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12 Best Places to Visit in Ecuador in 2024

Are you searching for the best places to visit in Ecuador in 2024? Ecuador, a small and diverse country in South America, is known for its incredible biodiversity and vibrant culture. Adventurers worldwide choose the country because it offers the perfect balance of natural wonders, cultural heritage, adventure, and warm hospitality.

Beyond its geographical features, Ecuador is a cultural mosaic. The country’s ancient traditions intertwine with modern influences that can be appreciated along vibrant markets, centuries-old towns, festivals and celebrations, artisan workshops, and Ecuadorians’ welcoming nature.

Your clients are probably daydreaming about traveling in 2024, and you’re searching for top destinations in South America to showcase. This blog will help you find the best places to visit in Ecuador.

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What are the best places to visit in Ecuador?

Ecuador is a country brimming with natural wonders and cultural treasures. It can be divided into four regions: the Andes Mountains, characterized by stunning towering peaks and Andean villages; the Amazon Rainforest, which is a lush and biodiverse area with a dense jungle; Ecuador’s coastal region runs along the Pacific Coast with stunning beaches, fishing villages, and port cities; and, finally, the Galapagos Islands: a natural treasure with unique and diverse wildlife.

In a country with so much to discover, check our picks of the best places to visit in Ecuador:

1. Mashpi Lodge

Mashpi Lodge is an eco-luxury paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Located in the Chocó bioregion, the cloud forest is home to more than 400 species of amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and arthropods. There’s also incredible flora, stunning waterfalls, and hidden trails inside the untamed, beautiful, lush rainforest.

Adventurers enjoy their stay at Mashpi Lodge from the first steps they give in a thick layer of fallen leaves, branches, and dirt. Even from the start, they will be amazed by the deep, low-pitched, guttural sounds surrounding them. Mashpi’s air is filled with howler monkeys communicating, woodpeckers’ rhythmic drumming, and insects’ choruses.

The cloud forest is the perfect option for adventurous solo travelers, couples who dream of waking up with a romantic, mystic landscape, and families with kids passionate about discovering unique flora and fauna. Also, Mashpi Lodge is a luxurious stay committed to sustainable practices. The lodge’s design seamlessly integrates with the environment, providing guests with comfort without compromising the pristine surroundings.

Mashpi Lodge Dragonfly

2. Cuenca

Cuenca is one of the country’s not-to-miss destinations. Thanks to its well-preserved Colonial-era architecture, with facades, ornate churches, and charming cobblestone streets, Cuenca was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It has become an ideal retirement destination for expatriates worldwide.

Its pleasant year-round climate, affordable cost of living, cultural lifestyle, and stunning natural parks, mountains, and rivers contribute to its appeal. The hospitable and warm people will welcome adventurers and show them the best of their beautiful city, including delicious cuisine featuring fresh vegetables, seafood, poultry, meat, and pork.

3. Cajas National Park

Cajas National Park is in the southwestern part of Ecuador. The park has beautiful lakes and hiking trails in mountains and hills. Visiting El Cajas National Park is an opportunity to discover the Polylepis tree, endemic to the Andes region.

El Cajas National Park

4. Quito

What are the best places to visit in Quito? As the capital city of Ecuador, Quito offers a fascinating blend of colonial charm and modern attractions. Travelers enjoy exploring the Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its well-preserved architecture and cobblestone streets.

The Historic Center is one of the best-preserved Old Towns in South America, with dozens of churches, colonial-era structures, parks, and walkways. When you plan a visit to the city, make sure to include Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, one of the best places to visit in Quito. Situated beside the San Francisco Plaza, Casa Gangotena is an eclectic mansion that connects guests with the city’s history. The hotel is an ideal jumping-off point for day trips to the surroundings. For instance, you can plan day tours to The Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo), Cotopaxi Volcano, Papallacta Thermal Baths, or Quilotoa Lake.

Casa Gangotena Quito

5. Otavalo

Hold in the Plaza de Ponchos (officially named Plaza Centenario), the Otavalo Market is one of the most famous indigenous markets in South America. Visitors worldwide descend to the market every week. They discover colorful textiles, handmade crafts, souvenirs, jewelry, figurines, leather goods, and traditional Andean music.

Located at the foot of the inactive Imbabura Volcano, the Otavalo Market is one of Ecuador’s best places to visit. Another great way to explore and learn about the indigenous local culture is to visit the stunning San Pablo Lake, the Cuicocha Lake, the Cotacachi Leather Town, and the nearby Peguche Waterfalls.

Ecuador Otavalo Plaza de Ponchos

6. Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta is a historic colonial estate dating back to the 16th century. It holds a rich heritage and cultural significance, offering visitors a glimpse into Ecuador’s history, from pre-Columbian times to the present.

