The Ultimate South American Megadiverse Tour: Ecuador’s Top 15 Must-See Destinations in 2023

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Despite having a joyful holiday earlier, many travelers cannot resist the plentiful picturesque landscapes in this blissful paradise of Ecuador. With numerous activities to do in the area, you’ll be overwhelmed with choices. Historical structures, unspoiled islands, and exciting adventure sports will entice you to return to this stunning country. With a deep respect for nature, this nation has certainly put in more effort to conserve its natural reserves. Additionally, as the nearest country to space, several tourists visit simply to admire its tallest mountain, Mount Chimborazo. So, are you interested?

Continue reading to discover the top destinations to visit in Ecuador and find out what awaits in this country that might perfectly align with your plans!

15 Finest Places To Visit In Ecuador

With an abundance of locations to explore for every type of traveler, Ecuador’s warm and friendly people will surely enhance your trip. Find out where to go with this compilation of the best places to visit here!

River from Top

1. Quilotoa Loop

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A peaceful contemplation amidst the mountains is something you might crave after a hectic schedule in your daily life. A trip to Ecuador necessitates a visit to this remarkable loop, which connects several hiking trails that pass through the remote villages of the Andean region, providing you with breathtaking views of the famous crater lake. You can, of course, take a bus to shorten your hike and explore the villages, but we would not advise you to miss out on the magnificent scenery that you can witness during your hike. If you’re in the mood for a little shopping alongside your hike, the local villages also host flea markets!

Essential Read: Galápagos National Park: A Comprehensive Guide For a Thrilling Ecuadorian Travel Experience

Shopping shop

2. Otavalo

Image Credit: Dezalb by Pixabay

This destination in Ecuador will provide you with all the reasons why shopping during your vacation is crucial. The lively markets here showcase handmade crafts for sale, as well as leather goods and jewelry with a variety of textiles, renowned in the Andes region. This is the perfect place for photographers, with unique shots of locals donning their traditional attire and the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. If you visit on a Saturday, you can immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of the main market, and regardless of whether these markets are open or not, you can also purchase handmade products in Plaza de los Ponchos.


3. Galapagos Island

Image Credit: Paul Krawczuk by Flickr

Have you heard about these volcanic islands yet? Well, if not, here’s your opportunity to visit and witness it firsthand. What better way to gain knowledge about these magnificent Galápagos with a distinct ecosystem located in the eastern Pacific Ocean. While spotting the penguins, sea lions and iguanas around the area won’t be an issue, efforts have been made to maintain the preservation of the national park, due to which some areas have limited access. However, the great news is that you can definitely explore with a certified tour guide to have an invigorating encounter with nature!

Recommended Read: This Island In South America Is The World’s Most Hazardous Place

Mindo village

4. Mindo

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A village like Mindo in the Andes mountains will never disappoint you when you’re full of energy. For some travelers, when a calming vacation amidst nature isn’t sufficient, places like Mindo offer thrilling activities to liven up your trip! You can choose from a variety of enjoyable activities like river rafting, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. What’s more, you can also learn about the process of chocolate making at El Quetzal del Mindo along with bird-watching. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this area with farmlands, numerous streams, and three main rivers, providing the perfect getaway for a family vacation.

Famous place

5. Cuenca

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This destination is renowned for its festivals held in the months of November and January. When visiting this city, you will come across the fascinating ancient buildings from the colonial era with houses featuring balconies, cobblestone streets, and old white churches. This is one of the elements that makes this city a joy to explore on foot primarily. Nonetheless, both the Old and New Cathedrals of Cuenca, along with the Church of San Sebastian and the Museum of Religious Arts, are some of the places you should visit in this vibrant city, which is now a World Heritage Site. If you’re passionate about history, this will surely be at the top of your list of Ecuador tourist attractions!

Recommended reading: 10 Top American Road Journeys For An Unforgettable Experience In The Land Of Stunning Views!


6. Guayaquil

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Being Ecuador’s largest populated city, Guayaquil is often seen as the business center of Ecuador with numerous entertainment venues to shop and dine at. The famous Malecon 2000, a promenade along the peaceful Guayas river, is a must-visit to conclude your thrilling tour. You can explore the various historical sites also provided by The Parque Historico Guayaqui at no cost. It can be quite overwhelming for tourists visiting the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporaneo, which showcases the country’s renowned culture and abundant history.

7. Quito

Mountain and fogg

Image Credit: Jacorream by Pixabay

Why Quito? Well, you definitely cannot miss the famous capital city, which is also recognized as a World Heritage Site, featuring public squares, informative colossal museums, and centuries-old churches! Renowned for its historic buildings and majestic structures displaying glimpses of ancient architecture, the palaces scattered throughout the city such as the Carondolet Palace and the Presidential Palace stand confidently in all their splendor. Additionally, you can take a moment to admire the Archbishop’s Palace and Municipal Palace while discovering Quito’s popular cathedrals like the Basílica del Voto Nacional and churches like the La Compania de Jesus Church and San Francisco Church.

