7 Epic Destinations For Adventure Travel To Ecuador

7 Epic Destinations For Adventure Travel To Ecuador

From the heights of the Andes mountains to the depths of the Amazon rainforest and the unknown of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s adventures are endless and offer travelers with a diverse mix of striking landscapes, untouched wilderness, and adrenaline-pumping activities. Adventure travel to Ecuador is not limited to one part of the country, either hike Cotopaxi and learn why it has been long known as the “Avenue of the Volcanoes” or go scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands and learn about Charles Darwin’s fascination with one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.

Ecuador has so many destinations for both novice adventurers and those who seek out new and thrilling activities, and Kuoda is excited to help you plan your trip! Read on to learn more about where we recommend to get started on your adventure travel to Ecuador and reach out to us today to get started planning!

1. Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Ecuador Travel

Cotopaxi has lured climbing enthusiasts and tourists for centuries, and the surrounding parkland is great for adventure and wildlife spotting too. In total Cotopaxi National Park covers an area of almost 334 square kilometers. The entire area is protected and is large enough to overlap 3 different provinces – Cotopaxi, Napo, and Pichincha. Cotopaxi is not the only volcano in this region of the Andes. In fact, renowned German explorer and naturalist, Alexander Von Humboldt, found so many volcanoes here that he created the name for Ecuador’s “Avenue of the Volcanoes”.

For novice hikers, there are a variety of hikes in Cotopaxi that offer beautiful views of the volcano and the surrounding Andes mountains without having to acclimatize and worry about being short of breath while climbing the actual volcano. For those daring to climb the volcano, the two to three-day journey offers an incredibly up-close look at the active stratovolcano and will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Chimborazo

Chimborazo Ecuador Travel

International alpinists come to scale the peak of the Chimborazo volcano because it is the highest mountain in the world when measured from the center of the earth rather than by sea level, making it the closest point on Earth to the sun. It is also popular for beginning mountaineers as the trek requires little technical climbing experience and the summit is obtainable for intermediate skill levels.

Many consider Chimborazo the gateway into mountaineering which makes it the perfect starting adventure for those looking to get into this form of adventure sports. With its short expeditions, sustained climbing, and ice-capped summit – it’s the perfect adventure for those looking for a fulfilling climb. This trip takes 2-3 days, and the actual climb takes 7 hours but is done during the night, thus the minimum time you need is 2 days and 1 night. 

3. Quilotoa Loop

Quilotoa lake Ecuador Travel

Come back home and tell your friends you went kayaking in a volcanic lake! The Quilotoa Loop is a famous trekking destination in Ecuador. It’s a bumpy, ring-shaped road that travels from the Panamericana far into the backcountry of the Cotopaxi province. You can reach the Quilotoa volcano by bus from either Latacunga or Zumbahua as a day trip, or as part of the 3-4 days Quilotoa Loop trek, stopping over at various mountain villages along the way and getting up close to the indigenous communities.

The climax point of the Quilotoa Loop is the Quilotoa Lake, which is a volcanic crater bed of emerald green water, located at 3,500 meters (11,483ft) above sea level. This was one of our favorite destinations in Ecuador because of the stunning backdrop – the kind you’ll want as your screensaver.

To reach the actual lake itself, it’s a 1-hour trek down from the summit, once you’re there, there are a variety of activities available like kayaking or canoeing or laying back and enjoying the stunning lake views after the hike it took to get there.

4. Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Island

Unleash your adventurous spirit as you travel on a unique expedition cruise, where you’ll explore the diverse islands and ecosystems of the Galápagos Archipelago. Experience the pristine beauty of this equatorial region where you may get up close with the many endemic species, including marine iguanas, Giant Land Tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and many more.

Galapagos Islands is an adventure destination that gives travelers the option to kayak, mountain bike, horseback ride, or snorkel up-close with the world’s most unfearful wildlife. The combination of land-based accommodations and travel between islands by small private planes or speedboats give you more time to enjoy amazing wildlife encounters while participating in your favorite adventure sports.

5. Baños de Agua Santa

Baños de Agua Santa

High canyon walls and beautiful waterfalls lie just outside the famous spa town of Baños de Agua Santa. Known as the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, this town is known for being one of Ecuador’s most adventurous destinations. Most commonly referred to just as Baños, this charming city is a great base to experience a lot of adventure activities Ecuador has to offer. Here, there are plenty of adventure opportunities to drive through the jungle in ATVs, embark on white water rafting tours, try your hand at canyoning, zipline through jungle canopies, visit the Amazon Rainforest, and much more.

The city itself is quite quaint, with a nice church and amazing mountain views in the distance. As you adventure around the town in your off-time, you can also bathe in the many waterfalls that are right in the town as well as visit one of the local restaurants after a long day of adventure and try one of the many local Ecuadorian dishes.

6. Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Rainforest

Ecuadorian Amazon teems with life—and, thanks to its underdevelopment, is an ideal place to experience the jungle in its raw, pristine state. It’s also readily accessible, just a few hours’ drive, or a very short flight, and a boat ride from the capital city of Quito. Go piranha fishing on the Amazon river, where around 20 different species of piranha can be found swimming freely – You’ll use a traditional wooden rod and your guide will provide you with bait.

Go swimming with pink dolphins, a rare and unique species to the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America. Kayak and stand-up paddleboard through the Amazon river and zipline through the jungle’s many canopies. For a thrilling Amazon rainforest activity that gives unparalleled views of the jungle canopies, enjoy a helicopter tour over the jungle, giving an aerial view of the incredible flora and fauna. 

7. Cloud Forest

Mindo Cloud Forest Ecuador Travel

Hiking, birdwatching, and Mindo offer two of the best bio-diversified ecosystems; the Chocoan lowlands and the tropical Andes. Just like Amazon, Mindo Cloud Forest is also home to numerous species of birds; therefore is a hotspot for bird watching. It’s called a cloud forest because it has temperatures that are usually cooler than those of tropical rainforests. Due to cooler temperatures but high humidity, clouds are frequently forming above it, giving it an ethereal aura.

In addition to various bird species, Mindo Cloud Forest is also known for its mystical environment. However, bird watching is not all this place offers; there are still several other fun activities that you can do, such as the hike to Tarabita to Nambillo Waterfall Sanctuary, rafting, visiting a butterfly farm, zip lining, and incredible chocolate tours.

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