Guayacanes in Ecuador

Off the Beaten Path in Ecuador | Hidden Paradises

Not all places are marked on a travel guide. To find them, you must set foot in the surroundings, making way for conversations with natives and the ability to hear their stories. Not many tourists have heard about the mysterious places you will be told about. All of them are off the beaten path in Ecuador. These hidden paradises are located all around the country. They will surely make you want to explore more than you have planned.

Off the beaten path in southern ecuador

Let’s begin in Loja, the deep south of the country. Here, many of these unusual places can be found. Mangahurcois a town located near the border of Peru. At the start of each year, one of the most fascinating natural events in the country occurs: the flowering of the Guayacanes (picture at the top of the article). The intense yellow colored trees appear over thousands of hectares of land after nine months of absence. The trees shelter the ground in preparation for the rainy season.

The city of coffee and gold

Heading north, in the province of El Oro, there is one of the so-called magical towns of Ecuador: Zaruma. It is known as the City of Coffee and Gold. This is a friendly place that could undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful hidden gems on the Ecuadorian coast. Its wooden houses decorated with colorful and pruned gardens, the charm of its squares, and the location on the Puyango River overlooking the foothill forests of the coastline make it a worth exploring spot.

Gold Smith Capital

Speaking of ‘jewels’ like Zaruma, you cannot miss a visit to Chordeleg. It Is known as the Goldsmith Capital. The entire town is a large market dedicated to silver and gold. The beauty and sophistication will immediately captivate you. The sepulcher’s field (according to its etymology) is also a historical settlement, as it is said to be the resting place of ancient chiefs and cañari kings (former inhabitants of this region).

Chordeleg plaza Ecuador
Chordeleg off the beaten track in Ecuador

Off the Beaten path at the ecuadorian pacific coast

Back on the coast, in Guayas, we recommend you visit Santay.  This isla is only 800 meters away from the city. The bridge that leads to this conservation treasury is located near the barrio del astillero (shipyard neighborhood). Santay is home to iguanas, ocelots, boas, alligators, mangroves, and hidden reed beds. This off the beaten path destination in Ecuador has quickly become a hot-spot for ecological tourism and adventure sports in the province.

Isla Santay - Ecuador
Isla Santay - Ecuador

If you want to find the most beautiful beaches of the country, you should go to Manabí. At the border with Santa Elena one will reach Ayampe, a small fishing village surrounded by humid forests. Rock formations such as the islote de los ahorcados or cinco cerros make for unique sunsets. You can also find similar landscapes near Jama, a northern Manabi beach, like the arco del amor (love’s arc). Locals say that those who cross through these particular rocks are destined to be together forever.

the hidden paradises in the amazon jungle

The Amazon province of Pastaza is rich in culture and biodiversity. In the city of Puyo, on the road to Macas, there is a small path that leads to el mirador Indichuris (Indichuris viewpoint). The journey is short and is characterized by a variety of interesting community tourism projects. There is also ancient places such as the Hola Vida waterfall. From the top of the viewpoint, you can rest in hammocks overlooking the meeting of the Pastaza and Puyo rivers below.

Mirador Indichuris - Ecuador
Mirador Indichuris - Ecuador off the beaten track
In Orellana and Napo you may immerse into some underground exploring areas that not many have reached. Not far from Quito, on the way to Mondayacu, is the Gran Cañón. It is a 10-meter waterfall that plunges into the depths of a cavern. La Belleza waterfall, diverted along the path to los zorros, delights the view with its particular shape. It can easily be one of the widest waterfalls known in Ecuador, approximately 22 meters wide.

off the beaten path at the galapagos islands

Finally, in the enchanted islands of Galápagos, you should make your way to El Junco at the San Cristóbal Biological Reserve. This lagoon is located inside the caldera of an extinct volcano. It’s the only source of freshwater in the entire archipelago. It is also a well-known resting place for dozens of frigates that clean their feathers in its water. Something similar happens in Bartolomé Island, at Pinnacle Rock, where its orange, green, and reddish-colored soils witness the arrival of penguins that migrate here every year.
El Junco Galapagos
El Junco Galapagos

Although each of these places have different charms. There is one that all of them have in common: they are hidden at the first sight. Each one invites you to discover far beyond than meeting the eye. If you dare to visit them, you will surely find more on the way; it all depends on how much you want to venture inside off the beaten track.

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 Stories section, 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.

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