Ecuador Activities

Travelers will find an enormous variety of things to do in Ecuador that it might be hard to know where to start. From the sunny beaches of the Ecuadorian coast to the dense jungles of the Amazon, Ecuador has natural wonders, rich culture, and plenty of things to keep you busy.

Cultural Things to Do In Ecuador
If you’re spending a few days in Quito, climb the towers of the La Basílica del Voto Nacional and get a great view of the colonial Centro Historico. Take a trip north to the artisan markets of Otavalo and or head down to the colonial town of Cuenca where you can relax in the Cuenca Central Park under the Abdón Calderón monument.

Things to Do in Ecuador in the Amazon

The diverse landscapes of the Amazon drawn adventurers from all over the world. Visitors can fill their days hiking around the jungle, fishing for piranhas, swimming with pink dolphins, or canoeing down an Amazonian river.

Things to Do in Ecuador on the Coast

From whale watching in Puerto López to surfing on the waves of Montañita the Ecuadorian coast is a unique region of the country that offers its visitors endless things to see and do. Eat civiche on the beaches of Canoa or take a cruise to the Galápagos Islands where you can observe wildlife you won’t see anywhere else on earth.

Things to Do in Ecuador in the Andes

Climb the glaciers of Cotopaxi, the world’s largest active volcano, or take a dip in the hot springs of Pasochoa. Stop off in Baños, known as the city of spas, where you can mountain bike to waterfalls, horseback ride to the active volcano of Tungurahua or relax in one of the town’s many thermal baths. The high peaks and gorgeous valleys offer hikers countless trails to explore and the natural wonders of the area are waiting to be explored.

  • TelefériQo
    Quito's best-known tourist attraction offers some of the most spectacular and most easily accessible views of the city. There are 18 gondolas that soar up the side of Quito's western mountain range along the Pichincha Volcanoes. The ride lasts only 10 minutes but takes you to an altitude of 4,050
  • Tortuga Bay
    Tortuga Bay is a pristine, gorgeous white sand beach located within walking distance from Puerto Ayora. It's part of the park system, but it's free and you don't need a naturalist guide to go there. It's popular with locals and often you'll see families there on weekends. The trail to get
  • Land-Based Galápagos Tours
    Combination tours, or land-based tours, are similar to navigable tours in that they combine visits to land and marine sites in the archipelago. The major difference is that combination tours include lodging on land and are limited to sites within a finite radius of the hub town, either Puerto Ayora, Scuba Iguana has been leading diving tours since 1995. They offer scuba diving tours and diving cruises, as well as tours for non-divers. Tours range from day boat tri
  • La Basílica del Voto Nacional
    A relatively new addition to the Quito skyline, and now one of its most striking landmarks, is the Basilica del Voto Nacional, or simply "the Basilica." Consecrated in 1988 (though still technically unfinished), the church stands on a steep hill to the northeast of the Centro Histórico and can be
  • Parque Calderón
    Cuenca's beautifully tended central park, Parque Calderón, is an attractive, expansive area of flowers and trees. The park is dominated by a monument to Abdón Calderón, a young cuencano who fought valiantly at the battle of Pichincha in 1822, a pivotal confrontation in Ecuador's struggle
  • Catedral de la Inmaculada (New Cathedral)
    The massive brick facade and sky-blue domes of Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción make the building one of the most recognizable (and photographed) in Cuenca. La Inmaculada, which is dubbed the "New Cathedral" to distinguish it from El Sagrario, dates to 1885. The entrance of La
  • Cascadas hike
    One of the few good hiking opportunities around Mindo can be found at the waterfalls tour a few kilometers out of town. You reach the beginning of the path by zipping over the valley in the cable car (tarabit
  • Canopy Tour
    If you like the idea of flying above and across Mindo's cloud forest, like a modern-day Tarzan, a canopy tour is definitely for you. Canopy Adventures, a company with over 10 years' experience in Costa Rica, has installed a circuit of 11 different zip lines spanning the valleys and hills above Mind
  • Parque El Ejido
    On the southern edge of the Mariscal, the big, grassy Parque El Ejido is fairly empty on weekdays, but fills up at weekends with whole extended families and their lunches—though with the scores of footballing youths that also frequent the park, it can't make for very relaxing picnicking. Most
  • Parque Metropolitano
    This is Quito's biggest park and one of the largest city parks in Latin America. Set up on a hill overlooking Quito on one side and the valleys outside of Quito on the other, Parque Metropolitano is a maze of forest paths, roads, sports fields and picnic areas. Most of the trees are eucalyptus, whi
  • Plaza De Toros
    The best place to see one of the traditional, and controversial, bullfights in Quito is the Plaza de Toros Monumental, in the northern neighborhood of Jipijapa. The 15,000-seat venue was built in 1960, and sees the most use during the Fiestas de Quito (late November to early December), when there a
  • Nearby Beaches
    Puerto Baquerizo Moreno has several inter- esting visitor sites nearby. You should definitely check out the visitor's center and the trails behind it, which lead to a great beach (Cabo de Hornos) and a superior snorkeling lagoon (Cerro Tijeretas). In the town, Playa Mann (across from the univer
  • Plaza San Francisco
    The cobbled Plaza de San Francisco is one of Quito's oldest and most impressive sights, including, as it does, views of the magnificently white Monastery of San Francisco and, in the distance, the towering peak of Volcán Pichincha. The plaza is located on the site where the palace of the Inca rul
  • Frog Concert
    One of the activities you might hear about during your stay in Mindo is the area's “frog concert.” This show takes place nightly at 6:30 p.m., just outside of town at a lodge called Mindo Lago. While the event has an enticing title, the concert unfortunately does not actually involve any
  • Fuya Fuya
    Fuya Fuya is located 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) south of Otavalo. Trails on the mountain offer straightforward climbs with spectacular views of the Lagunas de Mojanda, three pristine lakes located at the base of the mountain, and wide expanses of páramo grasslands. Getting to Fuya Fuya Fr
  • Parque Cóndor Otavalo
    Parque Cóndor is a non-profit wildlife refuge for owls and raptors, including the endangered Andean Condor. It seeks to rescue, protect and rehabilitate these birds and, if possible, release them back into the wild. Those that cannot be released become the stars of an educational bird show hel
  • Hiking in Papallacta
    Papallacta, located approximately 60 kilometers east of Quito, is best known for its magnificent volcanic hot springs. Nevertheless, there is a rewarding three-hour hike through páramo and patches of cloud forest just behind the Termas de Papallacta Resort (see The 15,700 hectare reserve of El Ángel is a wild area of golden páramo (spongy grasslands) which lies in the northern region of the Carchi province, at an altitude ranging from 3,700 to 4,800m. The reserve is best known for the curious frailejón flowers that dot the landsc
  • Ecuador Horseback Riding and Tours
    Ecuador provides riding enthusiasts with a surprising range of excellent opportunities. You can jaunt high in the Andes through the páramo grasslands and plains with snow-capped volcanoes as a backdrop; through lowland tropical rain forest; or even throu
  • Huerto Eden wildlife rescue center
    Just four kilometers (2.5 mi) outside Macas, in a lovely five-hectare (12.3-ac) park, retired veterinarian Dr. Vázquez and his family have created a wildlife sanctuary for all the wild animals that were once bought as pets and then discarded: turtles, parrots, a dozen different monkeys, a coati, a
  • El Palacio Arzobispal (The Archbishop's Palace)
