Galapagos Sea Lions
Photo by Eric Lindberg

5 Things to Cross Off Your Ecuador Bucket List

5 Things to Cross Off Your Ecuador Bucket List

Nov 12, 2021|Cultural| by Savanna Kearney

As travel begins to pick up again, one country stands out as a multifaceted and intriguing destination that offers something for a wide array of travel interests. Located on the western edge of South America and bordering the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is a small country that's rich in natural and cultural diversity, holding a plethora of sights and adventures you won’t soon forget. To inspire your next adventure, here are five places to visit, sights to see, and activities to experience that you can cross off your Ecuadorian bucket list.

Hike Through Mindo Cloud Forest

Mindo Cloud Forest

Photo by Ayacop

Besides being home to acres of rainforest, Ecuador also holds cloud forests, which are more mountainous, lusher, mossier and cooler versions of rainforests. They usually are characterized by a consistent, low-level cloud cover. Mindo Valley is home to one of these lush cloud forests, where you can find incredibly diverse flora and fauna.

Discover the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Sea Lions

Photo by Reinier Munguia

We could dedicate an entire blog post to the Galapagos Islands, but they are a must-see when visiting Ecuador. Whether you’re sunbathing with sea lions, interacting with giant Galapagos tortoises, snorkeling in crystal clear waters or learning about the rich history of the islands, you’re sure to have non-stop adventures.

Visit the Middle of the Earth

Monument to the Equator

Photo by Anna Brown

Ecuador literally translates to “equator,” which is why the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City) is such a large attraction. The Monument to the Equator sits on (almost) the exact location of the equator and commemorates the 1736 French and Spanish mission which discovered its location. It was later brought to light that the original coordinates were off by about 240 meters, but the monument is still a sight to behold.

Traverse the Amazon Rainforest

Landscape in Ecuador

Photo by Doreen Blake


This activity may seem daunting at first, considering the Amazon rainforest extends into nine different nations. Although only a small portion rests in Ecuador, there are still plenty of sights to see. Why not explore Cuyabeno National Park, the second-largest reserve in Ecuador? Or get a taste of indigenous cultures by visiting the Sapara or Sarayaku territories. There are also a number of lodges located throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon to allow travels to explore as long as they want.

Explore the Otavalo Market

Goods sold at the Otavalo Market

Photo by Dain Van  Schoyck

A short ride from the capital city Quito, the Otavalo Market is a marketplace rich in cultural diversity. You can buy just about anything and everything, from woven textiles, rugs, tapestries and clothing, to dishes, dolls, leather, hats and even fruits and vegetables. Don’t be afraid to haggle—it’s all part of the culture.

Originally published November 2017; last updated November 2021

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