Here is my my Ecuador vacation itinerary. Two weeks backpacking in Ecuador. A trip between volcanos and lagunes.
South AmericaEcuador17 days / September 2019
Highs & Lows
The beautiful panoramic views
Ecuador´s highlands can be very fresh and trekkings tiring
Coming from Colombia and following to Perú, the major road of Ecuador is really straight and near by a lot of incredible landscapes. This trip is about trekkings in mountains, amazing wild adventures in the jungle, passing by the main cities and finishing in the artistic cultural city of Cuenca.
Getting in Quito Capital by bus from Colombia, you can be drop in the Quitumbe Terminal or the Carcelen Terminal. We recommend you to ask for a map of the "Trole" buses. It will be very usefull because Quito is a really large city from north to south. The "trole" is the principal and centrical bus which pass trought Quito faster and stops in tube stations (0.25$).
From there, we took the bus until the Saint Martin Market which is two blocks away from the historical center. Quito has all type of accomodations you will find in a capital. You have two main zones for turism accomodations : La Plaza Fosh ( The nightlife neighboor) or the historical center (more expensive). Between those, the St Martin Market and its zone has several international hostel for a better price.
- "El Panecillo" , a natural 3000m high hill with on its top, the statue of the Virgen of Quito all made in aluminium watching her city. The "entrance" of the hill is right after the historical center and from there you can choose a 30´minutes trail by stares or a ride by taxi, local bus or bicycles.
Up there you´ll find an incredible panoramic view of the city and it´s valley, foodtrucks and handcraft souvenirs.
- "La Ronda" the turistic bar and restaurant zone, animated until night in the historical center: Perfect for your tasty brunch or drink a crafbeer listening live music (in the Espiritu Districto Federal Bar, for exemple).
- "El utero", it's a socio-cultural space in Quito active thanks to many artists. Ask for your program and visit its galleries, expositions, permaculture garden or eat in its restaurant.
- "La carolina", one of the biggest and famous park in Quito to do a lot of activities: Skatepark, paddle boat in the lake, rent bicycles, walk around, visit the botanic garden, Play BasketBall, Football, Tennis, Gym, danse ...
- "Mitad del mundo", the middle line of ecuador has its own turistic village in Quito. About 2$ the entrance you´ll find a diversity of historical or science museum, kid parks, restaurants and a big statue of the 4th directions.
- The funicular, in Quito you have a second incredible view of its city and its valley. It´s a common destinations for ecuatorians to take pictures, do one of the large walk or ride down all the hill in bikes. You could find up there, turistic cafeterias or a typical hot empanada or smoked meat.
- Museums, churches, catedral and park visits
The AIRPORT is not connected by transport on night, less taxis about 25$ the ride.
Take a bus to Latacunga, getting there you´ll find cheep hotel rooms but if you cross the bridge to the center you are 5 blocks away from the cathedral and historical center. There you have international and backpackers hostel from 8$ or you can walk 15 minutes more to the Tierra de fuego hostel, really good vibes house with well equiped kitchen and games with a really nice rooftop.
The Quilotoa lagune is about an 1 hour away to the west by bus, leaving from the same terminal. The bus drop you at the entrance of the turistic village of Quilotoa which you'll cross less than 10 minutes walking to get to the panoramic view. From thereyou can take beautiful pictures and go down to the lagune, you can also enjoy a 6 hours trekking around, all for FREE.
If you choose to go down to the beach, be carefull, the way is really tiny and steep and can be dangerous (about 30´minutes down and about 1h30 up for the high latitude). 4000m high over the sea.
Wild camping is allowed and free in the specific zones.
The bus to and from Quilotoa stop in Zumbahua, small typical indigenious village, 15´minutes away by bus , known for its market and artcraft.
Baños is a really litle turistic village (about 5 blocks) and it´s the started point for all amazing and sport activities by jungle, canyon or rivers.
Baños is really adapted for an international all ages turism, you´ll find international and tematics restaurants, two markets (one in the center to eat and the other one two blocks away to buy fresh vegetables and fruits on the morning).
Activies for all budgets:
Bike rental, wild or guided tours around the jungle, canoying, rafting, jump lines, ziplining, bungee jumping, waterfalls road.
Pailon del Diablo: an incredible waterfalls really powerfull which you can see for very near, climbing by a small and tiny cave. 2$ entrance.
Nightlife: Baños can get really active on night, especialy on week end because of its 5 discos street, Ecuatorian from all the country and foreight turistits come all over to danse salsa or electronic.
Terminal bus station in Cuenca is few blocks away from the historical center. Local bus cost is about 0.30$ but it's slow and drop you down the heavy stairs to get to the high turistic part.
Cuenca is a really cultural city and almost all of its museums are free, you can go to take the cultural programm for your week and enjoy expositions, art galleries and theater.
Cuenca has a really strong family energy witch is really plaisant , mostly on night to take advantage and take a nice walk in all the historical center.
Live music is everywhere in Cuenca: hostels, restaurants, bars, terrasees and churches.
Get a daytrip to the National park Las Cajas, variety of walking trails in an usual nature by lagunes and rivers. About 40´minutes by bus from the Terminal. You get back hitchhiking, it was really faster.
Q & A
What would you have changed?Go for more trekking trails
Restaurant recommendations?Ecuador has always international bars and restaurants, mostly is cities. We recommend you to try the local food. Try for the breakfast: tamales, humitas, bolos ...
Packing tips?Winter Style in highlands but tropical climate in Baños. Swinwear to swin in waterfalls in baños and shorts for your trails and for everywhere: good hiking shoes. Lot of water always
Transportation Tips?Local bus in Ecuador is really cheap.