Ecuador boasts a vast biodiversity within its territory, allowing travelers to enjoy a wide variety of activities in its different regions which vary from serene beaches, snow capped mountains and volcanoes and the wild ecosystem of the Amazon basin.
Here are some recommendations for a future visit to Ecuador, we are sure you will enjoy it!
Visit a cacao plantation – Guayaquil
Ecuador´s cacao is considered one of the finest of the world because of its deep aroma and flavor. At the plantation, you will see how this famous fruit is grown and processed for shipping to all corners of the world, where it then is transformed into delicious chocolate.
Visit the Ingapirca ruins – Cuenca
Ingapirca is Ecuador’s most important archeological complex. Its structures were built from perfectly carved stones that fit together seamlessly. In the main ruin is the Temple of the Sun, an elliptic structure used for the ceremonies and rituals of the Cañari and Inca cultures. Additionally, among the remaining buildings, you can find a cemetery, a solar observatory, paths, priests´ chambers, and an indigenous plaza.
Visit Gualaceo and Chordeleg – Cuenca
During a tour in Gualaceo, it is possible to visit a local family, who will gladly share their life experiences over herbal tea and sweets. From there, you can head to a local guitar workshop and see the secrets behind the creation of these beautiful guitars, which are 100% handmade. Chordeleg is a town famous for its ceramics and gold and silver jewelry and whose name means ‘stream of gold.’ There it is possible to visit a local jewelry workshop to learn about the creative process to continue to the town center and visit local stores that specialize in pottery and jewelry.
Gualaceo is known as “The garden of Azuay” due to its beautiful orchids. Once there, you can visit the local market and a workshop specializing in pedal looms used to create the beautiful shawls famous in this region.
Visit a community – Saraguros
Saraguro is a small county in the Azuay province with beautiful landscapes, many small communities, and a capital town, also named Saraguro. The name Saraguro comes from the indigenous nation which historically populated this area. The Saraguros where one of the very few indigenous nations that preserved their culture and lands throughout the Incan empire and the Spanish conquest, enabling them to maintain most of their way of life and culture. Learn about these communities’ daily life, which is mostly dedicated to agriculture, but is now diversifying their economy with community tourism.
This beautiful valley is known for its mild weather, amazing landscapes, and the longevity of its inhabitants, who usually live beyond their 100th birthday. This area is also referred to as the “Inca’s playground” because of its use as a retreat by the Incan royal family. The landscape of Vilcabamba is dominated by “Mandango” or “the Sleeping Inca,” the mountain that overlooks the valley and supposedly protects it from earthquakes and other natural catastrophes. If you enjoy outdoors and nature, then Vilcabamba is the perfect option for you.
Podocarpus National Park – Loja
The name Podocarpus refers to the only species of coniferous tree native to Ecuador and located mainly in the area of the National Park. Podocarpus has a vast extension, and the altitude within the park borders ranges from 900 meters to 3600 meters above sea level, giving way to one of the highest diversity of plant and animal life of the world. In the Park, it is possible to hike and observe wildlife and unique plants, which include spectacled bears, spider monkeys, mountain tapirs, jaguars, and hundreds of bird species. The length of the hike and the areas that you will visit can be chosen according to how much you want to walk and what animals and ecosystems interest you the most.
After we visit the Park, we will return to Hotel Descanso del Toro to enjoy dinner and a well-earned rest.
El Cajas National Park – Cuenca
El Cajas National Park is one of the largest wetland reserves in Ecuador and has an extension of 30,000 hectares of forest and moorland, with more than 230 lakes spread across the protected area. Because of the different altitudes and humidity on this irregular terrain, this reserve has many different microclimates and ecosystems, making for an ideal home for a variety of animals, especially birds and amphibians.
Go for a short walk in the Park to appreciate the surroundings and its magical ecosystem.
Churute mangroves – Guayaquil
This reserve is one of the most important on the Ecuadorian coast, as it has five different ecosystems: mangroves, estuaries, tropical dry forests, humid tropical forests, and interconnected lakes, each with different flora and fauna. On the way to the reserve, you will see rice, sugarcane and cacao plantations, which are typical in this region. There are many routes to choose from in the reserve according to your preferences. Within the reserve, one can find many different species of land and lagoon birds, howler monkeys, squirrels, red and blue crabs, seven different mangrove species, Guayacanes, and Tagua trees, among other flora and fauna.
Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.