Ecuador is best known for its star destinations, the Galápagos and the Amazon. These destinations make tourists from all over the world dream… but this is not your case. Are you looking for an authentic tour? A more sustainable way to travel? Follow our tour!
Whether you travel alone or with others, Ecuador is the perfect destination for backpackers. Indeed, the whole country is crisscrossed by a network of secure buses. The Ofelia terminal in the north of Quito connects all nearby cities in less than an hour. Moreover, the smallness of the country means that you can explore it without spending hours in buses. But you should expect 2 weeks to discover the great diversity of its landscapes and cultures. Take your time!
As we wrote in a previous article, it is one of the few “megadiverse” countries in terms of biodiversity. Finally, if you need to ask for directions, don’t hesitate, the population is very helpful.
The circuit starts on the northern part of Ecuador. It goes along the Pacific Coast lined with beaches and fishing villages. It then goes into the central lands. The landscape is more hilly and rural. It goes up to climb and reach Quito, the capital. And finally, it ends at the doors of the Amazon. This tour, which provides a more sustainable tourism, is in line with the country’s commitment. In 2008, it was the first country to officially recognize the Rights of Nature. Ecuador recognizes that nature has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. “
To the north, take the Ruta del Sol which runs along the Pacific Ocean. This part of the Ecuadorian coast is a natural and cultural space of great importance for the sustainable development of the country. Indeed, it is part of a larger path called the Ruta del Spondylus which covers all the provinces of the coast from north to south.
The Ruta del Sol will take you to the canton of Muisne. Its aphrodisiac beaches, including Mompiche, are crowned with palm groves. This beach of fine sand is 3.7 miles long. It is appreciated by surfers and tourists looking for uncrowded beaches. It is also and especially a small fishing village. Fishermen who, if you help them collect their nets, will gladly share their catch!
In terms of atmosphere, the Afro-Ecuadorian culture is vibrant. The Afro-Ecuadorian music is known for its seductive dance, the marimba. It has been listed as an intangible cultural heritage of the Humanity. Go down to Pedernales to enter the land.
Far from the coast, the landscape becomes hilly and rocky, ideal for trekking. Go down to Quevedo to go to the crater of Quilotoa. You can reach this volcano by a hiking trail that culminates at 12,500 ft. In its center, the volcano hosts a lake of about 1,9 miles in diameter. On the heights of the crater, you will find an Indian village that welcomes tourists. And for the more adventurous, why not take a tour in the bottom of the crater? This is why paths have been built. Well accompanied, you can also go around the lagoon. And even rent a kayak to glide on the turquoise water. Return to civilization by going back to the south of Quito.
At an altitude of 9,200 ft, the city of Quito is built on the side of the Guagua Pichincha volcano. To the south of the city is the historic center. In 1978, it was the first site listed as World Heritage by UNESCO for its colonial architecture. If you want to enjoy an incredible view, climb the towers of the Basílica del Voto Nacional. It is also possible to take a cable car to the top of the Pichincha volcano. It will drop you off at 13,100 ft to admire the majestic Cotopaxi and Cayambe volcanoes. If you like high altitude, you will be delighted by the Ecuadorian volcanoes. With a peak elevation of 20,548 ft, Chimborazo is the highest summit of the Ecuadorian Andes. And it is even defined as the highest peak in the world.
If you are looking for more thrills, you can go to Baños, an active sports area.
Once you arrive in Baños, you are at the gateway to the Amazon. This landscape is ideal to observe the Ecuadorian fauna because it is more open than the jungle. Just like Mindo is. There, you will be able to admire the mythical bird of Ecuador, the magnificent hummingbird.
A little more than an hour from Baños is the town of Puyo. The town itself is of little interest. But if you are looking for places to visit, the botanical garden Las Orquídeas and the ethnobotanical park Omaere are incredible. Since 1980, the botanical garden has dedicated 2 hectares to natural regeneration. The Omaere Park was one of the first ethnobotanical parks in Latin America. Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between cultures and the plants that surround them. Plants are a vital source for indigenous peoples. As it is located on the shore of the Amazon basin, Puyo is becoming more and more attractive.
Its proximity to the tropical jungle makes it a gateway to explore the Amazon. Just like Puerto de Misahuallí which is even closer. It is the perfect city to arrange a hike to the Amazon jungle.
Finally, you don’t have to go deep into the jungle to see monkeys. Misahuallí is the town of the capuchins! They are used to human presence and are not afraid to come and rummage through your bag. The organized tours also offer the opportunity to meet local people. The indigenous people have developed ecotourism activities related to their culture. You may be able to attend a ritual celebration. They practice shamanism which is a way which enables the connection between human beings and spirits. So ready to dive into the heart of Ecuador?