Ecuador may be one of the smallest South American countries but what it lacks in size, it makes up in variety. First of all, it’s one of the few “megadiverse” countries in terms of fauna and flora. Just in birds alone, Ecuador is home to more than 1600 different species and counts around 3500 kinds of orchids. Traveling to Ecuador will take you through the peaks of the Andes, the Amazon rainforest, colonial cities, traditional villages, coastal towns and of course, the Galápagos Islands. There are so many things to see and do but we’ll highlight 5 not-to-be-missed experiences in beautiful Ecuador.
At Flockeo, we love markets ! It’s one of the best ways to dive into a destination’s culture. Colors, smells, noise, the language difference… simply being astonished at foodstuff you may have never seen before… A visit to an Andean market should be on your list. Saquisili’s market is one of the largest and the most authentic. Riobamba and the Quechua market of Guamote are not as well-known but definitely worth a visit.
Baños de Agua Santa is a town with a dual face. Set in a gorgeous environment (in a valley surrounded by forest) it’s both a thermal bath destination (there are hot springs in town) and an active sport hotspot. Hiking in the forest or through river gorges? Check ! ingthe “ruta de las Cascadas” to gawk at stunning waterfalls ? Chack. Go rafting on Rio Pastaza ? Check! Mountain biking all the way to the Amazonian basin ? Check! Not enough ? You can also do canyoning, ziplining… And after all these heart-pumping activities, it’s time to relax at the baths at the edge of town.
The Quilotoa Loop is a self-guided, mountainous, multi-day hike linking several high Andean towns. It’s one of the most popular in Ecuador. The go, apart frm the beauty of the moutains, is to reach the Quilotoa Lake, a beautiful blue lake that was formed in the crater of an excinct volcano. One of the advantages of this trek is that you don’t have to camp in the wild. Each leg starts and finishes in a town and we even have two sustainable accommodations located in Chugchilan listed on Flockeo !
One of the jewels of Ecuador is the Galápagos Archipelago. Lost in the Pacific Ocean, these islands remained isolated for a very long time and developed a unique flora and fauna, making it a beacon of biodiversity ever since Charles Darwin set foot there (the rest is history). But with a fragile environment and a sharp increase in tourist numbers (at least until COVID-19 struck), is it possible to travel in a sustainable way in the Galápagos? You will have to do some homework… Look for eco-friendly lodgings, tour companies that are local-run or that truly benefit the local communities, think about staying longer so you can avoid cruises but still see as much wildlife as possible. Fortunately, at Flockeo, we have some good adresses.
Do you like birds ? You will feel llke hitting the jackpot everyday in the lovely village of Mindo. Not too far from Quito and nestled in a beautiful cloudforest, Mindo has become quite the attraction among birders… and backpackers. The main bird attraction is the cock-of-rock, a bright orange-red bird that has become a symbol of the place. If you’re not so much into birding, there’s always hiking, tubing, canyoning… There’s a plethora of activities and then, there’s the chocolate. Mindo is a top cocoa producer so, why not take a tour to discover the secret of chocolate-making right from where cocoa is produced ? To top it all, Mindo has a thriving community, committed to sustainable tourism and on Flockeo, we have a whole bunch of addresses to share in Ecuador.