Recommended reading: 15 Most Haunted Places In America: Distinctive And Each With A Disturbing History!

Green mountains

8. Nariz Del Diablo

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Located in Riobamba, Nariz Del Diablo, or the Devil’s nose is a restored railway covering the routes opening to the country’s most awe-inspiring views amid the Andes mountains. For some individuals, it is also considered to be an essential item on their list of things to do. You can witness the most magnificent views lying between the towns of Aluasi and Sibambe which is where the train begins its journey, going all the way up to the staion crossing the vertical sides of the mountains. Exploring the Puñuna Condor Museum is also one of the activities to consider along this route of the devil’s nose. Are you on board?

Fogg in the air

9. Banos

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Despite being a small town, Banos is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Ecuador due to its numerous hot springs. Situated at the base of an active volcano known as Tungurahua, this place offers the most splendid Ecuador sightseeing spots in the country with multiple waterfalls cascading down to the river. Due to its location at the corner of the Amazon basin, mountain biking and hiking are some of the enjoyable activities you can partake in while visiting the area. Be sure to try the famous candy ‘melcocha’ here while shopping for some local products to take back home. A vibrant balsa parrot is something you’ll commonly encounter in these markets.

Suggested Read: Sipadan Island Guide: A Paradise for Diving Enthusiasts & Birdwatchers!


10. Salinas

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With several tall condominiums dotted along the coastline, Salinas’ beach, also known as the Little Miami beach, is renowned among surfers and individuals with yachts. Topping the list of concealed places in Ecuador, this is definitely the destination for a laid-back and leisurely vacation if you wish to soak up more sun and sand during your visit. The winter months of December and January are ideal for visiting this beach paradise, and you might want to pack lightly as the weather remains pleasant throughout the year. You may also spot some sea turtles laying their eggs near the shore during your beach time!

11. Quito

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The primary city of Ecuador is an obligatory destination to explore during your journey to the stunning country. Situated at a high elevation, the city is a marvelous amalgamation of diverse cultures and stands as one of the initial cities enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its cobblestone streets will captivate your heart.

12. Guamote

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If you are seeking a serene expedition, away from the commotion and uproar of urban life, then you must pay a visit to Guamote. The splendid panorama of mud-brick residences and solid edifices will leave you in awe! It is also renowned for its Thursday market, which offers distinctive mementos like trinkets, multicolored gowns, and more, making it truly one of the intriguing locations to explore in Ecuador.

13. Tena

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If you desire an unconventional vacation where you can immerse yourself in the wilderness, far from the clamor of city life, then Tena is the ideal destination for you. Situated on the fringes of the Amazon basin, Tena is a small town that entices numerous backpackers with its aesthetic allure.


14. Vilcabamba

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For a regal retreat, venture to Vilcabamba! It is a splendidly crafted town nestled between Podocarpus national forest and Mount Mandingo. From horseback riding and hiking to indulging in spa sessions and exploring the sights, it offers a blend of diverse activities.


15. Cotopaxi

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One of the most extraordinary destinations in Ecuador, Cotopaxi is an essential visit. If you crave for an encounter with the untouched hinterland, then this is the place to be. Here, you can not only embrace the enchantment and allure of the location but also embark on a hike to the everlasting ice field.


Further Read: Split Nightlife: Get Groovy As The Lights Go Down This

Has having knowledge about these venues to visit in Ecuador, South America caused you to be eager to visit this nation as soon as possible? If so, then what are you waiting for? Organize your excursion to Ecuador immediately, to have a captivating encounter with your companions and relatives.

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Commonly Asked Questions About Venues To Visit In Ecuador

Is Ecuador secure for tourists?

Ecuador is a secure country and tourists from all over the globe frequently check into this country. The government has recently implemented multiple safety measures for tourists to ensure their sense of security here.

What is Ecuador renowned for?

Ecuador is home to the Galápagos Islands, which makes it one of the most popular countries visited by tourists worldwide. As the fourth smallest nation in the southern region of the Americas, Ecuador possesses some of the finest architectural marvels and naturally formed caves.

Is it safe to travel to Ecuador during the Covid era?

It is necessary to adhere to all the mandatory safety guidelines provided by the authorities to guarantee a secure travel experience. Wear a mask when leaving the hotel and maintain social distancing. Avoid crowded places and regularly sanitize your hands after touching surfaces.

What should you not overlook in Ecuador?

Some destinations that you should not overlook in Ecuador are: 1. Quilotoa Loop 2. Galapagos Island 3. Mindo 4. Cuenca 5. Quito

What types of electrical plugs are used in Ecuador?

Ecuador utilizes 110 volts, 60 cycle electricity, similar to the US. They use flat, two-pin plugs. Therefore, if you have US adapters, you will not require a converter or adapter.

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