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Travel To Ecuador

To tell you the truth, when I was in Peru, I was not so keen on visiting Ecuador. My plan was either to take a bus from Peru to Colombia (that would need me to cross through Ecuador) or fly to Colombia and skip Ecuador.

I had not met anyone during my travel to Ecuador during the 6 months I had spent in Peru and in Bolivia by then. At that point of time, I knew that Ecuador’s currency was the US Dollar, which is to say that I knew nothing.

And then, all of a sudden I got a reason to travel to Ecuador. I came across an opportunity to teach English through a government-run program in Ecuador and made a spontaneous decision to take it. That what makes me to start the trip to ecuador.

I lived in Ecuador for 5 months and travel to Ecuador various places during that time. The truth is even though Ecuador is smaller compared to its neighbors, it’s one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world. That’s one of the reasons why traveling to Ecuador will be so much fun!

Visiting Ecuador will make you realize that Ecuador is incredibly diverse. It has got the famed Galapagos island, beaches, volcanos, quaint towns, the Amazon and a lot more. I will let you know soon about the best places to visit in Ecuador.

It’s this kind of incredible diversity that you will find when you travel to Ecuador that is behind the official tourism slogan “All you need is Ecuador.”

Is Ecuador safe to travel? Generally, yes. I will tell you more about this later! But meanwhile, here are locations that you can visit when you’re traveling to Ecuador:

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Did You Get Insurance Yet?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

The Insurance companies I personally recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover.

Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here where I go into detail about the companies. 

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The Complete Guide to Ecuador
The Complete Guide to Ecuador

Top 10 Places to Visit in Ecuador

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Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Ecuador ToursClick here to check out the top Ecuador tours
Best Ecuador Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Ecuador
Best Ecuador Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Ecuador

Top 10 Places to Visit In Ecuador

A large iguana is perched on top of a rock in Ecuador.

1.Galapagos island

When visiting Ecuador, one of the must-see destinations is the Galapagos Islands. Named after the giant tortoises on the islands, Galapagos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Baños

Try visiting Ecuador and be prepared to face a breathtaking view of Banos. Situated in the western edge of the Amazon basin, Baños comes with beautiful waterfalls and hot springs.

What to do in Ecuador when you’re visiting Banos? You could do hiking, mountain biking and different kinds of water sports. This is a town that you will keep on going back to.

3. Quito

You should definitely visit Quito when you travel to Ecuador. Quito is the capital of Ecuador, but more than that it’s one of the first cities in the world to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should venture out to the historic center to know why.

4. Salinas

Planning to go to Salinas? Then the best time to visit Ecuador will be around June to September. You can see Humpback whales visit the waters off the coast of Salinas around that month, it’s their annual migration schedule. Salinas comes with many popular beaches and a palm-lined Malecón promenade.

5. Tena

Visiting Ecuador should include Tena, known as Ecuador’s cinnamon capita. Itl is your door to the Amazon rain forests. You could go on jungle excursions into the Amazon, as well as indulge in whitewater rafting, canoeing, and kayaking.

While Tena will give you adventure and natural beauty, it’s important to stay informed about Ecuador safety and take necessary precautions when exploring the region.

6. Otavalo

When you travel to Ecuador, Otavalo exists as a picture-perfect town surrounded by mountains in the Andean highlands. If you visit Ecuador to go there, don’t forget to visit the Laguna de San Pablo and hang around in its beautiful markets.

7. Cuenca

Considering the best time to visit Ecuador, Cuenca is chosen as another UNESCO-designated gem. It has a rich cultural heritage with its beautiful cathedrals, historical ruins, and charming plazas.

With great weather year-round, time will be the best time to visit Ecuador, it’s the home to many expats.

8. Cotopaxi National Park

At merely 50 kilometers south of Quito, Cotopaxi National Park is home to the great Cotopaxi volcano, which is one of my most recommended places when visiting Ecuador.
It erupted as recently as 2015. There are 2 smaller volcanoes called Rumiñawi and Sincholagua.

Is Ecuador safe to travel if you want to visit Cotopaxi National Park? It is safe, but there are several safety considerations due to its volcanic environment.

9. Vilcabamba

Visiting Ecuador and going to Vilcabamba will get your mind healed from this hectic world. Burrowed between Mount Mandingo and Podocarpus national forest, Villacamba is a quiet town with nature reserves.

It’s called the Valley of Longevity, owing to one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. This location will make your trip to Ecuador meaningful.

10. Guayaquil

Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador that you will find when you travel to Ecuador, which comes with a port. From here, you can visit the Reserva-Ecológica Manglares Churute, and the warm, picturesque hill village of Zaruma.

Top 10 Things To Do In Ecuador

A serene blue lake nestled amidst towering mountains and fluffy clouds.

1. Go Birdwatching in Mindo

If you’re in the middle of confusion to decide what to do in Ecuador, visiting Mindo for birdwatching is a top-notch choice. The Mindo Cloud Forest is one of the premier birding destinations on earth.

