Ecuador is such a diverse country, it offers you way more than just a regular holiday experience. The national slogan “All you need is Ecuador” is absolutely true! No matter what kind of holiday you prefer – Ecuador provides everything! The diversity of this amazing, unique country is mostly based on the four different climate zones you can find in Ecuador: Amazonas, Andes, Coast and the Galapagos Islands. Since they are all very close to each other, you could easily visit all four “worlds” of Ecuador within one week of holiday. Despite this possibility, you might nevertheless spend way more time in each region due to all those great things to see and to do there.
In the eastern part of the country, the Amazon region, you can find luscious, green rainforests which display an enormous biodiversity. Thanks to the all-year-long hot and humid temperature, it is a paradise to many different species. You will see many different plants as well as many fish, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians you have never seen before! As most of the region just belongs to the nature and is preserved by the Ecuadorians, streets are not a common sight in the Amazon region. Instead, you will enjoy a ride on a dugout canoe whenever you wish a transfer. One of the most fascinating places in the Region is the Yasuni National Park – the most bio diverse place on the planet. In order to preserve this amazing nature including many endangered species, some part of the National Park is declared an “untouchable zone”. The only humans living in this part of the jungle are the Waorani, one of the indigenous tribes living in the Amazon region. But nevertheless, there is still a huge part of the Park that you can explore. Did you always want to see birds in colors you’ve never seen before? Do you want to see cheeky, energetic monkeys flying above your heads? Are you eager to search for and find tiny frogs or hiding insects? Just one question: are you daring to also encounter the big ones?
So, visiting the Amazon region is the best way to make your wishes come true! For cooler temperature lovers, the Andes region is where to go. The Temperatures here range between 9 degree minimum up to 22 degree maximum. The biggest city within the Andes is Quito – the capital of Ecuador, which is about 2800 meters above sea level. Due to this, you might take a few days to acclimate to the thin air that goes along with the high altitude. Daily things like having a walk while talking to your travel mates can easily make you breathe heavily the first one or two days. Coming from a western country, you will accustom quickly to the appearance of the city. Due to the influence of the Spanish colonization, many buildings in the old town of Quito display the charm of the colonial style. This old part of the city as well as the modern, new part of Quito look quite similar than common western cities. What makes the difference, is the lifestyle in Quito. Meeting the people living in Quito, you will encounter a warm friendliness which makes you feel welcome from the first day on. For your stay, you can choose between a wide range of low-cost hostels or private shelters up to really fancy and luxurious hotels. Having your temporary home in Quito, you can easily explore the city as well as its surroundings. If you prefer sightseeing-holidays, you can go on a city tour, visit several museums, stunning churches and lovely parks always having a break in-between enjoying the Ecuadorian or international food offered everywhere. If you love a great view don’t forget to go on the TelefériQo – a cable car which transports you to a hill in front of the Pichincha volcano and grants you a phenomenal view over whole Quito and its surrounding mountains. Thanks to the mountainous environment, you have various possibilities to get active. You can hike the Pichincha volcano, go there by horseback riding or rent a mountain bike to enjoy your way through the mountain. Within less than 2 hours, you can visit the Otavalo market for buying regional handicrafts, or be at the foot of the Cotopaxi volcano or even visit the Mindo’s rainforest towards the west of Quito. Also a part of the Andes region is the city Cuenca in the southern part of Ecuador, its stunning historic area is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you should definitely visit the cathedrals, monasteries and enjoy the fascinating art of building. You can also visit the nearby Cañar plantation and discover Ingapirca, the biggest ruins of the Inca Empire in Ecuador. For enjoying the beach and all its activities visit the coast region of Ecuador. It offers you the possibility to relax, enjoying the sun and a cold drink while getting tanned.
For a more active holiday, you can choose to go surfing, kitesurfing or enjoy other sportive activities. For observing the beautiful underwater-world of Ecuador, you can either go snorkeling or diving. In case you don’t like to get wet but want to see some great inhabitants of the sea, you can also go on a whale watching tour. For enjoying the nature of Ecuador’s’ coastal line, you can visit one of the many reserves which display an amazing nature.
If you want to see some big city lights, just visit Guayaquil – the largest city in Ecuador. You can enjoy its long history in plenty museums, visit the churches and enjoy delicious food. Having a ride on “La Perla”, a huge Ferris wheel at the sea side, you can enjoy an overview of the city and even if you want to escape the city life for a while, just visit one of Guayaquil’s parks. One of the most special parks is the “Parque de las Iguanas”, where you will encounter many iguanas.
Connecting the coastal city of Guayaquil and Quito in the Andes is the “Tren Crucero“. This train provides a journey of four days from Quito to Guayaquil (or the other way round) containing sight-seeing and meals of fine cuisine. This award-winning train might be the most luxurious way to get from one city to the other.
The Galapagos-Islands are surely the most famous part of Ecuador. Maybe you planned on visiting them even before knowing Ecuador existed. Due to the unique nature of the archipelago, it is really worth a visit! Flora, fauna and even the rocks are breath taking! The islands as well as its surrounding sea offer you a whole enchanted world to explore. You can see giant turtles, iguanas, blue-footed boobies and cormorants, just to name a few. Many of the animals you will see, are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. For exploring the islands, just go hiking there. Many certified tourist guides will share their infinite knowledge about the Galapagos’ history, flora and fauna with you. While going sea kayaking, you might already encounter some curious sea lions visiting you on your boat. If you go snorkeling or diving, you will have the opportunity to swim with them as well as with penguins, turtles and hammerheads. If you are lucky, you can even see humpback whales or the giant whale shark.
Since there are so many islands – each with its own charm, it might be a good advice to do island hopping or even book a cruise to get the most out of your visit at the Galapagos islands.