    Opposite the cathedral in the Plaza Grande, the former Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace) now houses a row of shops, ranging from delicatessens to clothing stores. During the last few years, the central courtyard of the palace—with its whitewashed walls and wooden balconies—has been
  • Ecuador Hiking
    There are a number of excellent trips through the Andean páramo (grassland) which features spectacular views of Ecuador's volcanic peaks. The most popular, longer treks are the Trek de Condor, which passes the often cloud-shrouded Antisana and ends at the Cotopaxi Volcano; and the Ingapirca Trek w
  • Horseback Riding Chimborazo
    Head on out for a high altitude horse back adventure across the ruggedly beautiful Chimborazo highlands, known only to herds of wild Llamas and remote communities who live in the mountains far from civilisation. Saddle up on a horse and witness the contrast between the rugged and rocky lunar landsc
  • Punta Espinosa
    Fernandina's only visitor site, Punta Espinosa is a great place to see some Galapagos wildlife that you don't often see. Most noteworthy is the endemic flightless cormorant, which is only found in western islands. After a dry-ish landin
  • Parque Jipiro
    One of the best known parks in Loja, Jipiro is north of the city and spans 10 hectares (25 ac). There is a lake, sports fields, a "cyber train" with Internet service, a zoo and pools, as well as many replicas of the world's great buildings. It is a great place to take a stroll. On the weekends it f
  • Whimbrels in Galapagos
    Brown, medium-sized birds commonly sighted along the seashore, whimbrels are most easily identified by their long, narrow, curved beaks. They're common in Galapagos and in much of the world. Whimbrels migrate, preferring to nest in colder northern climes. Whimbrels eat small fish, insects and crusta
  • Darwin's Finches
    The 13 species of Darwin's Finches (genus Geospiza, pinzón) that are found in the Galápagos are perhaps the most famous and sought-after land birds on the islands, given the ecological significance of differences in species' beak morphology and its link to feeding behavior. All of the fin
  • Iglesia El Sagrario (Old Cathedral)
    The Iglesia El Sagrario, also known as the Old Cathedral, sits across the Parque Calderón from La Inmaculada, and is well worth a visit. If you wander inside, you'll see no pews or altars, but many interesting artifacts. There is even a glass window in the floor through which you can see a small s
  • Palacio del Gobierno
    The building on the northwestern side of the plaza above the row of arched, hole-in-the-wall shops, is the Palacio del Gobierno (Presidential Palace), also called Carondelet. The palace is open to the public. The half-hour to 40 minutes tours take visitors into several lavishly decorated salons. Th
  • Parque Alameda
    Between Old Town and New Town, the small triangular Parque Alameda is the closest open space to the Centro Histórico, and therefore one of the busiest in the city. The grassy banks of the boating lake are particularly popular with picnicking families during the weekends, while other areas are take
  • Tienda Fundación Chankuap
    This fair trade shop founded by a Salesian father distributes crafts and organic food products made by the Shuar and Achuar communities of the Morona province. All the cosmetics and herbal infusions are made from aromatic plants picked in the Amazon basin, and the jewelry incorporates seeds, feathe
  • Mockingbird
    There are four similarly-looking species of endemic mockingbirds in very different home ranges throughout the Galapagos archipelago: the Charles Mockingbird (Nesomimus trifasciatus, cucuve de Floreana), found near Floreana on the islands of Champion and Gardner, the Hood Mockingbird (Ne
  • Yellow Warbler
    The Yellow Warbler is frequently spotted in Galápagos, flitting across the trail or snapping up bugs near the water's edge. It is a small, bright yellow bird with black stripes on its wings. The Yellow Warbler is the only small, dazzling yellow-colored bird in the islands: you can't mistake it for
  • Common Moorhen in Galapagos
    Gallinula chloropus Also called the Common Waterhen and Common Gallinule, the Common Moorhen is a familiar sight in many areas of the world. A member of the Rail family, it is a medium-sized bird, somewhere between a pigeon and a chicken in size. It has black feathers with a few whit
  • Cathedral
    This massive modern church gives its visitors a nice view of the city. The building also features twelve elaborate stained glass windows which depict the store of the Virgen Purísima de Macas. The cathedral, which was completed in 1992, was constructed to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of this
  • Pied-Billed Grebe
    Podilymbus podiceps The Pied-Billed Grebe is a water bird resembling a small grayish brown duck. The easiest way to recognize them is the black stripe on their bill (which is pointier than that of a duck). It looks like someone put a black rubber band on their bill to keep it closed.
  • Galapagos Pintail Duck
    Anas bahamensis galapagensis The Galapagos Pintail Duck is a medium-sized duck with brown and white feathers. It is easily identified by its white cheeks and colorful red and blue bill. It is a subspecies of the Bahama or White-Cheeked Pintail and is endemic to the Islands. Ducks are
  • La Virgen de la Merced
    La Virgen de la Merced is a pretty white and red church on the corner of Eugenio Espejo and Guayaquil streets, across from the Riobamba food market. An inscription inside the vestibule reads "Señor, no nos dejes caer en la tentación" (Lord, lead us not into temptation) and the interior of the chu
  • Catedral de Riobamba
    Riobamba's original cathedral was destroyed in an earthquake that leveled the majority of the city in 1797. Elements of the baroque-style façade were rescued and reused in the reconstruction of the current edifice, which was finished in 1837. By 1967, the building had fallen into disrepair, and
  • Inland Water Birds of Galapagos
    Although the different islands that make up Galapagos are generally very dry and arid, there are a few ponds and streams, mostly in the highlands of the larger islands. These ponds and streams are home to a handful of species of water birds like ducks and grebes that visitors won't ever see out to s
  • Plaza de la Independencia
    As you wonder around the Centro Histórico, you'll probably find yourself walking into the majestic Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande), at some point, even if you haven't been looking for it. The plaza is as much a local hangout as a tourist hot spot, and is always buzzing with life, regard
  • Las Bachas beach
    Las Bachas is a beautiful white-sand beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. There isn't much to do there except lounge on the sand, go for a stroll or do some easy snorkeling in the gentle surf. Sea turtles lay their eggs at the edge of the vegetation: b
  • Golfing In Quito
    In general, golf in Ecuador is for the very wealthy and most initial membership fees are between $10,000 and $20,000 to join the affiliated country club, which then charges monthly fees around $300. Most of these listings in Quito and the surrounding areas include somewhat spectacular facilities an
  • Freedom Bike Rental & Motorcycle Tours
    Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental is a full-service mountain bike, motor scooter and motorcycle rental shop located in the La Mariscal Neighborhood of Quito. They provide self-guided tours of Quito and Ecuador as well as guided motorcycle tours given by Ecuador experts on the best biking roads in the cou
  • Surfing in Ecuador
    With a coastline that many travelers often neglect in favor of the adventures up in the highlands, Ecuador's little known is secret is that it actually offers a handful of superb surfing spots at some of its beaches. Recently there has been a surfing boom along the few surfing towns that garnish th
  • Plaza Santo Domingo
    In the southern part of Quito's Old Town, the airy Plaza de Santo Domingo is dominated by the Santo Domingo Cathedral on the southeastern edge. In the center of the square, a statue of hero Antonio Jose de Sucre points to Pichincha Volcano where he led the winning battle for Ecuador's independenc