Whether you’re a bird lover or simply looking to connect with Ecuador’s amazing wildlife, Mindo is a must visit Ecuador destination that will leave you amazed by the diverse birdlife of Ecuador.

2. Climb a Volcano in Ecuador

If you are looking for adventurous travel to Ecuador , go for a hike on Chimborazo volcano or any other volcano that’s not active. It’s important to prioritize Ecuador safety by staying informed about local conditions and taking necessary precautions.

3. Do a 3-day Lake Quilotoa trek

You will be welcomed with beautiful lakes when you’re visiting Ecuador. Ecuador has three gorgeous crater lakes, but the lake Quilotoa is my favorite. You could go on a day trip from Quito ot do a 3-day trek around the lake.

4. Spend some time with the native tribes

This could be added to your list of What to Do in Ecuador, socialize with the natives. The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to many remote native tribes. If you are interested in learning their ways, there are many regions to choose from. This is also considered to be one of the best places to visit in Ecuador.

5. Ride the Ice Train around Chimborazo

When you’re planning your travel to Ecuador, consider going to a beautiful journey through the Ecuadorian Andes aboard the Tren de Hielo, or Ice Train. It offers sweeping views of Volcán Chimborazo, on a scenic rail route.

6. Party in Montañita

What to do in Ecuador? Some of my friends will probably answer to go party! Montañita is a small beach town, famous for surfing and parties. Most of the backpackers make it a point to stop there. Well, for you party people, this location might be one one of the best places to visit in Ecuador right?

7. Swing off the End of the World!

Calling for adventure enthusiasts to travel to Ecuador! The swing at Casa del Arbol in Baños is a high-flying swing, near a treehouse in Baños that comes with sweeping views of the hills below it. As you’re having fun in this exhilarating experience, remember to prioritize Ecuador safety.

8. Stretch Yourself Across the Equator Line

If you are in Quito when visiting Ecuador, visit the Mitad del Mundo (middle of the world) to hover on both sides of the earth at the same time. Such a unique trip to Ecuador!

9. Take a Dip in Ecuador’s Volcanic Thermal Pools

Planning what to do in Ecuador? Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Ecuador’s natural volcanic thermal pools. Take a mud bath in one of the pools.

Is Ecuador safe to travel if I plan to go here? It is generally safe for visitors to enjoy. However, because of its natural attraction, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

10. Attend a parade during Carnival

Attend a parade during carnival is a must do during your travel to Ecuador. The carnival comes with a lot of crazy fun, floats with Andean music and fun. This is an experience that’s not to be missed.

Ecuador Travel Information

General Information

The capital of Ecuador is Quito.

The currency in Ecuador is the US Dollar (USD)

The dialing code of Ecuador is +593

When you travel to Ecuador, it’s better to bring your own water. Is Ecuador safe to travel? In terms of social security, yes. But, in terms of water, especially public water from tap water, it’s not. The water is generally unsafe to drink from the tap in Ecuador, however, you will find filtered water everywhere so no need to buy bottled water.

Ecuador budget per day:

Backpackers Budget – $30 USD

Accommodation: $10 USD
Food: $10 USD
Activities & Transport: $10 USD

Mid Budget – $95 USD

Accommodation: $50
Food: $25
Activities & Transport: $30

Luxury Budget – $245 USD +

Accommodation: $100 USD
Food: $90 USD
Activities & Transport: $55 USD

Food In Ecuador

The food across Ecuador varies regionally, visiting Ecuador will not starve you! While seafood is popular throughout the coastal area, warm soups and comfort foods are common in Andean regions. Let’s talk more about this food trip to Ecuador.

My favorite food during my travel to Ecuador has always been Encebollado, a fish stew. Ceviches of fish, shrimp or octopus are great too. Hornado, a whole roasted pig that comes with potato pancakes and veggies is another popular dish. Visit Ecuador to enjoy these foods!

I always ate in local markets and restaurants where most Ecuadorians went to, and that helped me cut costs on food. And frankly, the food there is tastier than in big restaurants.

Ecuador Money Saving Tips

Take The Bus

Travel to Ecuador and use Ecuador’s public buses, it is inexpensive and reliable. Use buses as often as you can. Traveling to Ecuador using Bus will be an exciting experience.

Eat Local

What to do in Ecuador when you’re done with all the activities? Just explore the cuisine and eat at local markets and restaurants that come with a menu.

Stay Local

Stay at local haciendas rather than big chain hotels, this will make your travel to Ecuador full of experience!

Learn Some Spanish

Learn Spanish before visiting Ecuador or during your travel to Ecuador. Things can become much cheaper when you start speaking the local language. I also took this course ran by my friends at Heart of Travel.

Ecuador Packing Advice

If you are a hiking enthusiast, Ecuador is heaven. So make sure to have sturdy shoes with enough tread. And even if you are not hiking, most cities in the Andean region are hilly. So good shoes are a must. So are warm clothing.

On the other hand, if you belong to the beaches, get your swimming gear.

