If there’s one particular aspect of Ecuador that draws curious tourists from distant lands, it’s the country’s natural treasures. The South American nation located on the north-western part of the continent is one of the world’s megadiverse countries with much endemic flora and fauna. Obviously, it has done a commendable job in protecting its ecological features over the years; and now, they’ve become the major highlights of the country’s tourism.
This nation was a part of the grand Inca Empire until it was colonized in the 16th century by Spain. The Spanish rule lasted in Ecuador until it became a part of the Gran Colombia in 1820 and finally emerged as a sovereign republic in the year 1830. It is officially known as the ‘Republic of Ecuador’ today. You’ll notice the legacy of the nation’s past rulers made apparent in its ethnic diversity, comprising Mestizos, Europeans, Amerindians, and Africans.
With the creation of the Ministry of Information and Tourism in the early 1990s, there was a significant rise in the numbers of tourists. This rapid growth of tourism prompted the government to separate the industry from ‘information’ in order to direct its focus towards promoting and developing this promising sector. As a result, tourists arriving in this country from distant places can explore a wide range of natural and cultural attractions.
What to expect
You’ll certainly get to witness vast expanses of natural beauty. There are enchanting highlands, breath-taking sceneries, and, of course, some beautiful beaches. For wildlife-watching, you can head to the Amazon rainforest. You can get adventurous by visiting the Andes, where the alluring terrains offer great opportunities for you to indulge in some thrilling activities. As the nation was ruled by great empires of the past, you’ll also find a wealth of historic attractions while holidaying in Ecuador.
Best time to visit
The four main regions of this country have their own distinct weather. The mountainous region or ‘Sierra’ has stable temperatures throughout the year and provides the best climatic conditions in July and August. The coastal region to the west of Andes is warmer and rainier than the Sierra. If you wish to witness some colorful celebrations, visit in the month of July. June and September would be the ideal time to spot humpback whales.
To the east of the mountainous region is the Amazon region, which makes up about 40 percent of the nation. The best time to explore this region would be during the months of August and September or the period between December and February. If you wish to explore the Galapagos Islands, plan your holiday somewhere between mid-June and August or during the months of December and January.
How to reach
International tourists can get to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport located near the capital city of Quito or the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport located in the country’s largest city, Guayaquil. Flights of major airlines fly to or depart from these two main airports of Ecuador.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular places to visit in Ecuador is the archipelago of Galapagos. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been visited by plenty of tourists over the years and is named after the giant tortoises that inhabit them. The capital city of Quito offers a wealth of colonial architecture in the form of attractive public squares, old churches, and elegant museums.
In the fascinating city of Cuenca, you can explore the city center that features colonial-era buildings that have been built incorporating Spanish and Indian elements. You’ll get the chance to explore the Amazon basin with a visit to the city of Tena, which is the capital of the Napo province.
High on the list of things to do in Ecuador is cruising the Galapagos Islands. These cruises would allow you to watch the sea lions and blue-footed boobies in action. A day trip from Quito to the volcanic mountain of Cotopaxi would give you the chance to try mountain biking upon reaching the elevation of about 4,500 meters. The Otavalo Market located to the north of the capital city is an excellent place to go shopping for some souvenirs and gifts.
Embark on a trip to the Amazon rainforest booked with any of the local tour operators. It can be quite a thrilling experience to get closer to the exotic wildlife in this region. The city of Banos is also a gateway to the Amazon Basin and a place where you can enjoy a wide range of activities like canyoning, paragliding, and whitewater rafting.
Among the common dishes in this part of South America is the Arroz Con Pollo or the Arroz Con Camarones. The former translates as ‘rice with chicken’ and the latter as ‘rice with shrimp’. You can also taste the Ceviche, which is raw seafood and onions cooked in lime juice and available in the coastal areas. The ‘Cuy’ or guinea pig is often eaten by the locals during special occasions. If you’re in the highlands, don’t forget to savor the Librillo. This particular dish comprises of chopped and cooked beef served with rice. Some of the other popular dishes are Llapingachos, Locro Soup, and Melcocha.
Stay with Travelofyd, as we’ve got many more places to explore!