Inmaculada Concepción - Ecuador

What To Do in Ecuador to discover its Culture?

Culture’s in the air!

Ecuador is full of cultural activities. Hence, it doesn’t matter where you are, there is always something to explore and discover. The following 9 activities are great walks and places that you can visit to understand the fascinating culture of Ecuador. These activities should be on your to-do-list while visiting each region of Ecuador.

1: Quito: Ecuador’s capital with an abundance of Culture and a lot To Do

Let’s set foot in the most iconic place in Quito: its Old Town. This is the perfect getaway to connect with the local culture. The narrow Centro Histórico streets are filled with restaurants and cafes which offer traditional food and drinks at any time. Empanadas, bizcochos and canelazos are always good options to start rural walks in the area. This should be one of your main things to do in Ecuador.

Some must-visit places in the Centro are churches and museums. The astonishing neo-gothic Básilica del Voto Nacional (located at the Venezuela and Carchi streets) is the entrance to the old town. It is known for being the tallest religious temple in Latin America. From this point, you may want to reach the San Francisco Plaza. Here, there is the Iglesia de San Francisco, the oldest and one of the most beautiful churches in the country.

Basílica-del-Voto-Nacional in Quito

If you want to get a closer approach to the history of Quito, do not miss the Museo de la Ciudad. Also, the Museo Casa de Sucre is a vital stop to learn about the independence of the city. Cultural museums such as Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia and Museo Camilo Egas will give you a closer look at the history of art. Museo del Alabado is also highly recommended. There, you will find archaeological pieces of the ancient cultures of Quito.

2: The Inca Archeological site of Malqui-Machay was first discovered as recent as 2010

There are other essential archaeological complexes outside the capital. One of them is Malqui-Machay. It is located in the central Andes province of Cotopaxi. These recently discovered ruins have become a popular place to visit in Ecuador. There is a rumor that says this was the resting place of Atahualpa, the emblematic character of the Spanish conquest. Archaeologists, geographers and historians had visited the area several times before it had public access.

3: Ingapirca Ruins : a sacred place for the Incas in Ecuador

Heading north, in the province of Cañar, there are the Ingapirca Ruins. This was a sacred place for the Incas in Ecuador. Today, it is considered the most important pre-Columbian archaeological complex of the country. It is also one of the biggest and most well-preserved sites. Therefore, it is an incredible place to learn about the religion, politics, science and traditions of the ancient world.

Ingapirca-Ruins Ecuador
Ingapirca-Ruins Ecuador

4: Hojas-Jaboncillo: The remains of a pre-hispanic city

Moving on to the Coast, there are interesting archaeological places as well. In Manabí, between the cities of Portoviejo and Manta, you may want to visit the Hojas-Jaboncillo Complex. Over six-hundred monumental structures were built here by the ancient Cultura Manteña. These structures may be evidence of a pre-Hispanic city. El Camino del Puma (the Pumas path) is one of the most conserved areas, as it is frequently being visited and studied by experts.

5: the coastal city of Guayaquil

Coming back to more recent traditional culture, you should not miss Guayaquil. One of the most well-known places in the city is the beautiful Malecón 2000, a worth-visiting place to go in Ecuador. This local icon is situated next to the shore of Guayaquils gulf. Just five minutes away, you will reach Las Peñas. This emblematic neighborhood has the most antique buildings of Guayaquil. Most of them have become art galleries, restaurants and cultural places. Finally, make your way to the Cerro Santa Ana entrance, where you will have the perfect view of the beach.

Las-Peñas Guayaquil
Las-Peñas Guayaquil

6: Experience traditions and cultures in the Ecuadorian Amazon

The Amazon region is also attractive for its cultural activities. One of them is visiting and interacting with local communities. Rural tourism has gained popularity in eastern provinces such as Napo and Pastaza. On the way to the Mirador Indichuris (vía Macas), there is a lot of families that share their culture and knowledge with visitors. Over ten rural tourism projects are based here!

7: MACCO museum: learn about the 7 ethnic cultures that still prevail in the Ecuadorian Amazon

In the northeast province of Orellana, there is a big, yet not very well-known, museum: MACCO. The site started operating in 2013, and since then has become a reference for Amazon’s cultural learning. Here, you will find information about the seven ethnicities that still prevail in the Amazon region. It is an archaeologically rich complex, filled with natural and human ancient remains. Each of them has a story to be told.

8: Añangu Science Station: the most biodiverse place in the World

Not far away from MACCO, there is the most biodiverse area, not only in the country, but in the world. The Yasuní National Park is a breath-taking mega diverse Amazon forest that is well-known for having the richest flora and fauna per acre. To get close to the area, visit the Añangu comunidad. The Station is one of the few places around Yasuní where tourism is allowed. The National Park is an essential visit to do in Ecuador.

Yasuní-National-Park Amazon Ecuador
Yasuní-National-Park Amazon Ecuador

9: Charles Darwin Research Station: Find out what led to his famous evolution theory

Finally, in the enchanted islands of Galápagos, you do not want to miss the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz. This is the most prominent research area of the islands. It is a perfect place to understand the origin of its species and the importance of its conservation. You will learn about the world-famous Galápagos turtles, iguanas, blue-foot boobies, and an endless list of the fantastic creatures that you will approach during your visit in Ecuador.


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.

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