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by on December 9, 2020

Places to visit in Ecuador – 9 Destinations that will blow your mind!

#1 El Panecillo

Flying into Quito? If so, this is one of the top places to visit in Ecuador. The Virgin of Quito is a 45 meter tall stone monument of a Madonna (Mary) sitting atop a 200-meter high hill in central Quito and built the Spanish artist Agustín Matorras. From the top of this majestic hill, you have a beautiful view of the city, a view only eclipsed by the Teleferiqo in Quito, a ski lift that brings you to the top of the city. You can hang out at the base, or even climb to the top for an even better view. The virgin is stepping on a snake, a classic madonna depiction, however, the locals argue the wings make her a one of a kind artwork of the Madonna.

 #2 Quilotoa – Top places to visit in Ecuador
Quilotoa Feature 4

Some destinations on earth are so breathtaking that they have the capability of forcing us to reflect on how precious our planet is. Quilotoa is one of those sites and is truly a must-see place to visit in Ecuador. I can guarantee there will be a lengthy moment of silence while you observe, similar to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, or stepping onto the beach after it has been too long. Remember to visit a jacket when touring this Ecuador destination, as it is quite chilly! If you have the energy, you can hike to the bottom, and if you are a true adventurer, you can backpack the whole caldera, and stay at hostels along the way! The elevation is quite high, so remember to take a look at our altitude guide!

#3 Guayaquil’s Malecón 2000

Rotunda of the Malecón 2000- Ecuador places to visit

Rotunda of the Malecón 2000

Guayaquil’s Melecon has a rich history, being the heart of history and social life in the 19th century. This trend continues today, with an unlimited number of attractions. Spanning the Guayas river, the Malecon is full of historical monuments, gardens, foodie areas, an anthropology museum, shopping centers, and fountain squares. Perhaps the most special of all the Malecon is the Rotonda, a monument capturing the meeting between the liberators Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar who fought against the Spanish conquers to bring freedom to the area.

#4 Los Frailes beach

Los-Frailes-Ecuador places to visit

The gorgeous Los Frailes beach

Pack your sunscreen for this place to visit in Ecuador, or else you won’t be able to explore any other destinations on the account of being red as a lobster. Los Frailes is arguably one of the top beaches in the world, and undoubtedly the most pristine beach in mainland Ecuador. The beach is gorgeous, featuring long stretches of sandy beach great for long walks. There are places providing vantage points overlooking multiple beaches. You can spot whales, flying fish, diving frigate birds, and it is a great place to swim. Make sure to rent a Parasol, as the sunscreen might not cut it!

#5 Ecuador’s Historic Centers

Quito jewel of the andes - old city at night

View of the Gothic Basilica in Quito’s historic center

I say centers in the plural form, because Ecuador has three major cities each with a unique historic center: Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Each historic center features impressive and intractably built churches that are certain to stun any traveler. Ornate decorations within the interior were made by some of the most talented artists during the era of Spanish colonial rule. Dispersed throughout the historic centers are beautiful squares blossoming with vegetation and centered around gorgeous fountains. Winding roads built of cobblestones provides a beautiful escape from the typical city landscape of steel and glass and a glimpse into the past. If you are visiting in Ecuador, the likelihood you stay in one of these three cities is high, so of the places to visit in Ecuador, these three are easy to do and never disappoint.

 #6 Pailon del Diablo (Devil’s Cauldron) – Places to visit in Ecuador

Devil's cauldron in Banos Ecuador

The Devil’s Cauldon

Ecuador is full of astonishing waterfalls. I even have a detailed guide about it! But in my opinion, Pilon del Diablo takes the cake. The force of the water blasting down the mountain is impressive, and the journey to the waterfall is an unforgettable adventure. A large stone staircase winds down to the waterfall, and you can even walk behind the fall. Be prepared, as you will get wet! Another trail leads across a sturdy bridge, where you can get another vantage point of the falls and the pools below. Definitely worth the day trip!

 #7 Chimborazo National Park

Heading to the top of the world

Another one of the places to visit in Ecuador that truly reminds us of how wonderful earth is, the Chimborazo Volcano. This majestic snow-capped volcano sitting in the core of the Andean highlands captures the heart of all who witness it. Beyond its appearance, it has a unique attribute. It is the closest place in the world to the cosmos. Although it isn’t the tallest mountain when measuring from base to peak, it is the highest in the world because the planet bulges ours at the equator. For those who dare to summit and manage to succeed, they have quite the tale to tell. Fortunately, you don’t need to do a summit hike to visit, and the base camp is open to the public and has day trip options.

 #8 Amazon rainforest – Top places to visit in Ecuador

Why work when you can spot wildlife in the jungle?

Often, totally disconnecting from the busy word is all it takes to rejuvenate the mind and body. The Amazon rainforest doesn’t have wifi, nor does it have any cell towers. Instead, the daily entertainment is trekking through the rainforest, canoe rides through the home of the pink river dolphin and giant river otter. One of my favorite parts is the visits to indigenous communities. There, you learn a radically different style of life. Moreover, it is from a group that has been thriving in the jungle for centuries.

Spot multiple species of monkeys in the canopy, seek out reptiles and frogs at night, and reset your circadian rhythm. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and is an unforgettable place to visit in Ecuador. The two main parks are Yasuni and Cuyabeno, which I have an in-depth guide explaining the differences to help narrow down your choice.

 #9 Galapagos national park

Ecuador places to visit

Relaxing in the Galapagos

The Galapagos is one of the most magical destinations on the planet, unlike any other place in the world. A place where animals hold no fear of humans. This gives visitors a beautiful glimpse of the daily activity of many species. They are almost entirely uninfluenced by humans. There are a lot of “firsts” in the Galapagos Islands, and unforgettable moments. A few of these include swimming with giant marine iguanas and dancing underwater with sea lions, floating weightlessly amidst huge schools of sea turtles, witnessing unique mating dances of blue-footed boobies, walking through giant colonies of land iguanas, and much more. The adventure is the Galapagos is endless, and you will undoubtedly be heartbroken to leave. But the memories last on, and who knows, maybe the islands will pull you back again?

A GreenGo vacation – places to visit in Ecuador

I hope everyone enjoyed this list of fantastic places in Ecuador to visit. Leave a comment if you found this article valuable. Make sure to explore the GreenGo travel website and blog section to find more useful articles. These will help guide you through your Ecuador or Peru vacation planning. When planning your trip, remember that GreenGo travel has unbeatable prices and perks, promotes sustainability by planting trees on your behalf, and plans trips better than any travel agency!


About Keenan Ennis

Keenan Ennis studied Conservation and wildlife biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This eventually lead him to a program in Ecuador studying hummingbirds and their keystone nutritional species in the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve. Since, he has worked with the critically endangered Bandurria Andina, or black-faced Ibis of the Andean Páramo. Through his ecological background, he provides an in depth insight into the conservation processes of the Galapagos Islands.

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