  • Hiking Cerro Ilalo
    Ilaló is a long-extinct and deeply eroded volcano located next to the Quito suburb of Tumbaco. Ilaló splits this valley in two: Valle de Los Chillos to the south and Valle de Tumbaco to the north. Climbing Ilaló makes a good half-day escape from the city and suburbs. Some choose to bike it, but
  • Sansón & Dalila Gym
    While most gyms are located in La Mariscal and towards the north, there is still an option in Old Town. Samsom and Dalila will not impress anyone with the quality of its weights, because most have seen a bunch of wear and tear. However, it is cheap compared to other Quito gyms. It cost $20 a month
  • Ecuador Mountain Climbing
    Ecuador offers an incredible diversity of mountains to explore. Within a day's drive from Quito are glaciated peaks which rise over 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) and one over 6,000 meters (19,680 feet), all of which are volcanoes. The highest Andean summits in Ecuador are located primarily along the Ave
  • Ritmo Tropical
    Ritmo Tropical offers the best salsa classes in Quito. For the last 19 years, the school has offered classes in salsa, merengue and other Latin styles. The staff is highly trained and it is possible to take one-on-one classes as well as group lessons. Individual classes cost $10 per hour, or 11 ses
  • Summiting Chimborazo
    Though Chimborazo is not Ecuador's most technically difficult climb, summiting it requires previous glacier experience, a complete array of climbing gear, stamina, and adequate acclimatization. Climbers should make ascents of other nearby peaks, such as Iliniza Norte and Cotopaxi, and consider sp
  • Casa De Las Culturas
    Cotacachi's Casa de las Culturas (House of Culture) is set in a beautifully restored building where (in some places) the ceilings are impressively high and the walls are 1.3 meters (4.5 ft) wide. The Casa has many facets: it's an educational center (with classrooms and a library), has an arts area
  • Lift Gym Spa + Club
    Open since late 2008, foreign-owned Lift Gym Spa + Club has good facilities and service, and an excellent location in the Mariscal. The main floor is crowded with free weights and machines, and there's a small ab workout room. If weights aren't your thing, the upstairs has a small selection of stat
  • Parque La Carolina
    Almost two kilometers (1.2 miles) in length, Parque Carolina is situated between residential and commercial districts in the northern part of Quito. It is the number one choice for sports enthusiasts, housing several athletic facilities, including a football field, basketball and tennis courts, vol
  • Climbing Iliniza Sur
    This relatively steep and crevassed mountain is one of the more diffi cult climbs in the country and is not for beginners. The Normal Route is currently the most frequently climbed route to the summit. The Direct or Ramp Route is no longer climbed due to disappearance of the
  • Iglesia de La Merced
    With its plain white exterior, handsome bell tower (the highest in colonial Quito) and tiled domes, the church of La Merced is a good example of the Moorish influences in Spanish architecture in the late 18th century, and is a pleasure to stumble upon while exploring the backstreets of the Centro H
  • Sulfur Mines
    Deep in the interior of Isabela Island are some old sulfur mines that it's possible to visit. You'll need to take a tour from Puerto Villamil to get there, because there is some National Park paperw
  • Iglesia Todos Los Santos
    Iglesia Todos Los Santos is the oldest church in Cuenca. The church has been in the process of renovations for the past few years and continues to be, but you can now visit it and see the statue of Santa Ana, patroness of the city, inside.

  • Cueva De Sucre/sucre's Cave
    Sucre's Cave is a lava tunnel located in the agricultural zone of Isabela Island. It's an interesting cave to explore, but bring your own light. It's part of the Galapagos National Park, but cruise ships don't go there, so you'll have to arrange a day-trip from Puerto Villamil. There is more at t
  • Volunteering
    Volunteering (Ecuador and Galapagos, Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua,etc.)
  • Rocódromo
    The impressive Rocódromo climbing complex (Complejo de Escalada Ciudad de Quito) is near the southeast edge of the Mariscal, across from Coliseo Rumiñahui. The main 25-meter-high (82-ft) brown climbing structure has climbing routes on three faces; two of the faces feature overhangs and have very
  • Vivarium
    The Vivarium, which opened in 1989, is considered one of the premiere reptile houses in Latin America. There are 87 reptiles and amphibians, but it primarily houses snakes of all kinds. Other than the king cobra, every animal in the Vivarium is native to Ecuador. It houses boas, iguanas, tortoises
  • Summiting Cotopaxi
    Even novice climbers can summit the glacier-topped peak with the help of a good guide, glacier climbing equipment and a hardy jacket. The views from the top on a clear day are incredible, providing dreamy views of the mountainous Andean landscape for hundreds of kilometers in every direction. Even
  • Climbing Rucu Pichincha
    Rucu Pichincha is a volcano located just east of Quito. It is one of the most popular day hikes near the city. Access is via the TelefériQo ($8). It is impo
  • Indoor climbing
    A nice boulder place to meet Ecuadorian climbers who can give you information about outdoor climbing as well.
  • Quito Zoo
    Guayllabamba is 25 minutes north of Quito, and is the home to the Quito Zoo. The zoo has a great showcase of Ecuadorian animals such as the Andean spectacled bear, the Andean condor and the Galápagos giant turtles. It is one of the biggest zoos in South America and is open from Tuesday to Sunday f
  • Casa Humboldt
    La Asociación Humboldt/Centro Goethe is an Ecuadorian-German nonprofit organization whose focus is on intercultural exchange between the two countries. Housed in Casa Humboldt, near the southern end of
  • Iglesia de la Catedral (The Cathedral)
    On the southwestern side of the Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande) is the Iglesia de la Cathedral. It is unusual in Ecuador, in that it's refreshingly free of the top-to-toe decoration that adorns most churches, though it does feature several interesting paintings by artists of the Quito Scho
  • Cuenca's Churches and Cathedrals
    The streets of historic Cuenca are lined with many interesting colonial churches. While it may be difficult to pay a visit to all of the city's 52 sanctuaries, it's worthwhile to pick out a few to see while there. Two of the most famous,
  • Salt Mines
    On the outskirts of Salinas is the origin of this town's name: blocks of salt that glitter in the sun like giant granite boulders. A thin river winds across the páramo and licks the edges of the saline deposits. At dawn during the dry summer months (July-October), you can see the local women wor
  • Guayabillas Animal Rescue Center
    Set in a park of 4.6 hectares (11.36 ac) overlooking Ibarra, the Guayabillas Animal Rescue Center is a wonderful place to visit. Founded in 2005, the center houses dozens of animals, most of whom were rescued from being traded illegally. Over 900 animals have been brought to the center since it be
  • Yasuni National Park
    Designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1989, this enormous bosque protegido (protected forest) encompasses an area of 9,820 square kilometers (6,100 mi), along with the Huaorani indigenous people's ancestral territory, and several uncontacted indigenous tribes (such as the Tagaeri and the Taro
  • Cuenca City Tour Bus
    Especially if you are short on time, the Cuenca city panoramic bus tour is an excellent way to see the city. It leaves from Parque Calderón in front of the El Sagrario church (Old Cathedral) and passes by over 20 major city sights, including Catedral de la Inmaculada, Plaza de San Sebastián and th
  • Plaza del Teatro Sucre
    The Plaza del Teatro is a pleasant, low-key alternative to the bustling Plaza Grande, and serves as a hub for a wide array of theatrical and musical activities. On the south side stands Teatro Sucre, which was built between 1879 and 1887 and serves as Ecuador's national theater. It is the p
