Ecuador vacation: how to enjoy it the most?
Are you wondering about your next Ecuador vacation?
Stunning beaches, breathtaking mountains, magnificent colonial architecture, unique flora and fauna, and the exact place where north and south hemispheres meet… you have a lot to look forward to!
Here I’ll share with you some insider tips on where, when, and how to make your Ecuador experience unforgettable!
Amazing places to visit during your Ecuador vacation
Are you ready to discover the highlights of your next Ecuador vacation?
- Galapagos Islands: Home of giant turtles, sea iguanas, and blue foot boobies, among other unique species. Here are also found some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.
- Quito: Wander through the colonial architecture and well-kept parks. Enjoy the best views of the city from the Panecillo or the Teleférico. Just outside Quito can be found La Mitad del Mundo (the Equator line), Otavalo with its colorful indigenous market, and Mindo, a magical town full of birds, butterflies, and orchids.
- Cotopaxi National Park: The Cotopaxi volcano is an obligatory stop for climbers and adventurers. This place is literally breathtaking!
- Quilotoa Lake: Hidden in the mountains, you’ll find yourself standing on the edge of a crater gazing into turquoise waters. If you are lucky enough to be there on a cloudless night, you might see the Milky Way!
- Cuenca: In one of the most beautiful Andean cities, take the time to visit the flower markets and colonial houses. From Cuenca, you can easily head to El Cajas National Park and the Inca ruins at Ingapirca.
- Baños: It is home of the majestic Tungurahua volcano, whose waters feed the town’s famous hot springs. Don’t forget to pay a visit to El Pailón del Diablo waterfall and the Swing at the End of the World. The best part: you can visit all these places by bike or buggy car!
- Riobamba: This mountain city is the best place to organize hiking and biking adventures in the Chimborazo National Park. Did you know that the Chimborazo volcano is the farthest point from Earth’s center? Riobamba is also the departure point for the Ice Train, and it’s only a couple of hours from Alausí, from where you can ride the Devil’s Nose railway.
- Loja: This small city located in the southern Ecuadorian Andes is considered the cultural capital of the country because of its music scene. Only 45 minutes from Loja, Vilcabamba is known for the longevity of its inhabitants – some claim to be more than 100 years old!
- Guayaquil: The city’s famous attractions include the Iguana Park, the Malecón 2000, and the colorful Las Peñas neighborhood. Try the traditional dish of encebollado, a spicy hot soup made from tuna fish, cassava and red onions. Ecuadorians claim it’s the ultimate medicine for hangovers!
- Montañita: Have you ever celebrated New Year’s Eve catching epic waves with your buddies? If not, you definitely have to visit this little town, known for its surf, parties, and stunning sunsets. In Machalilla National Park – only 45 minutes from Montañita – you’ll enjoy Los Frailes beach and the awesome show of leaping humpback whales (from June to October).
- Yasuni National Park: This spectacular area of rainforest was declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve due to its uniquely rich flora and fauna.
- Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve: This tropical lowland is filled with rivers and lakes, offering the best conditions to observe animals such as caimans.
- Puyo and Tena, these are two of the main Amazon cities, so don’t expect to see any monkeys walking around the streets, but from here you can book jungle trips to visit indigenous communities. You will love it!
Best dates to visit Ecuador
It’s always a good time of year for an Ecuador vacation!
- Sierra: From June to September. Besides the good weather, you can also take part in some traditional events such as Corpus Christi (Cuenca), the Yamor festival (Otavalo), or the Mama Negra street party (Latacunga).
- Coast: From December to May. Endless sunny days and the most spectacular beach sunsets. Don’t forget that New Year’s Eve and Carnival happen during these months, so why not join the celebrations?
- Amazon: From April to June is the best time to navigate the rivers and spot wildlife from a canoe. If you are more into trekking, you should visit the rainforest from July to October.
- Galapagos: From November to May is considered the warmest season on the Islands, with better visibility underwater and perfect weather for sunbathing!
How to prepare for your trip
Besides a good camera, sunglasses and heaps of sunscreen – remember, this is the Equator! – there are a few things to consider ahead of your Ecuador vacation.
To be honest, the risk of getting hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, rabies or yellow fever is very low, but it’s not a bad idea to check on your immunizations at least a month prior to your travel.
When you enter Ecuador you’ll be given a 90-day permit stamp upon arrival (issuable once per year). If you plan to stay in this paradise beyond that time, you need to get a visa just before the permit is about to expire. Check the Ecuador Interior Ministry web page for more information.
This could be confusing, especially if your travel includes coast, mountains, and rainforest, so let’s be practical! Bring warm clothes, a jacket, and a plastic poncho for the mountains; shorts, a hat, and swimwear for the coast and the Galapagos; and lightweight long pants, long-sleeved tops, rubber boots (you can get these in Ecuador but only in Ecuadorian – small – sizes) and a good repellent for the rainforest.
Also pack some earplugs to stay sane through the noisier moments of the Ecuadorian lifestyle, a good padlock for your luggage and few power adaptors to charge your devices.
¿Hablas español? ¿No? Don’t worry, you’ll survive!
In most of the main cities or touristic places, Ecuadorians speak decent English and they like to practice their skills with travelers. To learn some basics, there are some good apps available for your mobile and a lot of excellent Spanish schools in Ecuador.
Wanderbus wants you to have the best Ecuador vacation, that’s why we offer a variety of options for visiting the highlights of this amazing country.
Check the following passes, book your favorite, choose your dates, grab a beer, and relax!
- Wander Pass: This circular route takes you to the main touristic sites in Ecuador, such as Quito, Quilotoa, Baños, Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Montanita.
- Wander Pass + Amazona Pass: This pass takes the Wander Pass and adds a visit to Misahuallí (in the rainforest).
- Wander Pass Express: This covers the best of the mountains, from Quito to Baños. It takes you to Misahualli and then back to Quito!
- Condor Pass: From mountain climbing to surfing, this pass starts in Quito, heads south through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Baños. It’ll take you to Cuenca, a cacao farm and then to Montanita.
But hey! These are only a few of the many options Wanderbus offers you. Check all of our passes website for more alternatives.
¡Nos vemos en Ecuador!