My parents are from Ecuador. I spent many summers there, and I also lived there while I was in middle school. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to do as much sightseeing as I would like. In my perfect world, I’d take a year off and just travel around the country eating, taking photographs and writing my heart away… ahhh one can always dream, right??
In honor of Ecuadorian Independence Day, el 10 de Agosto, August 10th, here are twelve awesome things that are on my bucket list to do in my beloved Ecuador. Check them out; perhaps you will be inspired to visit La Mitad del Mundo.
1. Visit Ingapirca.
Roughly translated to “Inca Wall” this is an Incan archeological site about two hours away from Guayaquil.
2. Explore the Amazon. “Ecuador país amazónico”
The Amazon is full of beautiful flora and fauna endemic to this part of the world. According to the Ecuadorian Embassy, Ecuador is home to 10 percent of the planet’s plant species, eight percent of the planet’s animal species and 18 percent of its bird species.
3. Explore Cuenca.
4. See the humpback whales off the Pacific coast.
Whale watching season is from June-October. The whales come because of the warm waters off the coast of Ecuador.
5. Travel through “La Ruta del Sol.” (The Sun Route.)
Ecuador has some beautiful beaches and La Ruta del Sol is the perfect way to visit them. It runs about 750 kilometers from Esmeraldas (in the north, near the Colombian border) to Salinas. There are great natural beaches like Los Frailes (part of the Machalilla National Park) or go surfing in Montañita.
6. Shop in the markets in Otavalo.
Otavalo is located in the Andes mountains. The Otavalo Market is the largest market in South America. Here local artisans sell woven goods, handmade jewelry, leather goods and many other products.
7. Check out the thermal springs in Baños.
Located near the Tungurahua Volcano, this thermal city’s natural spring water is said to have curative properties due to high mineral content. The area is home to about 70 waterfalls.
8. Visit Machalilla National Park.
Machalilla is in Manabí, my father’s homeland. It is a beautiful national park with eco trails, beautiful lakes and rivers and probably more natural beauty than I can imagine. Manabí is also home to delicious food.
9. Ride “Nariz del Diablo” train.
This train connects two towns, Alausi and Sibambe. It offers amazing views of the Andes and the countryside.
10. Visit Atacames beach.
Atacames beach is in Esmeraldas, home to the Afro-Ecuadorian population. I want to visit this beach because I’ve heard wonderful things, but I also want to explore the food and culture of Esmeraldas.
11. Visit la Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World)
Ecuador sits on the equator, and you can visit it and stand on both hemispheres! I visited when I was younger, but I’d love to go back with my husband and son, and take pictures with one foot on each hemisphere.
12. Last but not least… the Galapagos Islands. Do I really need to explain why? The Galapagos are a nature wonderland with beautiful one of a kind animals.
Have you been to Ecuador? Is there something I missed? Share below!
Disclosure: This is not a paid post.