Most Popular Places to Visit in Ecuador 2023, Top Attractions

Best Places to Visit in Ecuador, Top Attractions

Ecuador is a country that offers something for everyone. This begins with almost 1,000 miles of coastline with great beaches, thence to the Andes Mountains and tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin. It even extends out to the remote Galapagos Islands with its fantastic wildlife. In between, visitors will find large cities offering luxurious amenities as well as small native villages known for their colorful markets. An overview of the best places to visit in Ecuador. Ecuador is a country that offers something for everyone. This begins with almost 1,000 miles of coastline with great beaches, thence to the Andes Mountains and tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin. It even extends out to the remote Galapagos Islands with its fantastic wildlife. In between, visitors will find large cities offering luxurious amenities as well as small native villages known for their colorful markets. An overview of the best places to visit in Ecuador. More than making up for its small size with an array of Indigenous cultures, colonial architecture, scenic landscapes, and dense rainforests, Ecuador is one of the most fascinating nations in South America. Bordered by Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean on the continent's west coast-and no larger than most US states-this beautiful country of nearly 18 million people attracts tourists from across the globe for a myriad of reasons. For outdoor sports enthusiasts, there are endless climbing and trekking adventures to partake in. For nature lovers, it's Ecuador's lush, ecologically important forests that are the big draw, while wildlife watchers will also gravitate to its famous Galápagos Islands. And for sun seekers? Ecuador's pristine tropical beaches are widely considered to be among the best and least spoiled in the world. Once a part of both the Inca and, later, the Spanish Empires, Ecuador still displays many influences from both groups. These lasting influences are perhaps nowhere more notable than in the rich culture of its people, and the splendid colonial architecture of the capital city of Quito, much of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

#1- Quito
The capital city of Ecuador is a mandatory place to visit on your trip to the beautiful country. Located at a high altitude, the city is a great mix of different cultures and is one of the first cities that were listed under UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its cobbled streets will make you fall in love with it.

#2- Guamote
If you are looking for a peaceful expedition, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, then you should visit Guamote. The beautiful scene of mud-brick homes and block buildings will leave you awestruck! It is also known for its Thursday market which offers unique souvenirs like trinkets, multi-colored frocks, and more and is definitely one of the interesting places to visit in Ecuador.

#3- Tena
If you want to have an offbeat vacation wherein you just step into the wild, away from the city’s noise, then Tena is your place to be. Located on the edge of the Amazon basin, Tena is a small town and attracts lots of backpackers with its aesthetical charm.

#4- Vilcabamba
For a royal retreat, head to Vilcabamba! It is a beautifully built town nestled between Podocarpus national forest and Mount Mandingo. From horseback riding and hiking to spa sessions and sightseeing, it offers a mix of everything.

#5- Cotopaxi
One of the most exotic places in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is a must-visit. If you want to witness the backcountry, then this is the place to be. Not only can you absorb the magic and charm of the place but also hike to the permanent ice field there.

#6- Guayaquil
Being the country’s largest populated city, Guayaquil is often considered as the commercial hub of Ecuador with multiple entertainment venues to shop from and dine at. The famous Malecon 2000, which is a boardwalk along the serene Guayas river is an essential to end your action-packed tour. You can explore the various historical sites as also offered by The Parque Historico Guayaqui with a free entry. It can be really overwhelming for the tourists visiting the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporaneo which illustrates the country’s famed culture and rich history.

#7- Quito
Why Quito? Well, you surely cannot afford to miss the renowned capital city crowned as yet another World Heritage Site with public squares, informative giant museums and churches dating back to almost two centuries! Famous for the historic buildings and grand structures displaying a peek into the old forms of architecture, the palaces around the city like the Carondolet Palace and the Presidential Palace stand proud in all glory. You can also stop by to admire Archbishop’s Palace and Municipal Palace while exploring Quito’s popular cathedrals like Basílica del Voto Nacional and churches like La Compania de Jesus Church and San Francisco Church.

