Making the most of your visit to Ecuador is about savoring the best of each region. Feel the cold landscapes of the Andes mountains. Live the nature and be fascinated by the Amazoniaï¿½s biodiversity. Relax or learn surf in the hot beaches of the West Coast. Finally, witness the beauty of the Eden garden on Hearth: The Galapagos Islands. All this is possible to happen in Ecuador, an unknown yet incredible small corner of the world. Buses are widely available to the majority of the places suggested in this itinerary, and these are not expensive at all ($1 per hour approximately).
The trip starts in Quito, capital city of Ecuador. Firstly, spend a couple of days exploring Quito. Highlights that this city has to offer are the Historic Center, the Manï¿½s Chapel, the skyline to the Pichincha Volcano and the Middle of the World. From Quito, itï¿½s possible to carry out several daytrips to unique places such as Otavalo, Mindo and Quilotoa. Travel to Otavalo, the road goes through a truly beautiful mountainous landscape. Otavalo is one of the few communities that proudly showcases its indigenous identity. This is the perfect place to purchase great quality handcrafts at their famous poncho market.If you travel by car, from Otavalo, it's recommended to visit Cuicocha and the Mojanda's Lagoon the same day. Return to Quito and go two hours West to the foggy forest of Mindo. This excursion stands out for its natural beauty: thousands of butterflies, waterfalls and water sports that you can practice.
Return to Quito the day after, and travel to the breathtaking Lagoon of Quilotoa. This is one of the hidden bids of Ecuador. Walk around its contour or do it on the back of a donkey. Contemplate the turquoise water that changes colors depending on the day light. It's time to continue flying Quito- Coca. Coca is the gate to the deep Amazonia, towards the lower part of the Napo River or Limoncocha. It's possible to pre-arrange a two-day tour that will take you to a few communities that live in the jungle. Experience the magic connection with one of the places with the largest biodiversity in the world.
From Coca, head south by bus to another Amazonian city: Tena. It's surrounded by rivers and is the rafting center of Ecuador. Trigger your adrenaline with its level III and IV rapids. Other impressing spots nearby are the Jumanji caverns, primary forests and the charming city of Misahualli.
Say goodbye to the jungle and return to the Andes Mountains. Spend 2 days in BaÃ±os, the adventure sports capital of Ecuador. Here, the tourist offer is well nourished by local operators: tracks to beautiful waterfalls, baths in thermal waters, bike riding, water sports, bungee jumping, rafting, canopying, kayaking. The opportunities to enjoy nature are endless. Next stop: Cuenca. Acclaimed by its colonial architecture, this city provides a great cultural experience: the New Cathedral, the Old Cathedral, the archeologic park and museum of Pumapungo etc. Plan a daytrip to visit the largest archeologic center in Ecuador, Ingapirca. Likewise, donï¿½t miss Las Cajas National Park, with its beautiful Andean landscapes.
Time for a bit of sun and beach in MontaÃ±ita. It's a headquarter for backpackers from all Ecuador because of its good surf, beautiful beaches and a vibrant night life .If you are seeking for an unforgettable night out this is your place. Other more relaxation oriented options are the visit to Puerto Lopez, famous for its whale watching boat excursions during season ( June-October) and the popular beach of Los Frailes, a turquoise gem of the west coast. Continue your trip to Guayaquil and get a flight to the charmed Islands: Galapagos.
Galapagos Islands are the Eden garden on Earth. Walking among playful sea lions, marine iguanas and giant turtles are certainly a dream come true for travelers. Undoubtedly, Galapagos are the best kept jewel of Ecuador thus itï¿½s the culmination of this extraordinary trip. Fly Guayaquil-Baltra, and travel to Puerto Ayora, in Santa Cruz Island. In this island, the must visit places are: Las Grietas, Tortuga Bay, The Charles Darwin Station and the country house of El Chato. If time permits, book an excursion to Puerto Baquerizo.
Leave at least 3 days to explore Isabela Island (Puerto Villamarï¿½n). This island is wilder and better preserved than Santa Cruz. Here, itï¿½s highly recommended the tour to Sierra Negra volcano, a bike riding trip to ï¿½El Muro de las Lagrimasï¿½, the visit to the turtle breeding center ï¿½La Galapagueraï¿½, the snorkel at ï¿½Concha y Perlaï¿½ and last but not least, the excursion to ï¿½Los Tunelesï¿½, where youï¿½ll be able to encounter Isabela's marine life.