Looking for an extreme adventure? It doesn’t get much more extreme than traveling to the middle of the earth, to the equator! With more than 30 national parks and reserves, Ecuador offers plenty of thrills to feed your adventurous spirit. You can swim with sharks, hike along an avenue of volcanoes, mountain bike the border of a crater lake, and swing off the world’s edge.
These examples only just scratch the surface of what’s possible on your custom trip to Ecuador. But for now, let’s take a quick look at the following five places to maximize that adrenaline rush during your adventure on the equator.
Galapagos Scuba Diving
Traveling to the Galapagos (the archipelago that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution) promises adventure no matter how many days you have, or which cruise itinerary you embark on. However, if you have your scuba license, don’t miss your chance at scuba diving in one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems.
While snorkeling, you have a good chance of seeing Galapagos sharks and maybe a hammerhead or two. However, to get some exciting facetime with the 28 different shark species in the Galapagos, scuba diving is your best bet. You can scuba dive year-round in the Galapagos, with surface temperatures ranging between 62 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the time of year. Also, considering that the currents tend toward the medium/strong side, you will want some scuba diving experience under your belt before you arrive.
Biking in Quilotoa Lake
Each year, Quilotoa Crater Lake grows in popularity among tourists eager to get out of Quito for the day. Formed within a volcanic crater, the lake itself is about 180 kilometers south of Quito; and contains the most breathtaking hues of seafoam and turquoise. This region is also known for some of the best mountain biking in the entire country.
So, biking some of the trails around Quilotoa is a win-win if you hope to visit the coveted lake while avoiding the stress of a large crowd and yearn for a taste of adventure.
Climb to the top of Chimborazo Volcano
Of course, you also have ample cycling opportunities in Ecuador’s “Volcano Alley” or “The Avenue of Volcanoes.” But for experienced mountaineers, the Chimborazo Volcano awaits your ascent. Chimborazo is Ecuador’s tallest volcano climbing a total of 20,561 feet into the sky, and starting at 13,526 feet.
You will need a significant amount of climbing experience under your belt to take on this ascent. Ensure that you acclimate to the altitude properly beforehand in some of Ecuador’s lower peaks in the same region. Finally, to avoid the heavy rain, snow, and sleet during your climb, you will want to embark between November-February or May-July.
Swing at the End of the World
Have you ever felt like you were hanging by a thread at the end of the world? In balmy Baños, Ecuador, you can get pretty close to this feeling on The Swing at the End of the World. The swing hangs off of a treehouse 8,530 feet about sea level and looks onto the Tungurahua Volcano. The resulting adrenaline rush mixed with an otherworldly calm is unparalleled.
This said, if you arrive and decide not to take the swing for a spin, this region of Baños also offers some stunning hiking trails.
White Water Rafting in the Jatunyacu River
What Quilotoa is for cycling, the Jatunyacu River is for whitewater rafting. Jatunyacu (meaning “big water” in Quichua) lies in the Llanganates National Park of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The Class II-III rapids make for an exhilarating experience for beginners and experienced rafters alike.
You can make this trip year-round and experience the same perfect weather and water temperature for white water rafting!
Can you envision racing through the rapids, glimpsing the “end of the world,” daring an active volcano, biking along the edge of a crater, and communing with the ocean’s most powerful creatures? Contact us to live some of these exciting experiences on your once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Ecuador!
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