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10 Things to Do in Ecuador

10 Things to Do in Ecuador

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 28, 2014

Ecuador is a wildly diverse country, and thanks to its compact size, a lot can be seen and experienced in a very short period of time. Adventurers will enjoy opportunities to mountain bike and climb snow-capped volcanoes, while those seeking a more relaxing experience can cruise around the Galapagos Islands, or go shopping in Otavalo Market, South America’s largest.

As you’ll see below, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Ecuador.

Top 10 Things to Do in Ecuador

1. Cruise the Galapagos Islands

Tour the historic islands where Charles Darwin developed his theories of evolution. Go swimming with sea lions, discover the mating habits of Blue Footed Boobies, and learn the geology behind how this volcanic island chain was formed.

If you’ve got time to spare, you can book a last minute cruise to the Galapagos once you reach Quito or Guayaquil, and save hundreds of dollars in the process.

2. Straddle the Equator in Quito

Visiting the Equator, known in Ecuador as the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World), is as easy as a few bus rides, or a faster but costlier taxi ride, from the backpacker neighborhood of La Mariscal. Be sure to visit both the real Equator, which is marked with a series of interesting experiments, as well as the larger monument built in the wrong place about 100 meters away.

Cotopaxi Volcano (5,897 meter) is Ecuador's 2nd tallest, and one of the world's tallest active volcanoes.

3. Downhill Mountain Biking on Cotopaxi Volcano

If you’re not ready to climb 5,897 meter Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s 2nd tallest volcano, and one of the world’s tallest active ones, go downhill mountain biking down it instead!

Mountain Biking Cotopaxi Volcano is an adventure activity fit for most people, regardless of age. And it’s an easy day trip from Quito. You’ll drive up to the parking lot at an elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level, and jump on mountain bikes for a fun and speedy ride back down to 3,300 meters.

4. Shop at Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market, located about a 3-hour bus ride north of Quito, is South America’s largest marketplace. It’s the perfect place to practice your haggling skills, while picking up a few authentic souvenirs for your family and friends at home.

The best day to go is Saturday, when the market swells to its largest with vendors from the surrounding region.

5. Explore the Amazon Jungle

Ecuador is perhaps the cheapest place in South America to visit the Amazon. Get up close and personal with the exotic wildlife only found in the rainforest, and learn about the indigenous people who call the region home.

3-day trips departing from Quito start around just $100.

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