The small South American country of Ecuador sits on the equator, bordered by Peru and Colombia. It's a beautiful country and an incredible place to visit if you're looking for adventure. Whether you're heading off for two weeks in Ecuador or a month, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
Ecuador is perhaps best known for the Galapagos Islands and its diverse wildlife, which Charles Darwin studied extensively. But there's a lot more to the country, and anyone who wants a thrill or just wants to experience something new should consider it for their next in-depth vacation. It's not somewhere you should just pop in and out of. You really need to experience it to get a real picture of what it's like. For an adventurous vacation, try out these top things to do in Ecuador.
The capital of Ecuador, Quito, is a great place to explore some of the culture of the country. One thing you won't want to miss out on is going to straddle the equator. You'll be in both the northern and southern hemispheres at once – supposedly, at least. You can visit Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, a museum park where there's a monument to the equator. There's a yellow line that divides the two hemispheres. However, technically it's more symbolic than it is accurate. It doesn't mark the exact point of the equator, but it's still fun. There's plenty more to do in Quito itself, though. You can visit some interesting museums, like the Museo Nacional, plus some great cultural locations, such as the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús.
Cotopaxi National Park is home to the volcano of the same name. And it's an active volcano, so you better watch out! The volcano and the park surrounding it offer opportunities for some amazing adventures if you want to get active. Hiking and biking are particularly popular, especially if you want to try a thrilling downhill bike ride. If you're staying in Quito, it's easy to book a one-day excursion to the park to see the volcano and have plenty of time to explore too. There are plenty of chances to see some wildlife and experience the outdoors if you want to get out of the city.
The Galapagos Islands are one of the top reasons that people visit Ecuador. The islands have fascinating wildlife, from penguins and flamingos to the giant Galapagos tortoise and iguanas. Although it's part of Ecuador, the islands are hundreds of miles away. That means they need to be reached by boat. You can book tours to Galapagos with several companies so you can cruise around the islands and stop off at a few different destinations. Santa Cruz Island is one of the most important, where you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. You can also choose to explore the islands by kayak, which can allow you to get into places you might not be able to reach using a bigger boat or on foot. There are opportunities for diving and snorkelling too.
The Amazon rainforest is a vast and diverse area of natural beauty. In fact, it's the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest in the world. While most of it is in Brazil, and then Peru and Colombia, there are parts in other countries too, including Ecuador. Whether you're looking for a tough challenge or maybe a more gentle adventure, a trip through the Amazon could deliver. Some trips will take you deep into the jungle, while you can also remain on the outer edges of it too. Trekking is a great way to explore the Amazon, but there are other ways you can experience it if you want to try something different. You can cruise or even kayak rivers, with plenty of wildlife to see. You might also be interested in visiting a native Kichwa community.
Baños calls itself the adventure capital of Ecuador. The town is in the country's central highlands and set within a beautiful landscape. There's a lot to do if you're looking for an adventure, including hiking, rafting, biking, and more. Some people aren't so keen on the town itself, especially as it's popular with tourists. However, there are so many fun things to do that you can stay occupied during your visit and just return to the town to sleep. Plus, if you enjoy partying, you can find some opportunities to do that and meet other travelers.
If you enjoy surfing, or you've always wanted to learn, then Ecuador is the best place you've never considered going. Montanita is the most popular spot for surfing in the country, so you might consider it if you don't mind it being a little busy. It's also a big party town and popular with tourists and backpackers. If you prefer to mingle with other travelers and you want to meet lots of other surfers, it's the place for you. However, if you would prefer somewhere a little quieter, try setting up a surf vacation with a specialist tour operator. They can find the quiet spots for you so that you can avoid the crowds.
Another way to get into the water is in a kayak. In Ecuador, you can choose to get in a sea kayak and explore coasts and oceans, or you might like to kayak down rivers instead. Kayaks and canoes are great choices for adventures for several reasons. First of all, they're an eco-friendly and responsible way of traveling. If you do it right, you don't have much impact on the environment. It's also a quiet way of traveling, which means you can get up close with wildlife you might otherwise not be able to approach. Kayaks and canoes are smaller than many other boats, so you can get into tight spaces. And on top of all that, it's a great way to get active and keep fit.
If you want to have an adventure in Ecuador, there are lots of ways you can approach it. Whether you're looking for a thrill or a more sedate adventure, there's so much for you to do and see.