What are the top ten things to do in Ecuador and Galapagos?
Ecuador may be small in size but offers a wealth of experiences to make it one of the most sought after destinations! From forests to markets, historic cities to volcanic mountains, there are so many places to visit and things to do in Ecuador. And one of the jewels in South America’s crown is definitely the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands. The wealth of stunning wildlife experiences offered on the islands is truly remarkable. A treat for every nature lover, one of the top things to do in Galapagos is definitely encountering the giant tortoises.
Here is a list of the top ten things to do in Ecuador & Galapagos curated by our Enchanting Travels specialists, which should definitely be part of your Ecuador & Galapagos travel guide!
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1Explore Quito and the ‘Center of the World’
The quaint old town of Quito invites you to stroll along the charming streets and winding alleyways. Not far from this UNESCO World Heritage site lies the ‘center of the world’ – the geographic center of the earth.
One of the highest capitals in the world, Quito is one of the most visited cities in South America. Surrounded by volcanoes and the Andean highlands, the city is a true cultural delight with its many churches and monasteries.
2Discover an Active Volcano in Cotopaxi
At an altitude of 6000 meters, the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano is one of the highest located active volcanoes in the world. The road that leads up to the volcano is one of the most picturesque in all of Ecuador. Explore the Cotopaxi National Park with its Andean vegetation, rare birds and exceptional views.
If you are up to it, you can even hike up the mountain to the Refuge at 4800m.
3Marvel at the Natural Wonders of Mindo Cloud Forest
Drive up to the protected Mindo–Nambillo forest area and discover a veritable cornucopia of ecosystems in these lush forest lands teeming with precious plant life, exotic birds and butterflies.
You will encounter misty cloud forests, volcanic highlands, dense rainforests, mysterious caves and rugged cliffs overgrown with greenery. You could even hike through the verdant landscape and marvel at the plethora of birdlife!
4Explore South America’s Largest Indigenous Crafts Market
From blankets to artworks, be prepared to be greeted by an astounding array of textiles and goods in South America’s largest indigenous crafts market in the town of Otavalo.
The Otavaeños are famous for their exquisitely woven textiles and the market in town is the perfect spot to pick up a gift or souvenir – be it Indian silver jewelry, a detailed wood carving or an intricately hand-woven throw.
5Stay at a Historic Hacienda in the Andean Highlands
For a truly special experience that will allow you to experience Ecuador’s gorgeous countryside in all its beauty, stay in a historic hacienda in the Andean highlands. These estates hark back to the time Spain colonized the region and are usually set amid stunning plantations.
Enjoy siestas and savor sumptuous meals on sun-dappled terraces, enjoying a truly relaxing vacation – one of the best things to do in Ecuador.
6Go Snorkeling in Isla Isabela
Isla Isabela in the Galapagos archipelago is an absolute paradise for snorkeling enthusiasts. Explore the lava channels of Cape Rosa and the surrounding islands of Tintoreras that invite you to literally dive into the marine flora and fauna! You can also hike through dense vegetation and over moon-like lava fields.
Enjoy the famed Galapagos wildlife – expect the highest concentration of free-roaming Galapagos giant land tortoises here. Apart from this, it is also home to white-tipped reef sharks, marine iguanas and rich birdlife.
7Enjoy Wildlife Experiences in San Cristóbal
San Cristóbal is the oldest island in the Galapagos archipelago. Once the famed home of Charles Darwin, the island offers plenty of opportunities to admire sharks, dolphins, iguanas, sea lions and several other species of animals.
Visit the famous ‘Kicker Rock’, a stunning volcanic formation and well-known scuba diving site, with hammerhead and white-tipped sharks abounding in its waters.
8Meet the Giant Tortoises of Galapagos
The Charles Darwin research station on Isla Santa Cruz is an intrinsic part of a Galapagos tour. Encounter the Giant Tortoises of Galapagos and discover an incredible underwater world on a snorkeling excursion. The island is a large dormant volcano and enjoys a great variety of landscapes and a varied climate.
Sail to nearby islands to experience the rare and famed fauna of the Galapagos, such as land and marine iguanas, boobies and frigate birds.
9Explore the Galapagos Islands on a Cruise
Hop aboard a yacht or a catamaran and enjoy a cruise through the Galapagos islands, while taking in the scenic natural vistas and stunning wildlife.
Enjoy shore excursions that are part of your cruise experience, which will allow you to take in all the sights and surrounds – one of the top things to do in the Galapagos islands.
10Visit Puerto Egas
Puerto Egas is one of the top attractions in Galapagos. The shoreline is a long, black lava strip, filled with lava pools, caves and inlets that are bursting with amazing wildlife.
You can spot colonies of marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, a variety of birdlife and the Galapagos fur sea lions.
Discover all the best things to do in Ecuador & Galapagos by booking your vacation with our experts at Enchanting Travels. Contact us for your tailor-made and obligation-free tour itinerary.
One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
All the little touches made by our Enchanting Travel consultant, Amelia Edwards, were noticed and recognized by my wife and I. Thank you for making our milestone trip (25th wedding anniversary) such a memorable one! We look forward to engaging Enchanting Travels again for our next South American adventure!!
This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.
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