“Anybody who has been to Ecuador wants to go back
because it is beautiful out there.” – Michael Steger
Traveling through Ecuador, we were stunned by a vast variety of landscape, flora, and fauna. Some people don’t realize that the world-famous Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador. Many trips to the Galapagos start from this small country.
In Quito, the capital of Ecuador, you can go to the monument called Mitad Del Mundo – the Middle of the Earth. You can stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere, while the other foot will be planted in the southern hemisphere. The yellow line of the equator will be between your feet. Take a picture, but keep in mind that the real Equator is several hundred feet to the north.
Visit Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. Walk on the modernized riverfront (Malecon 2000) overlooking the Guayas River. Stop for a tasty local snack or a cup of excellent Ecuadorian coffee. From the boardwalk, you can climb 444 steps to the top of the hill. From there, ascent the observation platform of the lighthouse (El Faro de Guayaquil). You will be rewarded with the sweeping views of the river.
In a small park near the river, you can feed iguanas or watch other people doing it. Make sure that you stay in a hotel close to the riverfront – it is safer and more convenient for sightseeing.
Ecuador is famous for its’ coffee and chocolate. Try to visit one of the cacao plantations. You will see the cacao trees up close. Cacao fruits are growing right from the trunk. Watch the process of cleaning and drying cacao beans, try a piece of chocolate or drink freshly-made hot chocolate.
The Amazon river area will surprise you with unusual creatures: moths the size of a small bird (beautiful, but too scary for me to touch), the beetle larvae which can be eaten live (yikes!) or grilled.
Our bus driver ate a whole live beetle larva (about one inch long and still wriggling) to show us how delicious it is. No one agreed to follow his example. But, a few of us tried it grilled. It was delicious and tasted like seafood.
Thinking about joining a tour which includes a raft ride on the river? Go for it! Our group took a trip on the rustic rafts made out of logs. We floated downstream on Napo, one of the tributaries of the Amazon River. It was an unforgettable adventure.
The town of Banos has many spas where you can soak in the naturally heated thermal baths; that’s why this city is called Banos. Several places will offer you a very inexpensive massage (it was heavenly!).
Many tourists and locals enjoy the train trip to the Devil’s Nose (Nariz del Diablo). It offers the endless vistas of the Ecuadorian Highlands.
If you love birds, visit the Colibri (hummingbird) preserve. You will see a vast variety of these tiny creatures flying from one flower to another.
Where to sleep in Ecuador
(select accommodation from the best hotel booking sites)
- HotelsCombined.com (Compare all the top travel sites in one simple search)
- Trivago.com (Find your ideal hotel and compare prices from different websites)
- Booking.com (Over 2,119,000 hotels online. Hostels. Apartments. Motels)
- Priceline.com (Find a lower price, you’ll get a refund 100% of the difference)
- Hotels.com (Book now, pay when you stay)
- Travelocity.com (The price match guarantee. Free changes & cancellations)
- Expedia.com (Sign up for member prices and you could save 10% or more)
- Agoda.com (Guaranteed lowest price on hotels, resorts,
hostels, homes & more)
- HostelWorld.com (Stay in a hostel and meet the real world, not the tourist brochure)
Book your flight to Ecuador
Best time to visit Ecuador
From December to January and from April to May.
If you decide to go to the Galapagos Islands, we advise you to bring medication for seasickness. The ships and ferries that transfer you between islands are quite small. You can never predict the weather and the size of the waves.