#8- Nariz Del Diablo
Located in Riobamba, Nariz Del Diablo, or the Devil’s nose is a restored railway covering the routes opening to the country’s most breathtaking views amid the Andes mountains. For some folks, it is also considered to be a mandatory bucket list item. You can witness the most splendid views lying between the towns of Aluasi and Sibambe which is where the train begins its journey, going all the way up to the staion crossing the vertical sides of the mountains. Visiting the Puñuna Condor Museum is also some of the things to do around this route of devil’s nose. Are you on board?

#9- Banos
Despite being a small town, Banos is one of the most famous tourist destination in Ecuador due to having several hot springs abode. Lying at the bottom of an active volcano called as Tungurahua, this places offers the most spectacular Ecuador sightseeing spots in the country with multiple waterfalls flowing down to the river. Due to its location at the corner of Amazon basin, mountain biking and hiking are some of the fun activities you can do around the place. Be sure to try the famous candy ‘melcocha’ here while shopping for some local goods to take back home.

#10- Salinas
With several high-rise condos spread across the shoreline, Salinas’ beach, also known as the Little Miami beach, is famous amogst the surfers and folks with yachts. Topping the list of hidden places in Ecuador, this is surely the place for a relaxed and laid-back vacation if you wish to soak in more sun and sand during your visit. The winter months of December and January are ideal to visit this beach paradise while you might want to keep your luggage light as the weather is pleasant here throughout the year. You can also spot some sea-turtes laying their eggs near the shore during your beach time!

#11- Quilotoa Loop
A quiet introspection through the mountains is something you might need after a choatic schedule in your daily routine. Heading to Ecuador requires a must-visit to this spectacular loop, which connects several hiking trails crossing the remote villages of Andean, offering you the gorgeous views of the famous crater lake. You can of course, take a bus to shorten your hike and tour around the villages but missing out on the splendid views that you can cover on your hike, is not something we would advise.

#12- Otavalo
This place in Ecuador will give you all the reasons why shopping on your vacation is highly important. The vibrant markets here display handmade crafts for sale, along with leather items and jewelley with a variety of textiles, famous in Andes city. It is the most favouable place for photographers with exclusive shots of locals wearing their traditional outfits and snowcapped mountains in the background. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, you can enjoy the main market’s gleeful vibes here and inspite of whether these markets are there or not, you can also buy the handmade products in the Plaza de los Ponchos.

#13- Galapagos Island
Heard about these volcanic islands yet? Well, if not, here’s your chance to visit and see for yourself. What better way to learn about these glorious Galápagos with a distinctive ecosystem located in the eastern Pacific Ocean. While spotting the penguins, sea lions and iguanas around the region won’t be a problem, measures have been taken to maintain the upkeep of the national park, due to which some areas have a restricted access. But, the good news is that you can surely visit with a certified tour guide to have a reviving encounter with the nature’s own!

#14- Mindo
A village like Mindo in the Andes mountains will never disappoint you when you’re on a high energy level. For some travelers, when a soothing vacation amidst nature isn’t enough, places like Mindo offer adventurous activities to enliven your trip! You can choose between a range of fun activities like rafting, mountain-biking, hiking and horse riding. What’s more is that you can also learn about the process of chocolate making at El Quetzal del Mindo along with bird-watching. Soaking in the naturaly beauty of this place with farmlands, several streams and three main rivers, it provides the perfect outing for a family trip.

#15- Cuenca
This one is famous for its festivals hosted in the months of November and January. Visiting this city, you will come across the fascinating old buildings from the colonial period with balconied houses, cobbled streets and white old-styled churches. This is one of the factors that makes this city a delight to be covered by foot mainly. Nevertheless, both Old and New Cathedral of Cuenca along with the Church of San Sebastian and Museum of Religious Arts are some of the places you should check out in this colourful city, also a World Heritage Site now.


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