  • Parque la Matriz
    Parque la Matriz can be found beneath the gaze of a towering sculpture of Jesus. La Matriz is Cotacachi's main plaza and is ringed by the flags of a dozen diverse nations. A large glass plaque marks Cotacachi's status as a UNESCO world heritage sight, and another nearby monument honors the city's "
  • S.I.S.A
    S.I.S.A (Sala de Imagenes, Sonido and Arte, which translates as Room of Images, Sound and Art) is an indigenous-owned complex featuring a small movie theater, shops, and a couple of cafés (the top floor café is particularly popular due to its excellent coffees and desserts). The movie theater sho
  • Cooperatives
    Salinas de Bolívar is a living example of sustainable economic growth. It all began back in 1971, with the idea of Silesian priest Cándido Rada and Swiss volunteer José Duvach, and blossomed under the direction of Father Antonio Polo. Today over two dozen cooperatives open their doors to the p
  • Hotel Plaza Grande (formerly Majestic Hotel)
    Originally the mansion of Quito's founder, Juan Díaz de Hidalgo, the Plaza Grande was Quito's first luxury hotel. Renovated and restored in 2005, it now plays host to visiting dignitaries, including a recent stopover by Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, (no word as to whether the socialist revolutionary in
  • Centro De Crianza “arnaldo Tupiza”
    The Centro de Crianza (or “Rearing Center”) is a sort of nursery for Giant Tortoises located within walking distance from Puerto Villamil. There are several pens housing grown tortoises, mainly from the different volcanoes on Isabela Island, as well as dozens of young tortoises in prote
  • Iglesia San Roque
    Tucked away in the bustling back streets of Quito's Centro Histórico, among the cevicherias and traditional tiendas, sits the understated Iglesia San Roque. A white-washed colonial building first constructed in 1596, this pretty church was added to throughout the 20th century but ret
  • Aventurecuador
    AventurEcuador, based in Quito and run by an Ecuadorian-French couple, specializes in tours around the country that are geared toward your individual interests. The company offers multi-day tours with an emphasis on culture, tradition, adventure and discovery, trekking, climbing, paragliding, mounta
  • Galapaguera De Cerro Colorado/red Hill Tortoise Breeding Center
    The Cerro Colorado (“red hill”) Giant Tortoise breeding center is a great place to see San Cristobal Giant Tortoises in the wild (semi-wild, anyway). There is a small breeding center with a handful of tiny tortoises (ask to see “Genesis,” the first one to hatch in the center a f
  • Universidad Catolica Hiking And Climbing Club
    The Catolica University Hiking and Climbing Club is a great start for those who want to get out and explore some of Ecuador's natural beauty while hiking and climbing. The group meets every Thursday at 7.30 pm on the university grounds. It is not necessary to be studying at the university to join u
  • Parque Universitario La Arquelia
    La Arquelia is a beautiful 90-hectare (222-ac) park on the edge of the city. There are seven kilometers (4.3 mi) of excellent hiking trails that go through forest, streams and the parámo. There is a small museum and information center, and, at the entrance to the trails, there is a map that
  • Chiva Night Tour
    As you walk around Baños, you are bound to see signs announcing an imminent volcano eruption: The natural phenomenon is predicted nightly at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Don't be worried, though, as the signs are simply advertising the chivas (open-sided party buses), which take tourists on a ride to
  • Galapaguera Natural (natural Giant Tortoise Breeding Center)
    On the northern end of San Cristobal Island is a natural protected zone for the San Cristobal Giant Tortoises. A trail runs from the beach into the interior for about three miles: visitors turn around and take the same path back out. The trail is tough and most cruise ships do not include it on the
  • Esmeraldas Plazas
    There's two miniature central parks that reside within Esmeraldas. Parque Central 20 de Marzo is the city's main park, while Parque Luis Cervantes is more of a recreational park. On early evenings at the end of the week or during the weekend, head on over to the latter to watch the locals duke it o
  • Centro De Meditación
    Vilcabamba's Centro de Meditación is a bilingual Buddhist meditation center and retirement community offering free Anapansati breath meditation and Vipassana meditation sessions. It also leads Sweat Lodge ceremonies the second and fourth Saturday of each month (suggested donation: $5) and an all-da
  • Traditional Andean Ceremonies
    You will probably see many flyers around Vilcabamba posted by various people offering to clean your energies, renew your relationships with the Universe, encounter your ancestors and connect with your own consciousness. Call Santiago (Cel: 09-9389-5963), who has 18 years of experience, if you
  • Isla de la Plata
    This small island, 37 kilometers (23 mi) northwest of Puerto López, has earned the tag “The Poor Man's Galápagos.” Comparisons are rather unfair but Isla de la Plata is well worth a day-trip to see the abundant bird-life. We also recommend skipping the whale-watching tours as you get a
  • Municipal Building
    Stretching across the whole Avenida Eguiguren side of Plaza de la Independencia and wrapping around the corner down Calle Simón Bolívar, Loja's Municipal Building is a good reference point and offers a wealth of information. The creme building with green accents houses a public library (Monday-Fr
  • Humedales/wetlands
    The Humedales, or “wetlands,” are a can't-miss for those staying a couple days in Puerto Villamil. The humedales consist of a good trail through mangroves, pools, beaches and rocky shores. It's well worth a visit, as many different types of birds nest there. The trail also ends up at Isab
  • Agua Blanca
    The best place to explore Machalilla's dry forest is at Agua Blanca. Five kilometers (3 mi) off the main highway in the park, 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) north of Puerto López, there is a small local community with ancestors dating back to the Manteña Culture who inhabited the land from 800 to 1532.
  • Plaza San Sebastián
    Plaza de San Sebastián is a quiet retreat from the city streets and features both the Museo of Modern Art and, to the north, Iglesia San Sebastián (on Ca. Bolívar side). The church is best known for its large wooden doorway and for the Cross of San Sebastián, a colonial era tribute to Christian
  • Montañita Canopy
    It seems like zip-lines have been strung between the treetops of almost every popular tourist destination in Ecuador, and Montañita is no exception. Cables stretching 2,840 meters (9,318 ft) provide the ultimate adrenaline rush for visitors wanting to mix beach time with extreme sports. No matter
  • Surf & Fitness Gym
    If you want to maintain your beach body while in Montañita, you can go to this centrally located gym. Surf & Fitness has lots of weight machines, free weights and stationary bikes, but no treadmills or ellipticals. It also has personal trainers who can assist with specialized workout plans, and of
  • Montañita Spa
    Montañita Spa is the place to pamper yourself after a long day of surfing or a crazy night of partyingâ??or just because you want to. On Mondays and Tuesdays, it has a manicure and pedicure deal for $10. All week long, you can combine a 20-minute massage with a mind-clearing session in its sauna
  • San Sebastián
    Further inland from Agua Blanca, the dry forest rises 800 meters (2,625 ft) up to the cloud forest of San Sebastián. Highlights include orchids, bamboo, howler monkeys, anteaters and some 350 species of birds. You can explore it on a hike with a guide hired either in Agua Blanca or on a day-trip f
  • Whale-Watching
    Whale-watching can be arranged from any number of tour operators with offices along the Malecón. The season is June to September, when the humpback whales arrive in the warm coastal waters looking for a mate or to protect their young. Boats generally set off mid-morning, around 10 or 10:30 a.m., a
  • Cable Car
