Esmeraldas Ecuador

Ecuador’s Nature off the beaten path | Beautiful by Nature

Are you planning on a vacation to Ecuador? You love nature and you’d like to see some off the beaten path places? This article gives some suggestions of not so commonly visited nature in Ecuador. This South-American country is so full of natural treasures, that even though these places are not on an average tourist tour, they are still impressively beautiful.

Ecuador’s hidden beaches and undiscovered natural shores

The Galera – San Francisco Natural Reserve, in Esmeraldas, it’s a good starting point to explore the off the beaten path beaches of Ecuador. Tongorachi is one of them. Located 20 minutes away from Quingue, its shore is surrounded by everlasting green forests. It also has natural pools formed by the ocean when the tide is low. Next to the Playa Galera, you will reach the Cumilinche Club. This is a small and private coast guarded by palms, cabins and estuaries that reach their end next to the sea. Cumilinche is only 5 minutes away from Playa Escondida (literally hidden beach), and it’s also a perfect spot for camping.

Nesting turtles, pairing crabs and gorgeous panoramas

Heading north from Puerto Cayo, in the central coast of Manabí, there’s La Botada. Marine turtles come to nest in the shores of this beach every year. There is a hill right next to it with a lighthouse on top that makes it a photogenic spot for pictures. Another almost virgin coast that is near from this point is Briceño, where crabs come to pair. The sea is so calm that it’s comparable with an enormous lagoon. There are cabins where you can spend the night and make your way after to popular sites such as San Vicente and Canoa. Another close stop is Cabo Pasado. To get there, you must do a two-hour-long walkthrough unsigned paths, so it’s essential to find a guide that can lead you there.

Canoa Ecuador
Beach view Canoa

On the southern coast of Santa Elena, you may want to visit Puntilla (little edge). This is the most prominent shore of Ecuador. To get there, one must pass Salina’s Naval Base and take a 3.5km walk after. The main characteristic of the place is the surrounding of five gorgeous viewpoints, one next to the other: El Soplador, Chocolatera, El Gaviotín, El Faro and La Puntilla.

Off the beaten path nature in the Ecuadorian Andes

Cuenca has some near-by cantons that are also worth visiting for their natural charms. One of them is Girón, where the imponent El Chorro is located. This waterfall is 60m tall and falls into a natural pool, which is followed by a broad river. In the canton of San Fernando, you may want to visit the small village of Busa. The Laguna de Busa is its main attraction, and it’s an ideal place to spend the night. The lagoon is surrounded by hills that are possible to hike the day after.

El Chorro - Ecuador
El Chorro waterfall near Cuenca

Another picturesque canton to visit may be Puebloviejo, in the province of Los Ríos. It is located two hours away from the capital city of Quevedo. Once there, Puerto Pechicha will be waiting for visitors that want to walk through its off the beaten paths. There are rancheras (better known as chivas) that will take you to this place that is filled with amazing forests and trails that are surrounded by guayacanes, oaks and plums.

Probably one of the most well-known places of this list will be the Cubilche Lagoon. It’s recognized because of its unique rounded shape that converts it into an oasis in the Andes heights. It also has a privileged location right next to the Imbabura Volcano. Beautiful places such as Cayambe, Zuleta, Yaguarcocha and Mojanda are close to this area.

Cubilche - Ecuador
Cubilche: an oasis in the Andes heights

The amazon’s natural beauty missed by most tourists

The Amazon province of Morona Santiago is filled with natural places to visit too, and not far away from Quito. A popular one is Cueva de los Tayos. These caves became prominent after the visit of the astronaut Neil Armstrong. Some underground places of Los Tayos have unscrambled messages written down in metal plates that are located at its bottom, which is called Moricz Portal. The mysterious spot is located 70m down the surface and can only be reached rappelling. This portal has been in the eyes of scientific communities for decades.

Even closer to Quito, only three hours away, there is Napo. A Rescue Center called Yanacocha, located on the vía a Tena, is a perfect place to have a closer look at the Amazon animals. The Center has been contributing to the conservation of its fauna for years. Supporting their work while visiting the reserva it’s a fantastic activity for wild animal lovers. Another approach to the wildlife may be reached at the Mirador Balcón de los Papagayos, on the way to Macas. The Hayawaska Community, in Pomona, it’s the perfect place to admire these emblematic birds while enjoying the outstanding views of the Sangay Volcano and its National Park.

Sangay - Ecuador
Sangay national park: A volcano surrounded by emblematic birds

Swim with sealions and admire the unique flora and fauna in the undiscovered corners of the Galapagos Islands

Of course, when talking about nature, the Galápagos Islands cannot be left out. Gardner Bay, located at the isla Española, is a fantastic place to be in close contact with unique flora and fauna. It has a gorgeous white sand beach surrounded by sea lions that may even swim with you. It is also a privileged spot to practice sports such as surfing. Another great beach to go to is Puerto Chino, in San Cristóbal. The paths that are located in the area are great to practice birdwatching since this is the home for Galápagos finches, mockingbirds and yellow warblers. El Junco Lagoon is really close to this point. It is the only freshwater lake of the entire islands and also the land of the tallest ceibo tree in Galápagos.

El Junco lagoon - Galapagos
El Junco Lagoon: Fresh water lake at the Galapagos Islands

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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