Trying to plan the ideal travel experience in Ecuador that ventures into the natural riches of the Galapagos Islands, the dense canopy of the jungle and cloud forest, and the vast landscapes of the Andes often finds you grasping at straws when trying to decide where to go. Ecuador’s small size hides a variety of places where adventure takes many forms-starting in bustling cities and continuing to the far reaches of the country. Keep reading for a guide to the county’s best destinations and activities for travelers of all shapes and sizes.
Ecuador is a versatile country for families seeking solace from the busy routines of life at home. Travel here gives you the freedom to explore the country’s cities, find new adventures in the great outdoors, and relax and regroup at the end of the day to dazzling scarlet sunsets overlooking peaceful lagoons in the jungle.
The Galapagos Islands unleash the imagination and spirit for all ages of visitors-reconnecting to an often overlooked source of amazement that gives way to seeing the world anew in the nooks and crannies of exotic locales.
The jungle brings a different sense of awe to those who want an adventure into the wild. Travel down tributaries of the Napo River to lands where indigenous people have lived for centuries and are making inroads towards conservation by running first-class, family-oriented lodges. Guides and activities reveal the vast variety of creatures that live under the canopy and make the trip an experience where learning and exploring go hand in hand.
Banos is a place for the family to wander into the wild from a base where international restaurants, hip cafes, and resort spas complete the adventure. Cascading waterfalls, the swing at the end of the world, and rafting trips down world-class rapids bring active travelers to the outdoor adventure center of Ecuador from all walks of life.
Happy Gringo Travel has firsthand experience with the intricacies of family travel in Ecuador. Our family tours were designed by parents living in the country, and highlight the many reasons why travel here is an off-the-beaten-path discovery for generations of explorers. We also offer custom-made trips in Ecuador; letting you set the terms and type of travel and giving you the freedom to travel at your own pace.
Packed with natural terrain that challenges the avid outdoor traveler, Ecuador’s high reaching summits, miles of coastal beaches, and year-round temperate weather are beacons that ring out with the spirit of the country.
Kayaking down the rivers of the jungle, kite-surfing off of tropical beaches, hiking to the highest peak from the center of the Earth, and diving into the fascinating underwater world of the Galapagos keep things fresh.
Other adrenaline filled days for thrill seekers are bike routes through the hills and valleys of the highlands, canyoning down rushing waterfalls, and plunking from high bridges over river gorges.
Surfing in Ecuador is a chance to hit the beach in towns along the coast and in the Galapagos Islands. Montanita, Canoa, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela have breaks that host international competitions, and rolling waves where beginners can discover the fun of mastering the fundamentals.
Many places promise history and culture-Ecuador delivers. The country’s roots run deep into the great cultures of the past-dating to points in history where people and civilizations thrived. Around almost every corner are historic plazas, grand cathedrals, and museums housing artifacts that tell the tale of the rise and fall of the Incan and Spanish empires.
Touring Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil opens up a new door-one that leads to immersion into the vibrant past and resilient spirit of today’s art, music, architecture, and theater scene.
The historic centers are teeming with attractions that captivate-ranging from high vantage points in cathedrals towers that show the length and breadth of Quito, to master marble works in Guayaquil’s White City-a sprawling cemetery built by craftsmen from Italy that lavishly adorned the resting places of the city and country’s prestigious and elite with elegant statues and mausoleums.
Spending a day exploring the cities of Ecuador is an intriguing journey that rewards those who take the first step with a glimpse into the character of the country. Ecuador is a place where the traditional way of life co-exists with modern trends-from cutting edge restaurants using age-old recipes for inspiration to festivals of lights that transform historic buildings into colorful works of art that draw thousands into the night.