    A ride on the tarabita (cable car) from one mountainside to another costs $5 per person if you just want a round-trip ride. It offers excellent photo opportunities and spectacular views of the cloud forest and river, as well as access to a private reserve on the other side with paths down to
  • San Agustín - Museum and Monastery
    Constructed by Spanish architect Francisco Becerra in 1573 and then rebuilt after the earthquake in 1868, this beautifully designed church and monastery holds political and artistic significance to Ecuador. The nation's Declaration of Independence was signed here in on August 10, 1809, and the inte
  • La Compañía
    Carved entirely out of volcanic stone, the ornate Baroque façade of this Jesuit church is probably the most exquisitely executed in Quito. From the arresting outside, walk inside and you'll be awed by the sculptured interior, shimmering beneath 120 pounds of fine gold leaf. A stunning display of
  • Rasa Lila Yoga At Izhcayluma
    Yogis will be delighted to know that Hostería Izhcayluma offers yoga sessions nearly every day of the week. Classes are taught in English and blend mantra chanting, breathing techniques, asana postures and chakra, and take place on Monday (8:30-10 a.m.), Wednesday (5-6:30 p.m.), Thursday (8:30-10 a
  • Casa Yarumo
    Want to relax extra hard while at the beach? Then head on over to casa Yarumo to get an incredibly relaxing rub. German owner Katharina gives some really great shiatsu massages at $15 and hour, or $8 for a half hour. Best to call ahead to set up an appointment. They also offer a small beach-side ca
  • Los Frailes
    Relaxing and remote, Los Frailes is widely considered one of the most gorgeous beaches along the Pacific coastline, and it's easy to see why: its lovely landscape includes pristine waters and sweeping white sand, beautifully backdropped by lush, forested bluffs. From Puerto Lopez you can visit the
  • Tubing
    Volcán Rumiñahui - From the
  • Cerro Brujo
    Cerro Brujo, or “Warlock Hill” is named after the Vermilion Flycatcher, which is named Pájaro Brujo or “Warlock Bird” in Spanish. The hill used to be home to a handful of these colorful birds, although it's very rare to see one there now. Instead, visitors will have to sett
  • Rio Puyo Malecón
    Stroll down this pleasant little strip of pedestrian walkway that runs along - and parallel to - the Puyo River to absorb scenes of the city along with an amazonian backdrop. Best done during the day, given that later at night it might get somewhat unsafe to walk down its path - especially if you'r
  • Playa De Los Alemanes/german Beach
    The Playa de los Alemanes (German Beach) is an easy visit from Puerto Ayora and one of the better easily accessible beaches. Simply take a water taxi (should cost less than $1) to the pier on Angermeyer point (just tell the water taxi guy that you want to go to Playa de los Alemanes). From there, it
  • Garrapatero Beach
    Located outside of Puerto Ayora, Garrapatero Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. It's a gorgeous white sand beach perfect for swimming, lounging or even a bit of snorkeling. There are mangroves around it and even the little trail to the beach is interesting. Getting there is a bit o
  • Laguna Las Ninfas
    Las Ninfas was a gorgeous, postcard-perfect place once, with emerald mangroves above a sapphire pool. Now…not so much. The mangroves are still there, and the water is still blue, but the combination of trash at the bottom of the lagoon, the disrepair of the little pier and the fact that it seem
  • Surfing
    Surf board rentals throughout Canoa are pretty much set at: $15 all day, $10 for half a day. You can rent them at almost any of the hotels around town (even the internet cafe "Cyber Surf" rents out boards). A popular place to rent them out at is Surf Shak.

  • Playa De Los Perros
    The “Beach of the Dogs” is a quick, 10 minute boat ride from Puerto Ayora. It's a pleasant enough white sand beach, with a nearby pool where you can see white-tipped reef sharks if you're lucky. Playa de los Perros is often included with tours of Academy Bay. Trail difficulty: 2/5: there
  • Playa De La Estación / Station Beach
    The Station beach is a small, rocky beach located off of the road that leads to the Charles Darwin Research Station. It's the closest beach to town and the easiest one to reach, so sometimes it fills up. The small patch of white sand is bordered on either side by some jagged lava rocks, where you
  • Tagus Cove
    Tagus Cove is a small bay near a volcanic crater which has filled in to become a lake. Cruise boats anchor in the cove and land their passengers on a small beach where they can still see graffiti left behind by previous visitors, some of them from the 1800's. A short hike takes you to the upper rim
  • Bartolome Visitor Site: the beach
    Bartolome Island is home to a beautiful white sand beach with a gentle surf. The beach is at the base of the famous Pinnacle Rock, the unmistakable rock formation allegedly blasted into shape by American forces during World War Two. Bartolome is very narrow at this point, and there is a short, easy
  • Playa Espumilla
    Located on James Bay, on the northern side of Santiago Island, Espumilla Beach is a beautiful white-sand beach which has been popular with visitors since the days of whalers and pirates, who would land here to load up on fresh water. There are some mangroves at either end and you can take a walk th

  • Playa Ratonera
    From Playa de la Estación, a path leads south to Playa Ratonera. This white-sand beach is a perfect place to watch the sun set over Academy Bay. Despite the rocky outcrops, this is a favorite place for Puerto Ayora's surfers. Often sea lions swim by to wave to anyone hanging out. When the sea go
  • Betty Surf And Yoga Camp
    The Betty Surf & Yoga Camp presents eclectic classes for women (and men too!) focused on Yoga, Meditation and Surf. Patricia White is the on premise Yoga instructor, holding accreditation from the Yoga Alliance as a certified Core Power instructor. She teaches vinyasa flow with modifications to m
  • Spanish And Surfing
    The Superpacifico school offers a variety of courses, including medical Spanish or Spanish and Surfing. A two-week program with 20 hours of instruction and homestay will set you ack approximately $800.
  • Manglares
    The few mangroves that exist today around Muisne are but one-tenth of what they were in 1980's. After shrimp farming caught on, entire areas of mangroves were cut down to make way for the shrimp farms themselves. This has been one of the low-points in Muisne's history, given that the town formerly
  • Isla De Las Mancha (Isla Bonita)
    You'll find the beach here is home to calm and quiet waters most of the time, the shores of which are supposedly visited by more than 150 species of birds per year. In addition, the small island is home to a group of people that form a substantial part of Muisne's history as they cradle the myths a
  • Tubing & Boat Tours
    On the beach in Atacames, you will find an abundance of motorboats anchored just past the shore-break. These boats will pull you around on giant inflatable tubes for a price of about a dollar or two per 15 minutes. Be careful, if the water is choppy it might be a bit uncomfortable. Don't hesitate t
  • Mirador Turi
    Turi, or â??brotherâ? in Kichwa, serves as a quick escape away from the center of the city. Most enjoyable at sunset, Turi sits atop a steep hill, providing gorgeous vistas of the city lights below and the mountains that surround it. You can usually count on a backdrop of pink and purple sky, c
  • Journey to the Border
    For the adventurous, there is the possibility of traveling by commercial barge or private canoe down the Napo River to Nuevo Rocafuerte and across the border to Peru. The service is constantly changing, so anybody wishing to try this should check with the Capitanía Port Authority to find out curre
  • Hiking Reventador
    Reventador Volcano has been erupting intermittently since 2002 so the route has been changing and it may even be too dangerous to climb. However, it is a unique geological and ecological landscape to visit. Its recent eruptive history and location on the edge of the Oriente have created interesting
  • Isabela Dive Sites
