10 Adventures To Do in Ecuador

10 recommended activities to do in ecuador if you love adventure

We selected the 10 best adventures to do in Ecuador. These are categorized by water, land and air adventures and listed in no particular order.

Can you imagine an adventurous trip through four completely different regions during a single vacation? Ecuador knows four different climates , each with different landscapes. All offering a wide range of adventurous things to do.

The Volcanoes and mountains in the Andes reach impressive altitudes. Hiking and climbing its snow tops (at the equator) is quite a challenge. Just a car ride away, you’ll get to enjoy the rapids of the Napo river in the Amazon jungle, while being surrounded with the world’s largest biodiversity. Moving west, the Pacific Coast has many beautiful beaches, which are every surfer’s dream. Then going over 850 miles into the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find the Galapagos Islands. This remote natural pearl is the perfect place for scuba diving.

Adventures to do in Ecuador's waters

1. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Galapagos’ richness in the surrounding Pacific Ocean is unlike any other. It has been marveled by explorers and scientists like Charles Darwin. 

Just imagine swimming among marine iguanas, seals, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and penguins. You can swim through volcanic trenches and ravines formed by volcanic explosions from millions of years ago.

There is a reason the Galapagos is on every experienced scuba diver’s bucket list. However, there is plenty for beginner and intermediate divers as well. But even without all the gear and just a snorkel, you’ll still get to enjoy the underwater paradise of the Galapagos. 

Diving options at the Galapagos are limitless. You could go for a half day tour only, a full week diving cruise or anything in between. And for those who dare, night dives are unforgettable experiences.

scuba diver Galapagos

2.Surfing

Ecuador is a true surfer’s Paradise. One could write a complete book about it. There are plenty of options for each level.

Along the completely Pacific Coasts you’ll find plenty of towns perfect for surfing. Each town has its own charm. From small fishermen towns to coastal cities. There are places full of backpackers who love to party or towns where tourism is so small that the locals love to have a chat with every “gringo”.

Some surfers rent a car to hop from one town to the other. The Ruta del spondylus takes you along the complete mainland’s coast from north to south. If this sounds appealing to you, you should definitely read our article about best beaches in Ecuador.

Another surfers hot spots you’ll find at the Galapagos Islands. In this remote natural pearl, you’ll be enjoying the waves together with seals and sea lions. These wild animals are surprisingly curious and not so shy.

3. River Kayaking and Rafting

The rivers that enrich the Amazon and the coast originate in the Andean Sierra peaks. On its way down, the water is a source of all Ecuador’s impressive nature and diverse wildlife. Meanwhile, it creates some great rapids for those who love water sports.

Baños and Tena are Ecuador’s Kayaking and rafting hot spots. There are rivers for all levels of experience. Make sure to only go with an experienced guide and/or teacher. Without proper guidance, it’s very dangerous. With proper guidance, it’s a fantastic experience.

4. waterfall Canyoning

Rappelling down waterfalls, what better way to experience Ecuador’s rivers? Trekking through the Andean-amazon territory in search for waterfalls, where staying dry is not an option. Encounter the might of each cascade, like braving nature or taming a wild animal, ending with the nostalgic feeling of wishing to come back as soon as possible.

canyoning-ECUADOR

Adventures to do in ecuador on land

5. rappeling

The beauty of rappelling in Ecuador is its spectacular natural surroundings. Dare to face Los Tayos caves in the Amazon, a scenery perfectly designed for an Indiana Jones movie.  Here,  people get to descend from the cave’s entrance into a natural maze surrounded by stalagmites, waterfalls, flora and fauna.

Speaking of natural wonders, the Galápagos Islands have some impressive rappelling tours as well. For instance, at the Isla Isabela you’ll be surrounded by virgin vegetation. On the island, you’ll find the Volcán Trillizos. Here, you’ll have the exhilarating experience of descending 150 meters down into an inactive volcano.

6. Trekking and hiking

Hiking may not seem so adrenaline triggering, but the beautiful Andean highlands with its impressive volcanoes are definitely worth exploring. It will give you an unforgettable experience.

The famous volcano craters Quilotoa and Pululahua (Pichincha province) offer some beautiful hikes. You can hike down these volcanoes to the craters through multiple paths.

Another beautiful hike takes you over the Qhapaq Ñan (“Great Road” in the quichua language). The path was originally created to connect the Incan empire from Ecuador to Chile. You’ll encounter the Ingapirca ruins on your way.

The Llanganates National Park is a must see for hikers as well. Legend tells us that here, the last Incan emperor Atahualpa’s treasure was hidden to prevent the Spanish conquistadores from finding it.

7. Horseback Riding

It’s time to ride Ecuadorian style! You’ll be wearing a poncho made of alpaca or sheep wool, a sombrero and “zamorras” (riding leg protection). You’ll be a true “chagras” (Ecuadorian cowbow).

Twice a year, a chagra rodeo is held. Here, you’ll be able to experience a western-style show as the most experienced riders get to herd cattle. Also, you could accompany them on their journey around the Cotopaxi and Rumiñahui volcanoes.

The Andean Sierra region has several “hachiendas” (Ecuadorian ranches) from which you can explore the highlands by horse. With or without previous riding background, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the Ecuadorian cowboy lifestyle. The chill of the mountain, grasslands that extend for miles melodically moving with the Andean breeze, a breath of fresh air, of freedom.

Andes view

adventures to do in the Ecuadorian sky

8. ziplining

On the border between the Andes and the Amazon, you’ll find the small town of Baños. The combination of these two regions is a recipe for an extraordinary scenery. This is characterized by its semi-tropical weather with a mixture of mountains and jungle flora and fauna. Ziplining is the perfect way to enjoy its landscapes.

In Baños, you’ll find complete ziplining tours taking you through canyons near waterfalls, crossing extreme bridges, canyon climbing, extreme swings, etc. To increase the challenge, you can cross in different positions. Try ziplining in “Superman style”, which is with your belly facing downwards, or the most extreme one of them all: upside down, also known as the “bat position”. You can even zipline together with a partner.

Mindo holds an even so spectacular scenery. It’s located on the way from Quito to the pacific coast. It’s still in the Andes, but already at lower altitude. Therefore, you’ll find a warm climate in a cloud forest. You can hike through the semi-tropical forest from one zipline station to the other. On your way, you’ll encounter a combination of fogginess and clear blue skies.

9. Bungee Jumping

The San Francisco bridge in Baños is a well known bungee jump hot spots. Crowds gather nearby, staring in awe at those brave enough to face the fear of heights and dive into this adventure. The river down in the valley awaits from below, daring its visitors to take a step closer.

Make sure to connect with qualified agencies to guarantee your safety through this thrilling experience. Hold on tight to your camera, because it’s a crazy ride you won’t forget!

10. Paragliding

Now, we’ll travel west to the Pacific Coast for another adventure high up in the Ecuadorian skies. Beach towns such as Canoa, Montañita and Puerto López have ideal weather for paragliding and are surrounded by movie-like sceneries.

These places are good for both beginners as well as advanced paragliders. Its favorable winds allow you to stay in the air longer. Paragliding at Pacific coast is a worthwhile experience to enjoy Ecuador’s vast diversity in sceneries.

The coastal breeze gently pushes the waves towards the shore, looking like cotton as they grow farther away. A few boats arrive to shore with the fishermen pulling on the nets with the catch of the day. Meanwhile, seagulls and frigates with no respect for personal space, swirl around, trying to snatch some fish away from the nets as the sun gleams through the light-blue waters. While you’ll get to witness the whole spectacle from above.

Para glider at the coast

By Ana Cris Espinosa

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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