Even though it is the smallest country in South America, nestled between Columbia and Peru, Ecuador still has plenty to offer. From sunny beaches on the beautiful coastline of the Pacific Ocean, to hiking up the majestic Andean Highlands, as well as exploring the Amazon Rainforest in between, Ecuador has something different to offer depending on your travel style and activity level.
Many international travelers will often find themselves flying into the capital city Quito. Sitting at the foothills of the Andean Highlands, Quito is well over two thousand eight hundred metres high and serves as a great introduction city to both ancient and modern Ecuadorian culture. Quito is also where travelers can find the equator line.
From Quito, the rest of the country is either a short plane, bus, or train ride away. While advance ticket selection is needed, as it often fills up quickly, the Ecuadorian Railroad is a comfortable transport option to travel within the country. It also doesn't hurt that it offers some spectacular scenery en route.
Aside from Quito, there are numerous other cities travelers can visit while in Ecuador. One of the most popular destinations are the archipelago volcanic islands of the Galapagos Islands. As one of the richest places for flora and fauna viewing, the Galapagos Islands are where naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin made his evolutionary discoveries. At about a thousand kilometers off the coast on Ecuador, there are several flights daily flying from either Quito or Guayaquil, the closest city to the islands, making this region easily accessible.
The Amazon region is also an attractive area for travelers to visit. It is highly recommended to visit the Amazon Rainforest with an organized tour, whether in private or in groups. There are several popular entrance city points which are easily accessible by plane or bus. Lago Agrio, Tena, and Coca are amongst the more popular cities.
Ecaudor also boasts numerous national parks; the two largest are Cayambe-Coca and Cotopaxi. Dubbed the adrenaline junkie's outdoor playground, this region is where travelers can hike up active volcanoes, white-water raft and kayak through the rushing rivers, speed down volcano slopes on a mountain bike, swim under waterfalls, or soak and relax in natural hot springs. Cotopaxi is also where you'll find the famous swing, also known as the "swing at the end of the world," where those brave enough can swing on a side of a cliff!
With a huge array of diverse landscape and terrain, the temperature in Ecuador can also vary widely, even though it is so centrally located on the equator line. It can be hot and sunny on the beaches and coastline, but rainy and downright cold in the high altitudes of the Andes. Packing lightweight clothing to layer is key. Also don't forget rain protection wear, as it's often rainy or dewy in the higher regions.
Finding a comfortable place to stay is fairly easy in Ecuador. There is a wide range of accommodation choices from which to choose -- including everything from luxury hotels to cheap and basic hostels in Ecuador. There are no shortages of hostels in Ecuador, especially in the larger cities. For example, in Quito, travelers can easily find comfortable, clean, and safe Ecuador hostels for a very reasonable price, and in smaller cities, guests can easily find dorm beds for even less.
In most Ecuador hostel dorm rooms, expect the basic amenities such as bunk beds, lockers, private lights, and shared power plugs. There are a small amount of Ecuador hostels that also offer kitchen facilities for guests to use, but it is not the norm.
Generally, with the proper precaution, safety and security are not an issue in hostels in Ecuador. However, Wi-Fi and internet connections can still be spotty and irregular.
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Tourists need to avoid the district calle Amazona at night alone in Quito. There is a red light district that leads up to the bario Floresta in Quito.
I loved staying in Mindo. It's perfect for a short jungle visit. Take the little gondola and hike to the waterfalls. It's beautiful.
We found that Banos was the high spot on our vist to Ecuador.
Montañita is an incredible place and the beach at night is very crazy. You have to come and watch and feel for yourself.
Love the city. Full of life, friendly people and very cheap. The U.S. dollar goes a long way there. Been there with my wife to visit her family five times and was also married there. Make sure you visit the Malecon 2000, which is a large waterfront park located on the Guayas river in the downtown area. Lots of …