    The SCUBA diving in Isabela is much more limited than in Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. There is only one dive shop in Puerto Villamil - Isabela Dive Center - so you're pretty much stuck with them, at least for now. They basically only go to three dive sites: Tortuga Island, Cuatro Herm
  • Surf and Kitesurf, Ecuador
    The kitesurfing on a beautiful beach near Manta called Santa Marianita (Playa Bonita) is world-class, and the surrounding areas also have great surf. Manta Kitesurf is a great school based right on the wide, almost deserted beach. It offers surf and kitesurf courses for any level, equipment rental
  • Dive Sites In San Cristobal
    San Cristobal is known mostly for surfing, but there are a few dive shops in town and they go to some pretty cool sites. Kicker Rock
  • San Cristobal Dive Shops
    There are a few good dive shops in the small town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristóbal island. Popular dives from San Cristobal include Isla Lobos, where you can scuba and snorkel in a colony of sea lions, and Kicker Rock, where you have a fair chance of seeing a hammerhead shark, as well
  • Scuba Iguana
    Scuba Iguana is the most efficient, detail-oriented, and professional dive operation in Puerto Ayora. Gear and equipment is available in all sizes, well-maintained, and replaced annually, so you will never feel uncomfortable due to ill-fitting gear or malfunctioning equipment. Pre- and post-dive per
  • Nauti Diving
    Nauti diving offers certification courses, daily dive trips, and dive tours to the outlying islands of Darwin and Wolf. Although the mechanics of the dive operation are nothing special (gear is older and limited in sizes; the dive boat is small and often a bit cramped; the vegetarian lunch is barely
  • Urvina Bay
    One of the most interesting visitor sites in Galapagos, Urvina Bay didn't even exist in 1953. Well, the bay did, but not the stretch of land that is now the visitor site. You see, in 1954, there was a geologic event which lifted a few square kilometers up in the air, turning it into land. Passing
  • Tintoreras
    “Tintoreras” is the local word for the White-tipped Reef Shark, a harmless shark species not uncommon at many snorkeling sites in the islands. The rocky islands in the bay of Puerto Villamil must be their world headquarters, however. There is one long island of volcanic rock where you ca
  • Smooth-Billed Ani
    A large member of the Cuckoo family, the Smooth-billed Ani is a largish, black bird with a big, black beak (yes, the beak is smooth). Ithas a relatively long tail and they tend to congregate in groups. A Smooth-billed Ani might be mistaken for a crow at a glance. It's common throughout South and Cen
  • Galapagos Rail
    Laterallus spilonotus Seldom seen by visitors, the elusive Galapagos rail is a medium-sized bird which preders wooded and grassy highlands. It is black with a grayish breast and white spots on its back. Visitors who get close enough will notice its red eyes. The Galapagos Rail is nea
  • The Vermilion Flycatcher
    Pyrocephalus rubinus One of the more dazzling birds in Galapagos (or anywhere, for that matter), the Vermilion Flycatcher is found in Ecuador and is occasionally seen in Galapagos. The brilliant red males are more commonly spotted, with their bright red breast and black wings and â€
  • The Brown Noddy
    The Brown Noddy is a common seabird found all over the world. A member of the tern family, they get their name from the nodding motions they make. It's a medium-sized seabird (larger than a finch, smaller than a booby) easily recognized by its brown plumage and grayish “cap” on top of its
  • Lava Gull
    A largish member of the Gull family, the Lava Gull (Larus fuliginosus) lives only in Galapagos. There are estimated to be only about 400 mated pairs of this extremely rare bird. Although the population is stable, it is considered threatened because of numerous dangers, including loss of habit
  • Galapagos Barn Owl
    The Galapagos Islands are home to a thriving population of barn owls. They're easy to spot with their distinctive owl faces and mottled brown and white coloring. Galapagos Barn Owls are not considered an introduced species and are actually a distinctive subspecies of the Common Barn Owl. Although pr
  • Hummingbird Watching
    Ecuador is a fantastic country for birdwatching. There are over 50 different types of hummingbirds in the country, and some of them can even be seen in the middle of Quito. Hummingbird feeders at many resorts attract the hummingbirds and make it easier to spot and photograph them. Mindo, located in
  • Paragliding
    Feel like getting a radically different perspective of the coast line? Or tackling your fear of heights? Either take a brief, 15-minute tandem paragliding tour or sign up for class and get your certification within 5 days! Either-or, you get equipment, helmet, radio and a seasoned (and certified) in
  • Puenting/Swing Jumping
    While not quite as scary as a real bungee jump, puenting (swing jumping), which is similar to bungee jumping but with fewer bounces, is just scary enough to get your heart beating and your legs wobbly. An expert will strap you in and give you the choice of whether you want to jump off
  • Birdwatching in Ecuador
    Ecuador is a popular destination for bird watching. With upward of 1,500 species, it has as many species as in Europe and North America combined. Ecuador's top birding spots are in the Oriente region, with over 600 species, and the Galápagos with its abundant endemic species. However, other region
  • Bosque Seco Lalo Loor
    Just 20 minutes south of Pedernales (by bus) and a short jaunt north of Jama is a network of trails
  • Isla Corazon
    Located just a stone's throw from Bahía is Isla Corazon, home to endangered mangroves and numerous bird species. Learn about the local Mangrove Forest and estuary ecosystem, while interacting (and giving back to) the locals. The ever-friendly and outgoing guides Julio and Luciano can point out res
  • Playas
    The closest place to beach near Guayaquil is Playas (officially called General Villamil), which has a fairly extensive stretch of beach. On weekends and during the summer, the place overflows with people trying to escape the scorching city sidewalks. Despite its local attraction, the town remains re
  • Punta Bellaca
    As you walk along Bahia's Malecón you'll probably wonder where the beach is exactly. Just 5 minutes from Bahia in car is Punta Bellaca, or Bahia's missing beach. It's here that you'll find an incredibly laid back and peaceful atmosphere by its beautiful sandy shores, away from the noise and crowds
  • Punta Carola
    Located on the trails behind the visitor's center, Punta Carola is only a few minutes' walk from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. It's a small, sandy beach, home to sea lions and shore birds. It's possible to snorkel there, but it can get a little rough: it's far better to walk fifteen minutes over to th
  • Puerto Grande
    Puerto Grande is a public beach on the coast of San Cristobal Island not too far from Kicker Rock. It's accessible by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. It's popular with day-tripping families from town who have their own boat: cruise ships don't usually go there and it's unlikely to be included
  • Puerto Chino
    Puerto Chino is a remote beach on the southern edge of San Cristobal Island, located not too far from the Cerro Colorado Tortoise Breeding Center. The trail from the road goes about 1500 meters to the beach. The beach is great for relaxing and surfing. The beach itself is smallish and surrounded

  • Playa Ochoa
    Located about 30 minutes by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Playa Ochoa is a gorgeous public beach with a large sea lion population. It's one of the places that Charles Darwin visited on his famous 1835 trip to the islands. It's good for snorkeling, as the surf and currents are not too rough.
  • Playa Mann
    The best of the beaches right in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Playa Mann is only a short walk from downtown. It's right across the street from the University. It's a gorgeous white-sand beach, and you can swim and snorkel to your heart's content. It's free and there is no need of a guide.
