- Buy presents to take home at Otovalo Market
- Explore Quito’s old town
- Visit Amazon communities and stay in an eco-lodge
- Horse ride in the spectacular Cotopaxi National Park
- See 16th & 17th century colonial architecture in Cuenca
Markets, mountains and museums
Ecuador is one of the most striking and accessible countries of the Andes. Historic haciendas can be used as a base to explore the Andean countryside and colourful markets such as Otavalo or Saquisili, while the colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, offer museums, theatres, art and beautifully restored boutique hotels in former colonial mansions.
South of Quito you can enjoy magnificent scenery along the Valley of the Volcanoes via the Cotapaxi National Park leading down towards Riobamba and Cuenca, including the famous Devil’s Nose Train journey.
The Ecuadorian Amazon
To the east of the Andes lie the tropical lowlands of El Oriente, an unspoiled wilderness of Amazonian rainforest. To the west is the lush cloud forest which offers excellent bird-watching, attractive waterfalls and superb flora and fauna.
Ecuador’s five national parks in the Amazon watershed are home to the greatest biodiversity in Amazonia - the Amazon itself has a greater variety of plants and animals than anywhere in the world - and provide visitors with relatively easy access and high standard lodges. It's the experience of this pristine environment in its entirety that makes this such an enchanting addition to an Ecuadorian trip, and one we strongly recommend.
Over the years, a number of wildlife lodges have been sensitively developed to allow visitors the opportunity of witnessing the multitude of birdlife and wildlife that exist here. Excellent local naturalists are on hand to help enhance your understanding of these pristine wildlife zones. All the lodges we use here are either owned by or directly benefit their local indigenous communities, and each of them provides a truly unique and quite unforgettable experience.
Top Amazon tips
• Go on one or more night walks as this is when the forest comes alive. You feel completely surrounded by so many creatures that you can only hear. In the day it can be hard to spot wildlife through the dense vegetation, but at night you can catch the reflection of their eyes in the light cast by your torch.
• Take the time to talk one-on-one with your guide as you will be rewarded with some fascinating insights and stories.
• Go with an open mind as the magic of the Amazon will hit you when you least expect it!
Sample trip: Ecuador Explorer