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Things to do in Ecuador

Things to do in  Ecuador

Welcome to Ecuador

Ecuador, though one of the continent's smallest countries, is a microcosm of South America: Andean peaks, dense Amazon rain forest, sandy beaches, smoking volcanoes, big cities, and diverse wildlife showcase the region's allure. The jewels in Ecuador's urban crown are Quito, the capital, and Cuenca, about 285 miles (460 kilometers) apart and each home to their own colonial architecture, charming plazas, and outstanding food joints. In the former, ride the Teleferico (cable car) up a mountain to see the city from above and enjoy a hike or horseback tour at the top; meanwhile, in the latter, make the most of nearby small artisan villages such as Gualaceo and Chordeleg. The isolated and volcanic Galapagos Islands sit 885 miles (1423 kilometers) from shore, meaning multi-day island-hopping cruises are pretty much the only way to experience the archipelago's biodiversity. Back on the mainland, natural wonders range from the greenery of Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest to the high mountain browns and whites of Cotopaxi National Park, both accessible on day-trips from Quito. Otavalo Market and The Middle of the World Monument (Mitad del Mundo) provide a cultural introduction the country. If you want to surf on the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, cosmopolitan Guayaquil serves as an excellent base, while the small town of Baños—named for its thermal hot springs—lures thrill-seekers looking to go white-water rafting, ziplining, or canyoning; and offers proximity to both Ecuador's Amazon rain forests and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes.

Top 10 attractions in Ecuador

#1
Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús)

Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia La Compañía de Jesús)

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Quito’s Jesuit Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), often called La Compañía, is one of the most significant works of Spanish baroque architecture in South America. The incredibly ornate and beautiful church boasts gold leaf ornamentation, gilded ceilings, and religious paintings by artists of the Quito School.More
#2
San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco)

San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco)

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As Quito’s first church, construction of the Baroque-style San Francisco Church started in the 1530s, shortly after the Spaniards arrived, and lasted for over 100 years. Having sustained epic earthquakes, it’s in remarkably good shape and remains the largest, and arguably the loveliest, of the city’s original colonial structures. Franciscan fathers still live here and work on premises.More
#3
Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park

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With sweeping plains, rocky mountain trails, and glassy lagoons, Ecuador’s largest and most-visited national park is a spectacular setting for an outdoor adventure. Located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Cotopaxi National Park is most famous for the much-photographed Cotopaxi volcano, the highest active volcano in South America.More
#4
Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo)

Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo)

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The Middle of the World Monument (La Mitad del Mundo) commemorates the site where the 18th-century French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine once calculated the globe's equatorial line. A trapezoidal monument in the center of the park houses a viewing platform; a small museum on the equator pays tributes to local indigenous cultures.More
#5
Quilotoa Lagoon

Quilotoa Lagoon

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Quilotoa Lagoon was formed when a now-extinct volcano collapsed and the resulting crater was filled with a startling emerald-green lake, the color resulting from volcanic minerals. Just south of Quito, the village and lagoon of Quilotoa have become a popular day-trip destination, affording spectacular views and photo opportunities.More
#6
Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS)

Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS)

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The Charles Darwin Research Station, located on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, is a great way to take in some interesting facts about the wildlife of the archipelago in between relaxing on the beach and sipping a piña colada. The station offers information on local conservation, habitats, and other relevant statistics and is home to a tortoise breeding center.More
#7
Quito Old Town

Quito Old Town

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The historical heart of Ecuador’s capital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito Old Town is the first port of call for most visitors to the city. Known for its cobblestone lanes, Spanish colonial architecture, and beautiful churches, it’s Quito’s most atmospheric district.More
#8
Casa del Arbol Swing

Casa del Arbol Swing

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In the Ecuadorian wilderness just outside Baños, Casa del Arbol Swing is a seismic monitoring station that has capitalized on its perfect mountaintop location next to the Tungurahua Volcano by installing a treehouse with a rope swing. The Swing at the End of the World, as it’s often called, offers thrills with an unobstructed view of the volcano.More
#9
Basilica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional)

Basilica of the National Vow (La Basílica del Voto Nacional)

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One of the largest neo-Gothic churches in the Americas, La Basílica del Voto Nacional is an unmistakable feature of the skyline. Perched on a hill, the 19th-century beauty has three towers, which may be climbed to enjoy a fantastic city panorama. Technically unfinished, local legend opines that when the completion of the basilica arrives, so will the end of the world.More
#10
Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santa Domingo)

Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santa Domingo)

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Situated at the southern edge of Quito’s Old Town, Santo Domingo Plaza (Plaza de Santo Domingo) sits beneath the shadow of the 17th-century domed Iglesia de Santo Domingo. A statue of Ecuadorean hero Antonio José de Sucre stands in the middle of the plaza, pointing toward the spot where the battle for independence was won in 1822.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Quito

