5 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Ecuador

Jul 22, 2021

It's hard to believe that such a fascinating and unique country as Ecuador is largely undiscovered. Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, but it's also one of the most culturally rich, and it's rich in spectacular natural attractions. And its cuisine is absolutely exceptional.

What you see on your tour of Ecuador depends on where you go. The Pan-American Highway, built on the backbone of Ecuador's Sierra, passes through some of the most spectacular highland scenery and wildlife parks on Earth. The rivers are lined with waterfalls, there are dramatic tableland peaks and deep blue lakes, and spectacular desert scenery borders the road. There are many active volcanoes to hike around, rainforest to explore, and the sea to enjoy.

There are endless activities to do in Ecuador; from wildlife-spotting to diving to surfing to hiking, or just relaxing and watching the world go by. You can take in the scenery, experience the culture, and enjoy your stay in Ecuador, with our list of the best places to visit in Ecuador.

Galapagos Islands

Photo of Galápagos Islands
Galápagos Islands: en.wikipedia.org

Galapagos is a nature reserve that will leave you speechless: it is home to more than 300 species of plants and animals, including sea lions, giant tortoises, giant iguanas, and marine iguanas, while land animals include Galapagos tortoises, woodpeckers, blue-footed boobies, and macaws. While the islands are part of the Galapagos National Park, which is managed by the Ecuadorian government, most visitors come from tour operators. The islands are a harsh environment, particularly those of the northern islands, where access is limited to scuba divers and the tourist trade. Those islands have lots of wildlife and islands with smaller numbers of people, such as Isabela and Fernandina. Because of the limited nature of the tourist trade and the small size of the islands, Galapagos is famous for its peace and quiet. Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to come to Galapagos during the rainy season from November through April. The rains erode the hillsides, making roads slippery and the access to the coastal areas much harder.

Quito

Quito, capital of Ecuador, is a bustling city in a small country. In some ways, it's no different from other Latin American cities, but visitors are surprised to find the streets full of characters from Quito's famous people, who appear to be stuck in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Museo de Artes e Historia y Cultura is a great place to get an introduction to Ecuadorian culture. The annual Festival of San Juan is a celebration of the island's patron saint, Juan the Baptist, with colorful floats, music, food, and the famous Te Deum by more than 40,000 people in the largest religious parade in the world. Another famous event is Quito's annual Independence Day on September 18, with military parades and a visit to the presidential palace. For those who don't want to travel too far, Quito has everything you might need, including an impressive collection of museums, the best in the world in the opinion of many critics, and UNESCO-recognized sites such as the ancient church of Santo Domingo, the Palacio de Banco and the Semana Santa fair.

Read more 👉  Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Quito

Guayaquil City

Photo of Guayaquil
Guayaquil: en.wikipedia.org

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador and the third-largest in the Americas after Mexico City and New York City. The city's most important attraction is the Teatro Del Lago, a landmark building in the style of an open book of white volcanic rock with a terraced landscaped garden, seating capacity for 20,000 people, and 30,000 square meters of open space. There are a number of parks in Guayaquil, including the 300-hectare area around the Teatro Del Lago. Among the highlights are the exotic fauna of the Botanical Garden, the man-made Laguna de Guayaquil, and the Aquarium in the Santa Catalina market.

Cuenca

Photo of Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca, Ecuador: en.wikipedia.org

Cuenca is perhaps the most beautiful colonial city in Ecuador. Once the capital of Spanish colonies, Cuenca today is an important cultural and financial center, its streets bustling with people and shops. It has been the subject of many travelers, whose images of the colonial city are as varied as those who have experienced it. The imposing church of Santo Domingo dominates the city center; other important churches include La Compania, San Francisco de Paula, San Francisco el Grande, Santo Domingo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Santa Catalina. In addition, the city is filled with palaces and monasteries, as well as museums and galleries. Cuenca's many colonial buildings include those in the Granada, Cristo Rey, Rosal, and Colon sections. Of these, Granada, the oldest, is the most traditional, while Cristo Rey has the largest concentration of colonial buildings. Other significant neighborhoods include the Parque Itchimbia, on the western shore, and the Cuenca Ladera, built on a mountain spur to the east. Cuenca's landscape is dominated by volcanoes and the Apure and Sibinag mountains, which are covered with warm, green forests. The entire area around Cuenca is a part of the Cañar-Ecuador Biosphere Reserve. Travelers to Cuenca are most attracted by its central location, as well as its colonial history, as well as the nearby Cañar-Ecuador Biosphere Reserve.

El Misti

Photo of Chimborazo
Chimborazo: en.wikipedia.org

El Misti (or "Misty Mountain") is the highest volcano in South America and dominates the Cotopaxi National Park in the central Andes of Ecuador. It has erupted five times in the last 2,000 years, and on March 20, 1983, it began to erupt again. The volcano has one of the most perfectly formed conical heads in the world and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ecuador. Over one million people visit the site every year. The volcano is best seen from afar, on foot or horseback, as the city of Latacunga is the nearest major town. Tours are available from Latacunga and Quito. In Quito, it is possible to visit the museum dedicated to the volcano's history.