to do in Ecuador: snorkeling Galapagos

6 things to do in Ecuador

An overview of Ecuador's wide range of activities

Ecuador is a country full of wonderful sites to visit. Whether you’re adventurous, a beach lover, interested in culture or someone who enjoys nature. With its four different regionals (Amazon, Andes, Galapagos and Pacific Coast), there is a wide array of things to do. You’ll sure have a great time in this beautiful South-American country. Here, we’ll give you six ideas of things to do in Ecuador.

(1) Go island-hopping at the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are considered one of the world’s most remarkable places to visit and declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
These Islands boast endemic wildlife like no other place on Earth combined with breathtaking white sand beaches. The National Park encompasses 97% of the entire Galapagos territory, with islands such as Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Isabela, Floreana, and many more.

Tortuga bay - Galapagos

Besides impressive nature, many come to the Galapagos for its adventure. It’s a great destination for scuba diving, snorkeling and hiking. Above all, don’t forget to go to the paradisiacal beach of Tortuga bay to swim with friendly sea lions or just sunbath on the beach.

The Galapagos is a true natural paradise you’ll never forget. Here, you’ll read a full article about what to expect from the Galapagos Islands

(2) Take a tour in the Amazon jungle

The Amazon region of Ecuador is packed with endemic flora and fauna, as well as unique jungle  landscapes. Also, the Amazon has many protected areas. Located between the provinces of Napo and Pastaza, the Yasuní National Park is known as the most biodiverse place on Earth. Here, you’ll find plenty of wildlife to watch and marvel.

Amazon monkies

To go deep into the Amazon jungle, you’d need a domestic flight. If you’d prefer to go by car, Tena would be a good option. This town is at the border of the jungle and has good roads. Read a travel review about Tena or check it out at google-maps.

For more about nature in Ecuador, check out this article. Here, you’ll read about the amazon, but also the 3 other natural regions Ecuador knows. 

(3) Hike, climb (or just visit) the Chimborazo

Ecuador is home to a considerable number of volcanoes that can be seen from most of the country’s Andean towns. The Chimborazo volcano, located in the province of Chimborazo in the Central Andes, is Ecuador’s highest mountain. Furthermore, it’s the farthest point from the center of the earth.

The volcano is one of the world’s top destinations for climbers looking for a new challenge. Even so, Chimborazo is worthwhile a visit for the less adventurous travelers. With its icy white summit and towering presence, it offers some of the most beautiful panoramas you’ll find in Ecuador.

chimborazo view

The Chimborazo is just one of the many adventurous activities you’ll find in Ecuador. For a good overview of adventures in Ecuador, you should read this article.

(4) explore the Historic center of Quito

The capital of Ecuador, Quito, has the best-preserved historic city center in the America (north, central and south). Quito became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1978. Indeed, just like the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador proudly ranks 2 out of 12 sites.

Its traditional colonial architecture, which includes some of the most monumental churches in the continent, is one of the elements that makes this place a top destination on your vacation. Quito’s Historic Center is a bustling quarter, a piece of history preserved in time for the world to see.


For a complete overview of culture in Quito and Ecuador, you can read this article.

(5) Bathe in the Hot Springs of Papallacta

Papallacta is a small town high up in the mountains in the province of Napo. It is just about an hour away from Quito. Papallacta is famous for its natural hot springs heated by a volcano. While bathing in the hot springs, you’ll enjoy the hot water and the beautiful views simultaneously.  

The village has many hotels, spas and resorts. You’ll go to Papallacta to bathe, eat fresh trout enjoy the majestic view of the Antisana volcano and makes some fantastic hikes.


Papallacta is at an altitude of 3.300 meter, the air temperature is around 12°C (54°F) there. Which makes the hot spring extra enjoyable. The coastal area, on the other hand, is at sea level and around 32°C (90° F). In Ecuador, the weather differs a lot within the country. Here, you’ll read about the different climates per region and time of the year.

(6) take a road trip along the pacific coast (ruta del spondylus)

Ecuador has some of the most beautiful beaches of South America. Most of them are along the Pacific Coast line of around 400 miles (600km). By car, you can drive the Ruta del Spondylus (The Spondylous Route).

On your way, you’ll cross the coastal provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, Guayas and Santa Elena and all of their remarkable beaches. 

If you like small, pristine beach towns, be sure to stop at places like Canoa, Los Frailes, Puerto Lopez or Ayampe. However, if you’re more interested in small coastal cities, Salinas, Manta or Atacames are a must visit.

We dedicated a complete article to Ecuador’s best beaches.

Machalilla national park

It’s impossible to capture all Ecuador has to offer in a single article. Therefore, we wrote several more. We categorized them by different types of vacations and travel interest. You’ll find an overview here. Or, if you want to travel more off the beaten through Ecuador, we’re sharing several articles here.

Are you looking for more information about traveling to Ecuador?

At What To Do in Ecuador? you’ll find an easy and inspirational summary of what to do in Ecuador.

In the blog, you’ll find more stories about travelers’ experiences. You’ll find articles comparing best places to visit and there are several articles giving you practical travel tips.

At Services, you’ll see how South Trips can help you during your trip. You can think of as little as an airport pick-up, the organization of a part of your trip, or as much as a complete day-to-day organized vacation. Any support is always completely personalized.

If you have any questions about Ecuador, traveling to Ecuador or something you did, or did not read at our website, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to answer all questions.

By Gabriella Salgado

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