How to Spend 2 Days in Quito

How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

How to Spend 1 Day in Quito

Top activities in Ecuador

Full Day Tour 360 San Cristobal

Full Day Tour 360 San Cristobal

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5
From
US$210.00
Cuyabeno Tucan lodge

Cuyabeno Tucan lodge

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96
From
US$340.00
Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

Quito City Tour Double Decker Bus

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275
From
US$15.00
2 Full Days Exploring The Ecuadorian Amazon | Tour Start In Quito
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Recent reviews from experiences in Ecuador

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Excellent tour that I...
David_A, May 2022
3-Day Adventure in Cotopaxi, Quilotoa and Baños
Excellent tour that I would highly recommend, the only way to see some of the remote parts of Ecuador.
star-5
Mindo Valley Tour
Michele_T, Mar 2022
Mindo Cloud Forest Private Day Tour
He adjusted activities to our abilities.
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Must do Tour
Brian_A, Feb 2022
Cotopaxi & Quilotoa With Optional Hotel Pick-Up & Drop-Off - "Small Group"
This is a perfect way to see two of Ecuador's top attractions.
star-5
Amazing Tour!
Tzvi_R, Jan 2022
Cotopaxi Full-Day from Quito including entrances
Our guide was very helpful with activities to do in Ecuador during our long ride to the volcano.
star-5
A 2 day master class in Ecuador!
Deb_M, Jan 2022
2 Day Private Tour to Otavalo Market & surroundings from Quito
There was no topic Diego couldn’t discuss proficiently in English!
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Awesome Tour!
Lucas_H, Apr 2022
Day off in Quito? Lets go to Otavalo indigenous artisan market!
Our group was my girlfriend (Spanish only), my parents (English only), and myself (bi-lingual) and he made sure that we all participated in the conversation and had fun.
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An amazing day trip in Ecuadorian nature!
Vamsi_D, Mar 2022
Full-Day Quilotoa Lake Hiking Tour from Quito
I cannot recommend this trip enough for anyone looking to see some of the natural beauty of Ecuador, but who either cannot or does not want to do a several days trip.
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Good experience to see a lot of things in one day
Shannon_A, Mar 2022
Baños full day tour from Quito including all entrances and activities
This is a great experience if you are looking to see a LOT of things in one day.
star-5
The most knowledgeable guide and informative tour EVER!!
Amy_Z, Feb 2022
Full-Day Devil's Nose Hike and Ingapirca Ruins Tour from Cuenca
His English was so good that there was not a single language barrier.
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See a lot in a short amount of time!
Victoria_W, Feb 2022
Tour Cotopaxi & Quilotoa All in One - 1 Day
Overall, the only think I would change is having been able to see the Cotopaxi Volcano, but I chose to come to Ecuador during the winter months and fully recognize that no one can control Mother Nature when it comes to the clouds and the rains!
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Very Cool Trek Into the Andes
Rachel_W, Feb 2022
Quilotoa Full Day Tour from Quito with entrances
so I wanted to see as much as I could in the time I have.
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The Best Middle of the World and Quito City Tour!
Debbie_G, Jan 2022
Private and Personalized City Tour of Quito Teleferico and Middle of the World
If you want to see Quito, this is the tour to choose.
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Excellent Tour!
Debbie_G, Jan 2022
Otavalo Tour from Quito Visiting Cayambe, Indigenous Market
Her English is very good, she is very knowledgeable, and is very enthusiastic about sharing her country with tourists.
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Great experience
JensPeter_O, Dec 2021
Mindo Cloud Forest Private Day Tour
Drove to the cloud forrest and took the open cable car to the other side of the wally and walked down to the water fall and then up to the car park again.
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Excellent
Maren_H, Oct 2021
Explore the Ecuadorian Andes & Amazon in 6 Days | From Quito
All the activities and there were many allowed us to leave Ecuador with a appreciation of both jungle and the highlands.
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Driver was very helpful...
Kelly_M, Aug 2021
Quito Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel
We spoke a simple English and Spanish conversation and he told us more about Quito and Ecuador
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Great trip for nature and adventure
Ekta_C, Apr 2021
Baños and Upper Amazon Day Trip
We also did zip lining, waterfalls and zero G swing.
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Great private tour in Banos with Pedro!
Jean_C, Dec 2020
Baños Tour from Quito - 1 Day- Private Tour
We had a comfortable ride from our hotel in Quito to Banos with amazing stops of the waterfalls, Casa del arbol, and Pailon del Diablo.
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Full day bath
Arthur_G, Feb 2020
Full Day Baths
He was super nice, very knowledgeable and communicated with us in English very well (we know very little Spanish).
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Gabriel is the best!
Jklish49, Oct 2019
Cultural Tour Laguna Quilotoa: Hiking and Descent to the Lagoon all included
Also he spoke great English.
Frequently Asked Questions