If you are joining us in Ecuador this summer, or at any other time in the year, then this blog is perfect for you. The team have come up with a bucket list of a 99 places to visit, things to do and meals to eat during your time in Ecuador to make sure you get the best experience possible! If you’re not joining us, perhaps this bucket list might change your mind…
There are some great places to visit during your spare time in Ecuador, so the Kaya team have devised a list of some of the best places to visit and what you can do when you’re there!
Visiting Quito? Here are some great things to do:
1. Visit the Fundación Guayasamín Museum
2. Visit the Museo Casa del Alavado Museum
3. Observe the view from the Teleférico cable car and, if you can, climb to the top of Ruco Pichincha
4. Ride a bike on Sunday through Quito
5. Visit the Guapulo neighbourhood
6. Visit the San Marcos neighbourhood
7. Assist an event at Teatro Sucre Theatre
8. Enjoy the nice view of Quito from Panecillo (Best to go in the morning)
9. Go to a concert at Palacio de la Música
10. Walk through Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua
11. Visit Centro Cultural Metropolitano (the Metropolitan Cultural Centre)
12. Visit La Compañía church (a church covered with golden bread inside)
13. Climb to the top of the Basílica del Voto Nacional church
14. Visit the Intiñán museum at the middle of the world and be able to balance an egg on top of a needle
15. Selfie at the middle of the world in between the two hemispheres
16. Watch the sunset from the Itchimbia Mountain in Quito
17. Visit La Ronda neighbourhood
18. Visitar Yaku museum (water museum)
19. Visit Quito on board a chiva bus (Quito festivities)
Wondering what to do in the Highlands? There’s plenty!
20. See the Guayacanes flowering at Mangahurco, Loja (From the end of Dec – to beg of Jan)
21. Go to La Mica lagoon (Antisana)
22. Walk the loop around the crater of the Cuicocha lake (4 hours)
23. Visit the butterfly farm and do “tubbing” in Mindo
24. Visit Intag and drink their wonderful organic coffee
25. Visit the town of Salinas de Guaranda (experience their community organizations and the salt mines)
26. Kayak at the crater of an active volcano (Quilotoa) – This glittering green crater lake sits at the heart of the Quilotoa loop, a popular scenic diversion through the beguiling landscapes and villages of the rural central highlands.
27. Go down the Cotopaxi volcano (the highest active volcano of the world)
28. Visit the End Of the World Swing in Baños
29. Visit Pailon del Diablo (the Devils Cauldron) going from Baños by bike
30. Go to Papallacta Thermal Springs and hike at the National Reserve
31. Visit Otavalo and its handcraft market and bargain while buying there – Even hardened skinflints won’t be able to resist bagging a few of the fabulous handicrafts and weavings on offer at one of the largest and most colourful artisanal markets on the continent.
32. Visit Colonial Cuenca – Pristine colonial architecture, cobbled streets, illustrious churches and flowering plazas give Cuenca a distinguished air and the well-deserved reputation of being the country’s most enchanting city.
33. Go to the Angel Paramo and visit the El Voladero Lake – High-altitude grassland wildernesses rolling uninterrupted for miles between lonely, mist-shrouded lakes in many of the country’s highland reserves, the páramo is bleak, cold and wet, but hauntingly beautiful.
34. Go by train to Nariz del Diablo – Experience one of the world’s greatest train journeys as it descends the Andes over the “Devil’s Nose” in a sequence of thrilling switchback turns.
35. Ride a horse at the Andes – Brought by the conquistadors, horses may be late arrivals to Ecuador, but they are uniquely suited to in-depth exploration of the country’s sweeping highland landscapes.
36. Visit Ingapirca ruins – Perched on a hillside overlooking serene pastoral countryside, Ecuador’s best-preserved Inca ruins exhibit the fine stonemasonry and trapezoidal doorways that were the hallmarks of the empire’s architecture.
37. Go see orchids at the cloud forest – A miracle of biodiversity, Ecuador has more orchid species than any other country on Earth.
