Ecuador is the smallest Andean country, but the one with the most natural and cultural wonders. Basically, the country on the equator is the Costa Rica of South America. We’ll tell you why this thesis is by no means absurd and why you should plan your next trip to this fantastic part of our earth right away. Attention: Ecuador is home to one of the 5 most beautiful dream beaches in South America!
Packed in numbers, Ecuador is only a little bit bigger than Great Britain, but you can experience both scenic and climatic variety in one day and do not have to drive more than 200 km. From colonial cities in which the indigenous culture is still omnipresent, such as Cuenca or Quito, you can quickly reach the Pacific coast and relax on dream beaches, which are often deserted, splash around to your heart’s content or even surf. One of these dream beaches that made it into the top 5 of the most beautiful beaches in South America is Los Frailes.
Those who prefer mountainous regions can let off steam on the “Road of the Volcanoes” and climb Ecuador’s imposing 6000m peaks. Here you will meet the perfectly shaped and also highest active volcano on the continent – the Cotopaxi. With its snow hood and the fabulous 5,891 m height, it is a real splendid specimen among the fire breathers. A few meters higher, but already retired, is the Chimborazo. It measures exactly 6,267 m in height and the furthest distance to the center of the earth. But there are not only mountains and beaches in Ecuador. There are also the rainforests of the Amazon basin. For example, the world’s largest forest eagle, the harpy and the largest big cat on the South American continent, the jaguar, live in Yasuní National Park. In the cloud forests, nimble hummingbirds and colorful toucans buzz around your head.
Galápagos tortoises and blue-footed boobies
The Galápagos Islands should not be ignored when it comes to geographic location and biodiversity. The archipelago, consisting of 122 islands, 13 of which form the so-called main islands, is located 1000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The islands became famous, among others, through the natural scientist Charles Darwin, who was particularly interested in the endemic bird species on site. Many of the local animals and plants are not found anywhere else due to the remote location of the islands. So if you want to experience the giant Galápagos turtles live and watch the blue-footed boobies hunt for food, then a visit to the islands is essential.
You will be overwhelmed on the one hand by the natural beauty of the islands and on the other hand by the trust that the animal inhabitants show you. On arrival you are greeted by happy sea lions and you can be closer to the animals in their familiar environment than anywhere else in the world. 99% of the islands belong to the national park of the same name and both the government and the locals are proud of this world cultural heritage and willing to work hand in hand to provide the best possible protection for the existence of this globally unique archipelago.
Cultural diversity in the capital
Let us now move from the natural diversity of Ecuador to the cultural one. The majority of the Ecuadorian population consists of indigenous and mestizo people. Especially in the highlands you can visit numerous colorful markets where traditional handicrafts, food, animals and wonderful souvenirs are offered. The proportion of the population of European descent in Ecuador is relatively low, as there were no major waves of immigration from Europe apart from the Spanish colonial rulers. This mixture is an interesting aspect for friends of culture and architecture today.
You can find legacies from the Inca times and magnificent colonial buildings, for example in the capital Quito. The oldest metropolis in South America, with its 1.6 million inhabitants, is located inland and has a unique colonial old town. As early as 1978, it was therefore the first to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the best preserved and restored old towns on the continent and is an absolute “must see” on every trip to Ecuador. Quito is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its constant annual average temperature of around 20 ° C. This is partly due to the proximity to the equator and the altitude of 2850 m.
Best conditions for outdoor fans
By the way, Ecuador is truly heavenly for all outdoor fans. You can hike wonderfully here, undertake longer treks, ride through the varied highlands near Otavalo or fight your way up the Cotopaxi once and then back down by mountain biking. Of course, the classics are also offered for all adrenaline junkies, such as rafting, canopy tours through the cloud forests of Mindos and surfing on the dreamy Pacific beaches.
The only question left is when is the best time to visit Ecuador. Here, too, we have good news for you, the country can be divided into four climatic zones:
- Coastal region: December to July
- Highlands: May to October
- Amazon region: May to September
- Galápagos Islands: all year round
If you plan to travel to all four regions, the months May to July are recommended. Of course, it can still rain and co., Especially in the higher areas – but especially for active people who like to hike it can be cloudy and a little cooler. From a political point of view, Ecuador is considered a stable and safe travel destination. It is logical that despite everything you have to take care of your valuables and use your common sense – just like you do at home – just find out about the current security situation in advance, then nothing stands in the way of an absolutely brilliant time in Ecuador! In conclusion, one can conclude that Ecuador (even if it has an army) is in no way inferior to the paradise in Central America. It’s even a little bit bigger.