Ecuador is becoming a hot tourist destination in its own right. Nestled between the Andes and the Pacific, it offers a unique blend of wildlife, culturally interesting cities, and natural wonders.
So where should you go? Let’s take a look.
The Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are famous all over the world for being the place that inspired Charles Darwin to write his game-changing magnum opus, The Origin of Species. Discovered by Westerners in the 16th century, these islands (a part of Ecuador), are home to some of the world’s most spectacular and unusual species, cut off from the mainland.
Because the islands are more than 1,000 km off the coast, vast areas of them remain totally unspoilt. Tours here give you a chance to see the island’s rare wild bird species, including the flightless cormorant and the waved albatross, along with Darwin’s finches.
Town Of Guayaquil
The town of Guayaquil is becoming a popular tourist hotspot, thanks to its historical significance. Here you’ll find old churches, cafés, and various museums all paying homage to the local area. Take the Presley Norton Museum, for instance. It houses more than 8,000 artistic works from the pre-Columbian Valdivia culture. You can also pay a visit to the Parque Histórico zoo where post animals are kept in wide open pens for easy photography. There are also numerous beautiful hotels in Guayaquil to suit every traveler’s needs.
Other great places to visit if you stay here include:
- The Torre de Reloj, a clock tower with a long history in the city.
- The Point, a modern structure designed by Christian Wiese and currently the tallest building in Ecuador
- The Gardens of Malecón 2000, a preserve containing many flowering plants, and native tree species, including bromeliads and orchids
Quito is Ecuador’s ancient Andean capital city and home to some of the best-preserved examples of colonial architecture in the world. Today, much of the urban area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including public squares, churches and museums.
But Quito isn’t just a small backwater. It’s home to more than 1.6 million people, making it around the same size as the city of Baltimore. Go there if you are someone who loves to shop for arts and crafts, colorful clothing and ceramics.
Cotopaxi and Cajas National Parks
If you’re looking to get away from civilization and just experience the extraordinary natural beauty of Ecuador, then the Cotopaxi and Cajas National Parks are the place to do it. Both are within driving distance of the cities of Cuenca and Quito and if you go to Cotopaxi, you’ll have the chance to see towering volcanoes up close.
The Naz del Diablo
Lastly, you might want to check out the Naz del Diablo, also called The Devil’s Nose. Near the town of Alausi, the best way to see this part of the country is via the restored train line that runs through the area. Vast sections of it are hewn out of the rock, hundreds of feet above the valley below, providing spectacular views.