38. Go see hummingbirds at the cloud forest
39. Hike to the yellow lake at the Altar snow peak (This takes 3 days and 2 nights)
40. Visit the Tulipe museum and walk by a “culunco”
41. Sleep at a traditional “hacienda” at the Andes
42. Visit Zuleta
43. Sleep at the mountain refuge at Cayambe snow peak
44. Camp in Jerusalén
45. Go to El Cajas National Park
46. Visit Vilcabamba, Loja
Want to make sure you’ve covered everything in the Amazon? Make sure you:
47. Go rafting in Tena
48. Swim with pink dolphins at the Amazon
49. Experience the rain and the sounds of the rainforest
50. Watch the sunset in the middle of a lake at the Amazon
51. See the Caimans and Anacondas
52. Take a picture of a millennial tree
Visiting the Coast? Don’t miss out on:
53. Visiting Isla de la Plata at Machalilla National Park
54. Snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful fish
55. Finding Manta-rays and Whales at the Machalilla National Park
56. Swimming at a sulphur lake at Agua Blanca, Manabí
57. Camping at Machalilla National Park and spend the day at Los Frailes beach
58. Surfing at Mompiche beach
59. Going to Puyango Petrified Forest
60. Riding a bike through the Santay Island, Guayaquil
61. Visiting a cocoa hacienda at the coast
62. Watching people playing marimbas at Esmeraldas
63. Knowing more about our pre-hispanic coastal cultures: Machalilla and Chorrera
Contemplating a trip to Galapagos?
64. Go to the Galapagos Islands – The fearless creatures seeking out an existence on a few scarred volcanic islands that inspired Darwin still give an unparalleled insight into the mechanics of nature at one of the world’s most treasured wildlife destinations.
Are you wanting to experience holidays and festivities in Ecuador and wondering which time of year to go? Perhaps you want to experience some Ecuadorian indigenous cultural traditions? Here are some festivals that you might want to consider:
65. Join in the ancestral tradition of La Diablada de Píllaro in Tungurahua (1st – 6th January)
66. Take part in the traditional Los Danzantes de Pujilí festival (3rd week in June)
67. Get involved in El Corpus Cristi festivities at Cayambe or Pujilí
68. Visit Ibarra where the national popular party La Cacería del Zorro is hosted
69. Join in the local festivities of San Pedro and Cayambe (June)
70. Experience cultural events at El Paseo del Chagra (July)
71. Take part in the Inti Raymi, also known as the ‘Sun Festival’ (June 21)
72. Join the La Mama Negra festival in Latacunga (September and November)
73. Enjoy the El Carnaval de Guaranda festival and local culture (between February and March)
74. Get involved in the Fiesta el Yamor in Otavalo (September) – Sacred drink made out of corn used to thank Mother Earth for its kindness and giving us its products.
75. Visit Tarqui-Cuenca where the Festival de la Cosecha de Maíz occurs
76. Experience the El Pase del Niño festival in Cuenca (24th December)
Are you a foodie and like to try new things? Here is a list of local foods you must taste whilst you’re in Ecuador and where you can find them!
77. Bizcochos and queso de hoja (special biscuits and cheese), Cayambe
78. Pan de leche (milk bread), Ibarra
79. Fritada (fried pork), Atuntaqui
80. Helados de paila (special fruit ice creams), Ibarra or Pomasqui
81. Caldo de pata (soup made out from the legs of the cows)
82. Cuy (guinea pig)
83. Yaguarlocro (traditional soup)
84. Higos with cheese
85. Colada morada con guaguas de pan (November 1-2)
86. Fanesca (Easter)
87. Sánduche de pernil at a traditional place at the Historical center in Quito
88. Local juices: tree tomato, guanabana, blackberry and naranjilla.
89. Local milkshakes: taxo, blackberry
90. Hot chocolate with fresh cheese melt inside
91. Chontacuros, Amazon
92. Choclo asado with cheese
93. Quinua soup
94. Locro de papas (andean soup made from potatoes and avocado on top)
95. Ceviche – The bright, zesty flavours and tender textures of ceviche, seafood marinated in lime juice, have made it a national obsession, especially on the coast, where it makes the perfect accompaniment to sun, a cold beer – and a bowl of popcorn.
96. Drink Rosero, Cuenca
97. Eat Morocho de dulce
98. Try Sánduche de sastre
99. Drink Guayusa tea, Amazon
So there you have it! 99 places to visit, things to do and meals to eat whilst you’re in Ecuador on a project with Kaya! If you are yet to book yourself onto one of our projects, then be sure to check out all the projects we have in Ecuador and request a call back from one of our placement advisors today.