  • Malecón Las Palmas
    Las Palmas is the main street that borders the beach, hosting a few bars and seafood restaurants along its lane, as well as boasting excellent sea views and providing a good place to grab a cold beer and sample the local fare. Be warned, however, that this is not the best place to hang around alone
  • Tasaste
    You'll find this beach wedged between the cliffs up north (20 mins) that form part of Jama's coastline. It's a local and favorite hangout for residents, who make the trip to come and sunbathe, relax, and have BBQ's (huts with grills, open to the public, are available). You might think that it's the
  • La Division
    La Division beach is Jama's longest and most extensive shoreline, with a beach that's incredibly clean and home to only a couple of the kind-hearted locals than run tiny restaurants and tienditas (stores) along its shore. Tranquil and almost always empty, this incredible expanse of bea
  • El Matal
    This fishing village is right on the fringe of Jama, and would seem to have an average tourist to fishing boat ratio of 1:50. All in all, it offers a rather narrow coastline with some delightful views of the ocean and warm waters to bathe in. Just remember to head back before dark, given that trans
  • Boat Tours
    Boat tours are offered throughout the week, typically you'll find the boatmen advertising their tours along the Malecón during high season. If they're not, just head on over to the beach (southern end of Malecón) and inquire with any one of the fishermen (a trip to Isla Jupiter or Portete can cos
  • Portete Beach
    Portete is a virtually untouched and uninhabited beach that sits hidden a ways behind the main shore. Palm groves border the beach as far as the eye can see, yielding to green hills on your right and stunning rock formations etched out by the sea. If you come to Portete, please respect and preserv
  • Playa Negra
    You can walk from one end of Playa Negra to the other in under five minutes. But you'll probably have the whole place to yourself: a smooth sheet of shimmering black sand to play on, unbroken save for a few hulking pieces of driftwood. This sand is not only remarkable for its color, rather, it is i
  • Diving In Puerto Ayora
    Puerto Ayora is by far the best of the three towns for divers. There are several dive shops to choose from, all of which go to the same sites. Perhaps because of its central location, the variety of sites is very good: you could stay a week in Puerto Ayora and not dive the same site twice. Div
  • Hiking In Vilcabamba
    Vilcabamba is a great place to hike and there are many marked trails in the area that range in length and difficulty. The Chaupi Loop is the easiest trail and lasts about 3.5 hours, with views of the Vilcabamba River and Chaupi Valley. The
  • Hiking in the Quilotoa Region
    The Quilotoa region presents some of the best hiking in Ecuador, from traversing deep rugged canyons, volcanic crater lakes and cloud forests, to gentle walks through rolling patchwork hills and on to high-mountain cheese factories. If you have a few days, walk the whole loop from village to vill
  • Hiking From Quilotoa To Chugchilán
    This 12 kilometer (7.5 mi) mile trek is one of the most astonishingly beautiful day hikes in Ecuador. Depending on fitness levels, the hike takes between four to five hours, passing by Quilotoa's volcanic crater lake, down into the valley through the town of Guayama, and finally up the canyon into
  • Hike to the Virgen del Agua Santa
    The journey up to the Virgin del Agua Santa is similar to the Bellavista hike in that it's an uphill trek to an equally rewarding viewpoint, though this one involves hiking up hundreds of steps. Follow the blue signs to the end off Calle Juan Leon Mera and head up the first flight of 82 steps. Ther
  • Hiking To Cotopaxi's Refuge
    Cotopaxi's main refuge, Refugio José Ribas, is popular destination not only for those willing to take on the challenge of reaching the t
  • Hike to Bellavista
    The hike up to Bellavista starts at the south end of Calle Maldonado and is a steady climb up to a viewpoint, where there are two cafés with unpredictable opening hours. Although the hike is almost all uphill, there are regular wooden covered lookouts to break the climb, which make ideal rest spot
  • Iliniza Volcanoes
    The twin peaks of Iliniza Norte (elevation: 5,126 m, 16,817 ft) and Sur (elevation: 5,248 m, 17,220 ft) are in sharp contrast to the Páramo 55 km (34 miles) south of Quito. Today the two mountains are connected by a one-kilometer long sadd
  • Sincholagua Volcano
    Sincholagua is an inactive volcano located 45 km (28 miles) southeast of Quito and about 15 km (9 miles) northeast of Cotopaxi Volcano. The mountain is less frequently climbed than any of others listed here, for the simple reason that it's diffic
  • Hiking around Oyacachi
    There are several walking trails accessible from the town, including a pre-Columbian stone path that will take you a few kilometers down the valley from the town all the way to the town of Chaco in the Oriente, a 3-day hike. Two kilometres (1.2 miles) out of town on this road is a collection of rui
  • Road from Oyacachi to Papallacta
    For a glimpse of remote, unspoiled wilderness, paramo and pristine mountain lakes, the road between the Papallacta hot springs and the Cayambe-Coca Reserve guard station above Oyacachi is hard to beat. Most of Quito's drinking water comes from this region and the road is closed to the public and is
  • Hiking Cayambe
    Cayambe, a massive glaciated volcano is the third highest peak in both Ecuador and the Americas north of the equator. It also enjoys the distinction of being the highest point on the earth's surface through which the equator directly passes. Although technically not very difficult, it is dangerous
  • Butterfly Farm
    If you find yourself with a little free time and have tired of watching the gang of monkeys run around Misahuallí, be sure to stop in and visit the Butterfly Farm for some interesting information on butterflies and the metamorphosis process. There are some beautiful species of butterflies to obser
  • El Corazón
    El Corazón is yet another eroded and extinct volcano located about 40 kilometers (25 mi) southwest of Quito. The route is straightforward and requires no rock climbing equipment or experience. The first recorded ascent was in 1738 by La Condamine and Bouguer, and this easy peak has been climbed
  • Volcán Imbabura
    This long-extinct volcano is located just south-west of Ibarra. The 4,630-meter (15,190-ft) high summit can be climbed in one long day (around 10 to 12 hours round trip) and, although not technically difficult, the loose rock at the top can make the traverse somewhat treacherous. It's a tiring but
  • Cerro Tijeretas
    Cerro Tijeretas gets its name from the Frigate Birds, commonly called “fragatas” but also called “tijeretas” (“cerro” means hill). Chances are you'll see some frigate birds flying around. Cerro Tijeretas is located on the trail behind the interpretation center on San
  • Punta Pitt
    Located on the far eastern shore of San Cristóbal Island, Punta Pitt is a popular site for visitors, mostly because it's the only Galápagos visitor site where you can see all three types of Booby as well as both types of Frigatebirds. After landing on an olivine beach, the trail runs up a dry cree
  • Los Gemelos
    Located in the Santa Cruz highlands, Los Gemelos (“the Twins”) refers to two large sinkholes which were formed by collapsing underground lava tunnels. As paths to and around the sinkholes have improved, they have become more popular with visitors. Visitors are asked to stay far from the e
  • El Chato Reserve
    Located in the green, hilly highlands of Santa Cruz Island, the EL Chato Reserve is one of the best places in the islands to see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The reserve is free and open to the public, but a guide is highly recommended, as in recent years some visitors have gotten
  • Cerro Crocker
    Cerro Crocker Crocker Hill is the highest point on Santa Cruz Island, which isn't saying much (860m). It's fairly easy to hike, and you'll be rewarded at the top with a good view of Puerto Ayora. The terrain is leafy and green (and muddy when it rains, so bring good shoes). Part of the trail goes th
  • Hola Vida Waterfall
    This beautiful waterfall is hidden (but found) a little bit south of Puyo and provides a nice natural setting to come and rest your weary bones by. You can even go for a dip if you're willing to submerge yourself into the chilly waters, and then bathe under the falling cascade.
