito south to the magnificent colonial city of Cuenca. With this tour, you get the chance to witness the highest Ecuadorian peaks as you pass through the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”
- Get a close up of the colossus Cotopaxi Volcano.
- Observe a crater lake at Quilotoa.
- Get your adrenaline fix with extreme sports in Baños.
- Visit an indigenous market in Ozogoche.
CURIQUINGUE PASS: between colonial cities, via beaches and cloud forest
If you are traveling south to north, feel like soaking your feet in Pacific waters, and your final destination is Quito, then this is your ideal option.
- Depart from the beautiful city of Cuenca
- Pay a visit to the Cajas National Park (don’t forget your raincoat)
- Try your hand at making chocolate at a cacao farm
- Visit the vibrant metropolis of Guayaquil and the Guayas River
- Enjoy a fruity cocktail after a surf lesson in Montañita
- Indulge yourself with the best seafood in Puerto López
- Gaze at the astonishing hues of the turquoise waters of the Pacific beaches
- Get a glimpse of life on a coastal farm owned by a local family.
As you leave the beaches behind and start to climb, visit an orchid farm or a butterfly garden in the cloud forest town of Mindo before heading to the high altitudes of Quito.
CÓNDOR PASS: from the capital city to the surf mecca
This option is tailor-made for those who have more than a week to spend in Ecuador, and want to experience the best of the highlands and the coast. After following the same route as the Colibri Pass, you will then continue your journey to the coast. En route, you will:
- Have a glimpse of the Cajas National Park
- Have a chance to sample the best Ecuadorian cacao near Guayaquil
- Heading to Montanita to enjoy the most breathtaking sunsets.
TUCAN PASS: from the thermal baths of the mountains to the warm waters of the Pacific
If you want to get the most out of Ecuador in a short time, this is the ideal pass for you!
- Start your quest in the incredible city of Baños
- Head south to the famous indigenous market in Ozogoche.
- Visit charming Cuenca, considered by most travelers as the most beautiful colonial city in Ecuador due to its Spanish architecture and its cultural riches.
- Get your camera ready for the most beautiful landscapes in the Cajas National Park
- Visit a cacao farm en route to Guayaquil (don’ forget to pay a visit to the iguanas at Seminario Park!).
- Be ready to soak your body in the warm Pacific waters of Montanita.
Did I mention the cocktails and the surfing already?
GARZA PASS: from the Pacific Ocean up, up, up to the Middle of the World
Are you on the coast and want to visit Quito but still haven’t had your fill of the Pacific Ocean? Then pick this Ecuador land tour! It will take you either from Guayaquil or Montanita north to Puerto López.
If you’re visiting between June and October, you will not want to miss the spectacular show of humpback whales leaping out of the ocean, best viewed on a whale-watching day-trip boat tour from Puerto López.
- Get involved in the daily life of an Ecuadorian family by visiting an organic fruit farm
- Keep traveling north to Mindo, a magical town full of wildlife.
- Finally, get ready to visit Quito and its historical sites.
WANDER PASS EXPRESS: the magic of the volcanoes and the Ecuadorian jungle
Your time is quite short and you don’t want to miss out on adrenaline and adventure? No worries, this option is for you! But first, don’t forget that the Ecuadorian highlands are really high, so give your body a couple of days to adapt to the changes in altitude during this trip.
- You will depart from Quito before heading south to the Cotopaxi Volcano (yes, the adventure has begun!).
- Your next destination will be Quilotoa, the crater lake!
- And then… whitewater rafting, zip-lining, trekking, bungee jumping … in one word, Baños!
- Not enough? Get your inner Tarzan out by spending some time with monkeys in Misahuallí.
- And then, the treat you deserve after all that adventure is waiting for you: the Papallacta hot springs are your final stop before heading back to Quito.
WANDER PASS: loop around Ecuador with us!
Let’s face it! You have been completely won over by this charming country, and you haven’t even started traveling yet! At this point, you will probably want to visit every single place I’ve mentioned! So click here and check out the itinerary that allows you to do exactly that.
After this unbeatable adventure, you may want to stay forever in Ecuador, the land of the four worlds!