Hacienda Zuleta

7. Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi Volcano is Ecuador’s famous snow-capped and conically shaped volcano. When flying into Quito, people can see the volcano through the airplane window. Also, it can be spotted from various points in the capital and the country’s central highlands.

The volcano is inside the Cotopaxi National Park, a reserve approximately two hours from Quito. The drive to Cotopaxi is stunning, including mountains, old haciendas, small towns, and breathtaking Andean views of meadows and forests. Before heading to the park, you can plan a pit stop in Machachi or Latacunga for a delicious traditional lunch featuring Ecuadorian food.

For outdoor enthusiasts, a visit to Cotopaxi National Park is a must. They can hike through the stunning landscapes, admire the majestic Cotopaxi volcano, and spot wild horses and llamas. Plan a horseback ride around the park and explore the Limpiopungo lagoon.

Cotopaxi Volcano

8. Avenue of the Volcanoes

The Avenue of the Volcanoes in Ecuador is a majestic corridor flanked by an impressive lineup of volcanoes. The prominent volcanoes along this spectacular route are:


Tungurahua’s periodic eruptions have shaped the surrounding landscape. The volcano’s activity is unpredictable, but it’s an opportunity to enjoy some pyroclastic displays from a safe distance.


Cotopaxi is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Thanks to its near-perfect conical shape, the volcano is an iconic symbol of Ecuador.


Antisana is a glacier-covered stratovolcano located at the Antisana Ecological Reserve, home to diverse wildlife and pristine natural landscapes. It’s one of the best places to visit in Ecuador, where travelers can see the majestic Andean condors.


Cayambe is Ecuador’s third-highest peak. The volcano has a snow-capped summit where climbers can enjoy scenic Andean landscapes. Also, in the nearby town of Cayambe, make sure to plan a bizcochos (biscuits) tasting with dulce de leche.


Sangay is one of Ecuador’s most active volcanoes. The Sangay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with diverse ecosystems from high-altitude paramos to lush rainforests. It is one of Ecuador’s best places to visit and spot rare species like the spectacled bear.

El Altar

El Altar Volcano has multiple peaks and crater lakes, resembling a grand altar. Because of its exhilarating challenge, it’s a place for avid trekkers and mountaineers.


Chimborazo’s location near the Equator makes its summit the farthest point from the Earth’s center due to the planet’s bulge at the Equator. Chimborazo has various ecosystems, from high-altitude paramo to glaciers.

Chimborazo Volcano

9. Guayaquil

As Ecuador’s central port city, Guayaquil is a gateway to the Pacific coast and the Galapagos Islands. Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city and a bustling economic hub on the shores of the magnificent Guayas River.

Guayaquil Puerto Santa Ana

10. Hacienda La Danesa

Hacienda La Danesa is a blend of luxury with nature, located in the coastal region of Ecuador. Lush forests and rivers surround the hotel. It’s a glimpse into traditional Ecuadorian rural coastal life. Guests can engage in farm activities, interact with animals, hike, bike, go horseback riding, and product tasting.

Hacienda La Danesa

11. Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. They are a fantastic choice for families who enjoy adventures and diverse activities. Located about 600 mi (around 1,000 km) off the coast of Ecuador, their remote location is an invitation for family quality time and bonding opportunities.

The Galapagos National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where visitors can see iconic wildlife like giant tortoises, sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and Galapagos penguins in their natural habitats. An expedition vessel is an excellent way to enjoy the best of the islands because it ensures privacy and a personalized experience.

The islands have diverse landscapes, from volcanic craters and rugged coastlines to pristine beaches and lush highlands. When you plan a family adventure on an expedition vessel, like Metropolitan Touring’s expedition yachts La Pinta or Isabella, your clients can explore the best of the islands. Visiting the Galapagos is an experience for all ages, giving insights into the islands’ natural history, biodiversity, and geology.

Galapagos Punta Suarez

12. The Amazon River Basin

The Amazon Rainforest is a biodiversity hotspot, making it a biodiversity jewel. Visitors can meet unique species, including colorful birds, monkeys, jaguars, and pink river dolphins. They can explore jungle trails, navigate winding rivers by canoe, and interact with indigenous communities that coexist with vibrant ecosystems.

Cuyabeno Ecuador

Ecuador is a country that offers a wide range of experiences for travelers seeking a blend of nature and cultural richness. From the misty cloud forest in Mashpi Lodge to the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands and the magic of a hacienda nestled in the Andes mountains, there is something for everyone.

Each region, whether the high-altitude paramos of Cajas National Park or the bustling cityscape of Quito’s Historic Center, presents an experience of sights, flavors, and adventures for your clients. If you’re searching for the best places to visit in Ecuador in 2024, let the rugged terrains, wildlife encounters, and dramatic landscapes of the Andes conquer your clients’ hearts.

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