• Lisa

Top 5 Must See Places in Ecuador

Updated: 3 days ago

There is so much more to Ecuador other than the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is filled with adventurous ways to explore. This country has so many hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. When planning a trip to Ecuador, be sure to add all 5 of these unique destinations to your list!

1. Mitad del Mundo - The Equator

The number one most important place to visit in Ecuador is the equator line. After all, that is where the country got it's name! The "Mitad del Mundo" (which literally translates to "The Equator") is a monument that indicates what was believed to be the middle of the Earth. It's the most iconic monument, but it is roughly 250 meters off from the exact equator line.

Nearby, you can visit the Intiñan Solar Museum which is right on the actual equator and offers interesting experiments that only happen in the middle of the Earth! Be sure to take a picture standing between two hemispheres!

  • How To Get There from Quito: The equator (and therefore, the landmarks) are about 40 miles away from Quito. You can take a bus for less than $1.00 or taxi for around $30-$40.

  • When To Go: Try to go early in the morning because this spot is filled with tour buses and tourists later in the day.

  • Where To Stay: Stay overnight in Quito and take a half day excursion to see the equator line.

2. Basilica del Voto Nacional

Talk about breathtaking! This church is located in the heart of Old Town Quito and is a site to see! Construction began in 1884, and it's technically "unfinished." Local legend says that when it is finally finished, the world will come to an end. However, you wouldn't know that it's unfinished by looking at it. There are a few different parts of the church to explore (each costing around $2 entrance fee).

My favorite part was climbing to the very top of the church. But be forewarned: this is not for the faint of heart. The ladders are incredibly steep with little room for resting. You'll be rewarded with a stunning view at the very top which, in my opinion, makes it all worth wild.

  • How To Get There From Quito: This is in the heart of Quito, so chances are you can walk! Otherwise, take a taxi!

  • When To Go: Anytime of day is perfect to visit this church.

For more things to do in Quito, check out my blog post about Quito, Ecuador here!

3. The Swing at the End of the World

Get a taste for adventure as you swing on this infamous treehouse swing "at the end of the world." "Casa de Arbol" is the perfect instagram spot for your trip to Ecuador. This treehouse swing is now iconic so the lines are very long. Luckily, there are guides monitoring the swings to help you push off and to ensure no one stays on too long.

  • How To Get There: Taxi or bus ride from Banos (about 5-10 minutes)

  • When To Go: Check the weather before you go! Chances are you want a great picture on the swing, so make sure it isn't overcast or too cloudy (you won't be able to see the mountains!)

4. Pailón del Diablo - Devil's Cauldron

This waterfall is sure to take your breath away. This massive 80 meter waterfall is the number one thing to do in Banos. There is a small entrance fee ($2 as of April 2020). The path around the waterfall is just as fun as the actual site. There are draw bridges, staircases, and more that put you up close to the falls! It can get slippery, and some people like to bring their raincoats to stay dry.

For more info on the Pailon del Diablo, check out this guide for everything you need to know!

  • How to Get There from Banos: Taxi! It's about 30 miles away. If you have a car, parking is $1.

  • How to Get There from Quito: You can take a public bus from Quito that is about 4 hours each way.

  • Where to Stay: I recommend staying in Banos and exploring the town a little bit. You can go horseback riding and get a feel for rural Ecuador life.

5. The Amazon Rain Forest

The Amazon Rainforest is a magical place to explore filled with waterfalls and lush greenery. It's a must see while in Ecuador!

What do you think? Do these 5 destinations make you want to book a trip to Ecuador right now?!

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Looking to book a trip soon? Check out my favorite resources below:

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  • Travelocity: Search for great deals on hotels, rental cars, fights, and more!

  • Contiki: Travel the world with 18-35 year olds!

  • CityPASS: Buy a CityPASS to save money on popular attractions!

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