  • Lava Tunnels
    Lava Tunnels are natural volcanic rock formations left behind when a stream of lava flows out of a volcano. The outer magma cools while the inner magma continues to flow, resulting in an underground stone tube of sorts. There are lava tunnels all over Galapagos, of all shapes and sizes. There are se
  • Genovesa Visitor Site: Darwin Bay
    Darwin never visited Genovesa (Tower) Island in the northern part of the Galapagos archipelago, but he would have approved of the bay named after him. Because it is isolated from the other islands, Genovesa became home to colonies of birds, but relatively few land animals. For example, no Gia
  • Genovesa Visitor Site: El Barranco/Prince Phillips' Steps
    El Barranco (a.k.a. Prince Philip's Steps) is a memorable site located on the flat area above the cliffs in Darwin Bay. After a challenging scramble up a rocky crevasse, the rest of the trail is very easy. The first part of the trail wends through some scrubby trees and brush where you're likely to
  • Sierra Negra Volcano
    Sierra Negra Volcano is the closest one to Puerto Villamil and it makes for a popular hike. It's a day-long affair and you'll definitely want to have a guide because it's possible to lose the trail, especially if it gets rainy or foggy, which it often does. Usually trips will take a van or tru
  • Punta Moreno
    Located on the western shore of Isabela Island, Punta Moreno is a popular site where a lot of wildlife can be seen. The trip usually begins (or ends) with a panga ride along the rocky shore: keep your eyes peeled for Galapagos Penguins sunning themselves on the rocks. If you look in the water, ther
  • Floreana - Asilo de la Paz/asylum of Peace visitor site
    The asilo de la paz hike on Floreana Island is primarily of historical interest for guests. It goes past a cave allegedly once used by pirate Patrick Watkins and also visits freshwater spring which served as a source of water for early settlers. The hike, which can be done from the small town of Pue
  • Floreana Visitor Site: Cerro Alieri/Alieri Hill
    Cerro Alieri is outside of Puerto Velzsco Ibarra, the tiny town of Floreana Island. To get there, it's a 15 minute ride in a truck followed by a two-hour hike (round-trip). The hike up to the top of Alieri hill is primarily notable for vegetation: most of the plant species are either native or endem
  • Santiago Island Visitor Site: Sullivan Bay
    The eastern side of Santiago Island was volcanically active relatively recently (about 100 years ago) and Sullivan Bay is a great place to see lava, sometimes edged with black volcanic glass (obsidian). There is a small colony of Galapagos Penguins at the landing site, but visitors hoping to
  • Bartolome Island Visitor Site: La Escalera/The Stairs
    Scenic Bartolome is a small island, and only home to two visitor sites: a nice beach with good snorkeling and “La Escalera,” a long, winding wooden staircase which leads up to the peak of the island, where visitors are rewarded with a magnificent view. Along the way, visitors hike through
  • Laguna Yaguarcocha
    If you're looking to escape the city, Laguna Yaguarcocha is a pleasant side-trip on the outskirts of Ibarra. What is now a peaceful lake set among rolling green hills, was once the site of a bloody massacre of the indigenous Cara people by Huayna Capac and his Inca army. The 1495 slaughter marked
  • Horseback Riding
    Horseback riding
  • Malecón
    If you have time, you may want to head to the waterfront to see the Municipality's Malecón Project, which includes a Tourism center (iTur) that is run by locals. The Malecón and the Tourism center overlook the Napo River in front of the Port Authority, known in Spanish as the "Capitanía." Both i
  • La Cascada Latas
    If you board a bus headed towards Tena from Misuahallí and ask the driver to drop you off at the Camino de las Cascadas (approximately 15 minutes outside of Misuahallí and 25¢ fare depending on the mood of the driver) you'll find yourself on your way to see a pretty waterfall, nice picnic areas
  • Galería De Los Pinturas De Tigua
    This gallery is home to an impressive collection of art by local indigenous painters, run by the friendly artist Alfredo, who is president of the Association of Indigenous Painters of Tigua. Located on the main highway just outside of the village, this is arguably the best place to purchase authe
  • Mountain Biking Inside Pululahua Crater
    One of the preferred places for MTB for Ecuadorian locals. The crater is inside a Geobotanical Reserve. There is only two dirt roads for access. There are many trails inside the reserve.
  • Aries Bike Company
  • Biking Dutchman Mountain Bike Tours
    The company, run by a Dutch transplant, has offered mountain biking tours to travelers since 1991. Trips range from one to eight days, and all depart from Quito. The company uses four-wheel drives to ascend the mountains, then customers hop on their bikes and enjoy the breathtaking views on the way
  • The Wall Of Tears/muro De Las Lagrimas
    In the 1940's and 1950's, Isabela was a penal colony, and one look at the terrain around town will tell you that it must have been a harsh one. Prisoners who did not behave were sent to work on the “Wall of Tears,” a high wall outside of town built crudely with lava rocks and cement. The
  • Parque Jerusalem
    Parque Jerusalem (Jerusalén) lies within a protected dry forest (Bosque Protector Jerusalén)-the only such area in Ecuador's highlands-in the Guayllabamba Valley, 28 kilometers (17 mi) north of Quito. The 1,100-hectare park (2,718-ac) was created in 1989, to protect the area from human developmen
  • Equitours
    Head out across the Ecuador's stunning landscapes atop a horseback with Equitours, and your experience is sure to be an incredibly pleasant one. Their tours are designed around trips that take you from hacienda to hacienda through two distinct areas of the Andean cordillera - going between the elev
  • Rumipamba Archeological Park
    An archeological site that holds artifacts and ancient shelters dating from 1500 B.C. all the way to 1500 A.D. You'll find some incredible evidence regarding the lives and societies of the indegenous people that once governed this land, long before Quito was even its official name. Walk beside the
  • Horseback Riding
    Head on over to Hostal Coco Loco and ask for Elizabeth, who offers horseback tours of the ranches up and around Canoa, finishing up with a walk out onto the beach. The horses are hers, and she pridefully takes great care of them. Riders of all skill levels are welcome.
  • Ride Andes
    Ride Andes is a respectable agency that deals in organizing horseback-riding tours around the outskirts of Quito. Their tours vary in length and place, from overnight/multiple-day tours to your basic day-trips. In addition, their multi-day tours explore places such as the Cotopaxi National Park and
  • Horseback Riding Around Quito
    If your legs just aren't up for a massive hike or trek, another great way to enjoy the stunning scenery just outside of Quito is from the back of a horse. A number of larger tour agencies and smaller private companies offer horseback riding trips for all ages and skill levels. Single and multi-day
  • Horseback Tours with Doña Fabiola
    Charming and incredibly calm in her demeanor, Doña Fabiola is an animal lover and the owner of some 20+ horses that she keeps in Mompiche. She offers guided tours (3-4 hours) of the mountain on horseback, letting you gauge the incredible level of fauna that resides above Mompiche; you'll spot monk
  • Horseback Riding
    The landscape around Chugchilán is fascinatingly diverse, and great for exploring by horse. The relatively small region is home to the Paramo highlands, vast expanses of Andean farmland, the lowland riverbed of the Río Toachi, and both primary and secondary cloud forests. Within just a few hours,

  • Fuya Fuya
  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Ecuador
    Along the waters of Ecuador's coastline you'll find only one real opportunity to submerge yourself underwater and explore all the wonders that the region hides. On the mainland, Puerto Lopez is a hotspot for snorkelers and divers alike interested in heading out to Isla de la Plata and/or Palo Santo
  • Cotopaxi National Park
  • Paragliding and Hand Gliding in Ecuador
    If you're a fan of the skies and flying with the power of the wind, look no further than Crucita - Ecuador's popular and best coastal town for this kind of sport. With considerable cliffs bordering its shores, Crucita makes for some great jumping off points and some powerful off-shore/on-shore wind
  • Laguna El Junco/el Junco Lake
    One of the few bodies of freshwater in Galapagos, Junco Lake is located in the green highlands of San Cristobal. Don't go there expecting to water ski or fish for salmon: in the USA they'd call it a “pond” instead of a lake. Still, it's the largest body of fresh water in the islands, an
  • Rafting & Kayaking
    Ecuador is considered one of the best destinations in the world for whitewater sports due to the steep drop-offs from snow-capped peaks to rich lowland areas connected by one of the highest concentrations of rushing rivers per square kilometer. In addition, its tropical location provides for year-r
  • The Pichincha Volcanoes
  • Punta Vicente Roca
    Punta Vicente Roca (Vicente Roca Point) is a popular marine visitor site: there is no trail on land here. Typically, cruise ships will send passengers on a panga ride along the rocky shore, where they can often see Galapagos Fur Sea Lions,