Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, but it’s also, at the same time, one of the most biodiverse nations per square kilometer on earth. Some aspects caused Ecuador to be this biodiverse and that way it has created beautiful ecosystems with a variety of climate and environment to fit any person’s need.
There are a lot of places you should plan to visit when traveling across Ecuador, and usually, tourists don’t even get enough time to know all of them. Therefore, here, we have listed the 10 amazing locations you must visit in Ecuador.
1. Chimborazo Volcano
Chimborazo is a 6268-high meter passive volcano near to Riobamba in the Chimborazo province. This volcano had its last eruption around 550 A.D. and it’s so representative for the country that it’s even included in the Coat of arms of Ecuador. Its glaciers are gorgeous and because of them, the Guayas River was formed. Currently, its glaciers are the main source of water for some nearby provinces.
Hundreds of tourists are taking the adventure of climbing it up every year, to know the closest point to the Sun as well as the farthest point away from the Earth’s core. This unique characteristic is possible because of the closest location to the equatorial line.
2. La Chiquita Wildlife Refuge
This paradise of woods was declared a protected area in 2002. The whole refuge has an extension of 8.09 square kilometers and, by going deep into it, you can find some ancestral Afro-Ecuadorian communities living along with the unique flora and fauna of the zone.
La Chiquita acquired its name because of an estuary that is located in this area. The principal attraction is the forest of the Choco area, an ecosystem with huge biodiversity that begins in Panama and reaches the northern coasts of Ecuador.
3. Salinas Beach
Salinas is known as the main beach of Ecuador and the province of Santa Elena, therefore it is the most visited beach of the country. Salinas is visited every year by national and international tourists to enjoy its beautiful waters. It is also a great place to practice water sports such as diving, surfing, sailing, beach volleyball, and deep-sea fishing.
This beach is the center of entertainment par excellence of the country, because of its excellent restaurants and hotels, as well as modern nightclubs to visit and have fun the whole year. Its name originates from its inexhaustible source of iodized salt production, which for many years has exploited its extensive mines called “salinas”.
4. Yasuni National Park
Yasuni National Park is one of the biggest parks in Ecuador with over 3900 square miles and hundreds of unique endemic species that cannot be found elsewhere. Thanks to its attributes, this whole zone was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989.
By the exploring this heavenly place you will find more than you think because you will be amazed not only by seeing the diversity of flora and fauna but also by visiting and knowing deeply a small tribe that takes part of this park, that is, the Huaorani. The whole culture and belief of this tribe will prove that you haven’t seen anything yet.
5. The Middle of the World
This is one of the places that people often think when hearing about Ecuador, and they have tons of reasons to think that way.
This marvelous place introduces the people into a new dimension by presenting events that are weird to see. Some of the most attractive parts of this place are that you can balance an egg on a hobnail, see the difference of water flowing one way and another, and also measure your weight and you will realize you are slightly lighter.
6. Cathedral of Quito
Quito is the capital of the South American country Ecuador. Also, it is its nest of culture, history, and landmarks. One of those landmarks is its Cathedral: Catedral Metropolitana y Primada de Quito.
The cathedral was originally founded in 1535 as a mud and hay church. A few years later it was declared the cathedral of the city, so it had to be demolished to be reconstructed into the beautiful church it is today. This process took about a century due to little inconveniences in design.
As a part of the oldest buildings in the area, the cathedral has been witness of several historical moments of the country, such as the independence of Ecuador, the murder of Garcia Moreno, one of its presidents, The “Hoguera Barbara”, a very savage act perpetrated to Eloy Alfaro, another president of Ecuador, among a few others.
7. Malecón 2000
It is a friendly place next to the coast of the Guayas River, and nobody should leave Ecuador without visiting it. This place, the Malecón 2000, adopts like a son to those who step on its lands, located in the center of Guayaquil, is recognized as one of the best tourist places of the country.
This place attracts visitors because of its extravagant sites to visit like the IMAX, the commercial center, a giant ship named Morgan and other small activities that are part of tourism. Nowadays, the Malecón 2000 is made up of different entertainment sites such as the Safari Park for children, “La Perla” Ferris wheel and mechanical games that make everyone feel they are in an amusement park.
8. Machalilla National Park
This park is one of the country’s first protected areas. Its name comes from the Machalilla culture, one of the pre-Hispanic cultures of the coastal region, especially where the park is currently located, and they lived there for 800 years.
Inside the park and surrounding areas, there are archaeological sites from various cultures, from Valdivia -more than 5000 years ago- to the Manteño – Huancavilca culture, -500 years ago-. The park is full of evidence of the ancient inhabitants of Manabi. The protected area includes beaches, several near the waterfront as Salango, Horno de Pan, Sucre, Pedernales, and El Sombrerito, and also the famous Isla de la Plata.
9. Cotacachi -Cayapas Ecological Reserve
Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve is one of the many protected areas in Ecuador and contains 3044 square kilometers of land located in the Esmeraldas and Imbabura provinces of Ecuador. Elevations in the reserve vary from 300 meters in the east to Cotacachi Volcano which has an elevation of 4944 meters in the southwest. This nature reserve is partly rainforest and its symbol is a condor.
This reserve is a part of the Ecuadorian system of reserves and preserve and extends from the mountains of the highland region to the western edge of the coastal rain forest in the Esmeraldas province.
10. Quito’s Historic Center
Every city has a place where culture, art, and history merge, and for Quito, its Historic Center is the place.
The Historic Center is a compilation of buildings that have transcended time and adversities until this day. Among some of its features, we have a few churches such as Sagrario, San Francisco, Metropolitana, etc. Another interesting feature of the place is the “Palacio de Carondelet”, where the president lives, is announced and works.
The Historic Center also has some museums that are open to the public where several exquisite pieces of art and history exist on display. Some of these are the Metropolitan Museum, the City Museum, House of Sucre, Cristal Palace, etc. The beauty of this place is that after years, the effort of the city to maintain this area has kept it running and shinning with bright colors, which represents the spirit of the country and its people.