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An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Ecuador

Latin America fires the imagination of travellers in search of exoticism and a change of scene. So why choose to explore the smallest of Andean countries instead of another more vast or better known one? Precisely because Ecuador, just like Uruguay, is one of the small countries of this continent in which is concentrated a powerful history, a lovely diversity of landscapes and a jolly population proud to see you stay in their country.

To familiarise you with this favourite destination, the Evaneos Travel community of travellers will know to inform you on the places not to be missed and, what's more, about some other little known gems. An original destination and a tailor-made circuit that will make you come back home with lots of pictures in your head. A big plus, Ecuador extends from the Amazon to the Pacific Ocean passing through the Cordillera of the Andes, so you will have the opportunity to experience both the sea and the mountain. 

You might start your stay by a visit of Quito and its colonial architecture town centre, one of the best preserved on the continent. Not far to the north, the colourful village of Otavalo presents itself as the handicrafts capital, mostly made by the Quechuas of the region. If you are looking for invigorating mountain air, go to the beautiful plains around Zumbahua and admire the sublime lake the colour of emeralds in the Quilotoa volcano's crater. 

However, a stay in Ecuador would not be complete without a visit to the Galapagos archipelago , at once the stronghold of scientists and travellers, the seat of observation of an exceptional and surprising nature. If observing wild creatures does not scare you, prolong the adventure in Amazonia for example with the exploration of Cuyabeno Reserve and its anacondas. And to rest after all of that, the Pacific coast will be the ideal place to relax, in peace and quiet at Puerto López , or in the more animated seaside resort version of Montañita .

As you will have understood, the country of the Mitad del Mundo is not lagging behind its neighbours and will delight the curious traveller seeking to make discoveries.

Rose Nicolini
Calpi (Ecuador)
The rural community of Calpi consists of 19 indigenous villages located at the foot of the highest volcano in Ecuador, Chimborazo. Calpi lies halfway between Cuenca and Quito and is definitely worth the trip, especially if you like the idea of supporting local community tourism projects. 
Chilcapamba is a Quechua community in the north of Ecuador. Tourists stay with the local inhabitants and the extra income helps in the development of the village.
In the middle of the volcano chain and 5,897 metres high, Cotopaxi is Ecuador's second highest volcano after Chimborazo. It forms part of the national park of the same name.
The Cuyabeno Nature Reserve is one of the best national parks in Ecuador for observing animals in their natural environment.
Insilibi is a small, peaceful village, surrounded by mountains, that is hiding on the Quilotoa trekking loop, at an altitude of 2,900 m. For walkers only!
For nature lovers Machalilla National Park is a must when in Ecuador . At once maritime and terrestrial, it gives you the opportunity to discover a fauna (birds, whales...) and an astonishing and varied flora.
Every Thursday morning Saquisili is very busy because of its weekly market. It's something you really shouldn't miss during a trip to Ecuador!
The view of the crater in the Quilotoa volcano is breathtaking, so don't miss it during your holiday in Ecuador.
Zamora (Ecuador)
A city in the south of Ecuador, called the "Land of birds and waterfalls".
Otavalo (Ecuador)
Otavalo is home to the biggest market in Ecuador and one of the most important in South America. Although there are markets every day, the highlight is Saturday.
Ibarra (Ecuador)
Half way between Quito and the Colombian frontier, Ibarra, or "the white town" as it's called, is a small, charming and pleasant town in Ecuador to explore for a day or two.
A very traditional and typically Ecuadorian market is held every Thursday morning in Guamote, not far from the train station.
Mindo (Ecuador)
Only 1,300 metres above sea level, the little town of Mindo has a tropical micro-climate which has led to a large diversity of plant and animal life (and lots of birds). It's perfect for nature lovers!
A magnificent park situated a few kilometres from Cuenca, notable for its many lakes.
Amazonia (Ecuador)
Ecuadorian Amazonia is called "the East" because it covers a large part of the east of the country. It is home to an enormous biodiversity but nowadays is also prized for its oil...
Puerto Lopez is a quiet little fishing village spread out along a pretty bay, where it's easy to meet the local people.
In Machalilla National Park, the Agua Blanca site is managed by the community of the same name. Guides from the village will take you around the site, which is ideal if you want to meet local people!
Baños (Ecuador)
Banos (De Ambato) is a well known spa town in Ecuador, that sits in an stunning, mountainous landscape.
At 6,130 metres above sea level, Chimborazo is the highest volcano in Ecuador.
Ideally placed on the Quilotoa Loop, Chugchilan is a village/stopover at 3,200m; the perfect place to rest for hikers exploring the region!
You can take a boat trip on Lake Cuicocha which is a still active crater of Cotacachi!
This exclusively tourist-oriented train from Riobamba to Nariz del Diablo made a short stop at Guamote.
The country's second largest town, beside the Pacific, Guyaquil doesn't have a great reputation but is nonetheless worth visiting for a day if you are staying in Ecuador.
Tigua is a small village located in the mountains at the foot of Cotopaxi, a few kilometres from Latacunga lagoon. It is primarily known for its highly coloured crafts that are sold throughout Ecuador.
The Imbabura volcano is in the north of the country, not far from Otavalo.
Puerto Misahualli is a very quiet port south of Tena. It is where the Napo et Misahualli rivers meet, so the doorway to Amazonia.
Papallacta is a little village in the Andes located at over 3000 m, or nearly 10,000 ft in altitude and fed by warm water springs.
At 4,794 metres high, Pichincha volcano is still active and looms dangerously over Quito. However you can climb it in about 4 hours.
Quito (Ecuador)
Quito is 3,000 metres above sea level. As well as its historic colonial centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ecuador's capital has other assets and is a definite must see if you are staying in Ecuador.
Sigchos is an unpretentious little village at an altitude of 3,000 m, on the Quilotoa loop. A place worth considering if you are walking or trekking!

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