Where to Stay in Ecuador

Hacienda in Loja
Hacienda in Loja

If you are visiting Ecuador as a budget traveler you can stay in a hostel that offers rooms in $5–15 range. If you want to loosen your purse strings a little more, the haciendas are a great option in towns that don’t have hostels. Haciendas are farming estates of colonial times, converted into hotels. They are quaint and charming and cost a little more than the hostels.

And if you are in a big city like Guayaquil, Quito or Cuenca, you can opt for one of the many chain hotels, if you can afford them.

During my travel to Ecuador, I mostly stayed in hostels and Haciendas, whichever was cheaper. Masaya hostel and Hostal Vagabundo in Quito are two of my favorites.

Traveling in Ecuador

For intercity travel, public and private buses are the best way (and sometimes the only way )to travel in Ecuador. I remember taking so many bus rides. Guayaquil and Quito have subways that connect to most parts of the city ease your trip to Ecuador. 

If you are visiting Ecuador and coming from Guayaquil airport, you can take the Metrovia to the city. If you are coming from the airport in Quito, there are COSIBO buses that run from the airport to the Quitumbe bus terminal, from where you can take the Trolebús to the city center. Or you can take a taxi or Uber.

There are several companies like Easy Taxi, Uni Taxi, and Cabify that have taxi services.

A white church with a clock tower in the background is a picturesque sight to behold while travelling in Ecuador.

Ecuador Safety Advice

Is Ecuador safe to travel? Ecuador is pretty safe, but it still has its issues. Some zones in different cities are presumed to be more unsafe than the other zones. And it’s better to avoid night buses that tend to have a greater frequency of accidents.

No matter how safe the city is, we should know the Ecuador safety rules. Keep your valuables secure while you are in public to avoid petty thefts.

The Best Time To Visit Ecuador

Ecuador has a lot of microclimates like its neighbor Colombia. So there is no bad time to visit Ecuador. That being said, November to May is the best time to visit Ecuador if you are gonna visit the beaches.

The reason for that is during the other times it’s the dry season and the beaches are generally gloomy. If mountains are your thing, best time to visit Ecuador would be from May to November.

Ecuador Travel Guide planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Ecuador?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Ecuador?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are,, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack

Visas For Ecuador

Ecuador has one of the most lenient visa regimes which means citizens of most countries don’t need to apply for a visa prior to their entry into Ecuador. You get 90 days when you enter Ecuador.

To know more about the entry and exit requirements for Ecuador and how long, please visit this Ecuador guide with the updated visa requirements

Apart from Ecuador, Peru is also a country I would recommend you to visit. And in case, you are interested in visiting Peru, you can learn about how long you can stay as a tourist in Peru and other visa requirements here

Author Bio

A man from India enjoying the serene beauty of a lake.

Deb Pati is a writer and traveler who backpacked and lived in Latin America for a long time. He runs an initiative called The Visa Project where he and other writers write about their first-hand experience about the process of getting different visas, extending them and visa guides. The idea behind this initiative is to have updated information about visas in one place and make travelers/ex-pats visa smart. Deb and others try to keep it updated as much as possible to be in sync with changing visa norms. Follow him on Facebook and Medium

What to Read in Ecuador


Lonely Planet’s Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Delve into the past in Quito’s vibrant Centro Historico, hike around Cotopaxi for million-dollar views, and spot blue-footed boobies and red-billed tropicbirds in Punta Suarez – all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands and begin your journey now!


The remarkable first-hand account of Margret Wittmer, who settled the island of Floreana in the Galapagos-600 miles from the mainland of Ecuador. It took Wittmer and her family weeks to travel to the island in 1932; they battled with the ties for three full days before they could land.

Five months pregnant when she arrived, Wittmer found the beauty of the tropical island constantly tempered by the traumas of attempting everyday life in a wild and lonely spot. From the mysterious disappearance of a stranger linked to another recluse on the island, to a missed opportunity to meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 56 years recalled in this memoir are full of exotic adventures and the joys and tragedies of a lifetime.


The most comprehensive identification guide to the wildlife of the Galápagos

Since its first publication more than a decade ago, Wildlife of the Galápagos has become the definitive, classic field guide to the natural splendors of this amazing part of the world. Now fully updated, this essential and comprehensive guide has been expanded to include the more than 400 commonly seen birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, and other coastal and marine life of this wondrous archipelago. Over 650 stunning color photographs, maps, and drawings are accompanied by accessible, descriptive text. This new edition includes information about all the common fish of the region and Spanish names are featured for the first time. There is also a revised section that discusses the islands’ history, climate, geology, and conservation, with the most current details on visitor sites.


Nestled deep in the Ecuadoran jungle stands the remote river town of El Idilio, where widower Antonio Jose Bolivar seeks refuge in the tear-jerking novels brought to him from the brothel downstream. But the love stories offer Bolivar only temporary relief from what he judges to be the increasing stupidity of modern man–and the task he must complete. Winner of Spain’s Tigre Juan Prize.

Check out My travel books

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The Solo Girls Guide to Traveling Without Fear

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The solo girls guide to becoming a digital nomad

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