No matter where in Ecuador you decide to go or what you decide to do. This South-American country's nature is not only mind-blowing, but also incredibly diverse.
If you’re interested in nature and thinking of a vacation to Ecuador, you’re definitely considering the right place.
Through this page, you’ll get a good idea of what to do and where to go. At the Pacific Coast, you’ll find impressive beaches and you may spot a whale or two. The Amazon jungle is perfect for spotting wildlife. Or, if you’d like to admire snow topped volcanoes, the Andes should be your destination. But above all, if you’re a nature lover, the tropical Galapagos Islands have to be on your bucket list.
“The Galapagos Islands are so remote, that humans have left it alone long enough to still have an incredible variety of rare species (which are not afraid of humans).
When Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835, this amazed him so much that it inspired him for his evolution theory.”
In Ecuador's 4 worlds (Amazon, Andes, Galapagos and Pacific Coast) water plays an essential role.
Butterflies, waterfalls, a great variety of birds... There is a lot to see in the Andes' cloud forest.
High altitude volcanoes right at the Equator is a natural cocktail creating extraordinary landscapes.
Things To Do in Nature by Region
The volcanic belt in the Andes from north to south right through the middle of Ecuador, cuts this Latin-American country’s mainland into 3 regions. 600 miles of Pacific Ocean makes the Galapagos Islands the fourth authentic region. Different climates, different elevations and different surroundings means different nature in each region. Therefore, each region offers very different things to do in nature. Below, we’ll breakdown per region what’s there to do in Ecuador in nature.
To Do in Nature on the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are a true paradise for activities in nature. Activities at this volcanic archipelago are all about wildlife spotting. There is an abundance of marine life. Furthermore, there are multiple endemic species of land animals and birds. Meaning, these species live nowhere else in the world. Therefore, the Galapagos Islands are literally one of a kind.
Things to do to explore nature and wildlife at the Galapagos Islands include scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, guided tours and hikes along virgin beaches or volcanic landscapes. You can visit the Charles Darwin research center or one of the farms with giant land turtles. But even if you just walk through the little towns, you will encounter sea lions and iguanas in the streets.
The best way to go into nature at the Galapagos Islands is with a tour. There are plenty of day tours, but you can also choose for multi-day all-inclusive cruises which take you to several islands.
To Do in Nature in the Andes (Sierra)
The diversity of nature within the Andes is the result of the difference in elevation throughout the region. Landscapes at altitudes above 4000m are very different from those at 1500m. Therefore, different locations within the Sierra offer very different things to do in nature.
In Mindo’s cloud forest are over 500 species of birds. It’s perfect for bird watching, but there is an abundance of butterflies as well. Within the cloud forest, you’ll find great waterfalls. However, waterfalls are not exclusive to this area of the Andes, you will find many throughout the la Sierra in Ecuador.
In the highlands are several impressive crater lakes. There are tours to and over these beautiful lakes. But to truly emerge into nature, you could hike up there. You can choose between many trails, varying from a few hours to multiple day hikes.
Another great thing to do in the Andes’ nature is to go up one of the volcanoes. The volcanic belt has 32 volcanoes. All surrounded by national parks. Some are open to the public through tours or hiking trails. The Cotopaxi and the Chimborazo being the highest with elevations of around 6000 m. Up there, you’ll find permanent snow, little to no vegetation and fantastic views.
What to do in Nature in the Amazon Rainforest?
In the world’s most biodiverse place and largest jungle, there is obviously a lot to do in Nature. Exploring the Amazon Rainforest means taking guided tours. Tours don’t necessarily need to be in a group, tour guides can take you on private tours as well. In either case, you cannot go into the jungle alone. Without a guide, the jungle is simply too dangerous to enter.
Amazon Rainforest tours are a combination of hikes and canoe tours. There are single and multi-day tours. You will spot lots of wildlife and exceptional vegetation.
Things to do in Nature at the Pacific Coast (Costa)
At the Costa in Ecuador, there is a lot more to do than just surfing and sunbathing at the beach. In fact, it’s beautiful here and the surrounding calls for activities to explore the Pacific coastal nature.
Activities at the Ecuadorian coast include wildlife spotting, such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and blue footed boobies. Furthermore, during hikes in some of the woods around the beaches, you can encounter monkeys as well.
A Dolphin and whale watching tour is more than worth it. Also, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving, but if you want to take it easier, the calm natural beaches are also very enjoyable just by being there.