Making the most out of your time in Ecuador can mean many things to people from all over the globe. For many, taking a day tour from Quito before, after, or between different legs of their journey gives a new perspective to the surrounding areas of the capital. Each has ample highlights and are great places to visit while shaking the dust of worrying about travel details from their shoulders. Keep reading for 5 of the best day tours from Quito that Happy Gringo Travel can arrange.
A Mindo tour during a break in travel is often a favorite of those who take the time to make the trip. The small town boasts natural surroundings that include more than 30 species of hummingbirds, a series of waterfalls where the cloud forest replaces the busy streets of Quito, and a climate where both flora and fauna thrive.
Stops include a visit to a butterfly farm, touring the town’s chocolate factory, and adventure activities like zip-lining(canopy) and rafting.
While often overlooked for the natural beauty around it, Mindo’s small size, warm community, and quirky characters are a fun look into life away from the beaten path that often brings people back more than once during their time in the country.
A short trip south of Quito, the Quilotoa tour takes you to one of the genuine regions of the country where locals tend to their crops on patchwork terraced hills, crater lakes reflect the blue sky above, local artists hold court in small workshops, and indigenous markets take place along the route.
Each stop puts you a stone’s throw from another piece of the deep culture of the country, at arm’s length from people who use traditional farming methods and make the modern world fade into the background with the colorful garb and warm smiles.
One of the Ecuador trekking trips close to Quito takes you high up on one side of the capital’s valley to the rim of an active volcano, Guagua Pichincha, this is great for a getaway out of the city when short on time.
Trips to the starting point leave in the morning and continue into the green hills along a scenic drive that passes farms and locals tending their animals, and puts you at the base of the trail that meanders up rock paths and over boulders to the rim of the volcano. The trip takes around four hours and passes the crater to explore the wilderness beyond before heading back.
On a clear day, the views in the morning expand as you get higher, giving a panoramic of the vastness of the city and the neighboring cities and nearby volcanoes including Cotopaxi and Cayambe.
For a more relaxing adventure, a Papallacta day tour finds you in a small mountain hamlet where volcanic hot springs are the name of the game. Pools at the town’s resort are the perfect place to relax and unwind before setting off on another excursion to the jungle, the Galapagos Islands, or the coast.
The scenery is stunning, the quaint charms of the village are inviting, and the journeys back and forth between Quito show you another side of the country seldom seen from airplanes and busses.
An Otavalo day tour is an active endeavor where a bustling market and nearby lakes and mountains show you the northern Andes with a thriving culture that follows traditions of the past while integrating the conveniences of the present.
The market dates back to before the Inca, and the local indigenous people who sell their wares on the streets are a success story that has put the town on the map for decades.
When the Spanish occupied Ecuador they used the local people to work in textile factories without much consideration for their prosperity or wellbeing. Once the country gained independence, the conditions remained much the same until the 1960s.
During this time when tourism in the country started gaining traction, the market did as well. Since then the market and the people of the region have become some of the most successful in Ecuador.