Ecuador has many areas that hold secret discoveries for those who wander off the beaten path. Within the countries, small borders are epic swings over steep outcrops, natural springs where local’s jump from the cliffs above, and small towns that are gateways to the natural wonders of the cloud forest. Keep reading to find out more about off-the-beaten-path sites in the country that open up new horizons.
Located high above the town of Banos in the south of Ecuador, the swing at the end of the world offers adventurers a thrill that sends them soaring over the valley below. Safety belts ensure that no one goes over the edge, and the complex has a small café serving food and drinks. Taxis, tour operators, and a bus take you to the park from town, making a short journey for under five dollars.
Las Grietas is a series of natural pools on Santa Cruz Island, fed by a freshwater river on one side and salt water from cracks and tunnels below the water’s surface. It is a local’s favorite spot for cliff diving, and tourists who make the trek often spend more than a few hours snorkeling and soaking up the sun.
Take water take to Angermeyer Point and walk down the beach to the trailhead next to Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. You will pass Playa de las Alemanes before heading past a lagoon and over a volcanic field that leads to the clear, calm, crystal waters of Las Grietas.
Mindo is a great place to visit on a day trip from Quito. It’s a small, quaint town in the cloud forest- boasting waterfalls, rafting, and nearby reserves to explore. The town has a chocolate factory, where tours run daily that include tastings in each stage of the process. The astounding number of birds, in the reserves around Mindo, makes it a must see place for international bird watchers.
Vilcabamba, located in the south of Ecuador close the border with Peru, sits in a valley surrounded by forested reserves. It is another small town where people go to relax, explore on bikes, and sample some of the international restaurants in town. It is a forty-five minute trip by bus from the nearby city of Loja. One of its claims to fame is the age of its residents-many have lived to a hundred years of age. Over the last decade, more expats have moved to town, opening shops and restaurants in their wake.
The Quilotoa Loop takes you to the remote villages and town South of Quito. It is normally a three-day affair done by hiking, bus rides, and trucks that wind through the patchwork hills and valleys of the region. On different days of the week, there are markets in the local communities, a great way to discover Ecuador’s regions away from the tourist areas.