The Lifestyle Guide to Ecuador: CarpeDM

Adventures in Ecuador: 9 Great TIPS when visitings…

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse nations on Earth. There are more than 1,600 species of birds and approximately 20% of the world’s species live in Ecuador or nearby. Called “The Galapagos Islands at the mainland” it has been a very popular and sought-after destination for people looking for adventure travel.
If you’re thinking of moving to Ecuador, or if you live here and want to learn a little about the country, this blog post is for you. Whether you’re planning a visit to Ecuador or live in Ecuador already, you’re going to have some questions. Questions like how do I get from the airport? How is the language barrier? The food and culture are what most people ask about first thing when they think of visiting or moving to Ecuador.

 As an Ecuadorian citizen, living in the beautiful tropical country for more than fifteen years now, I could not resist writing about my beloved country. This is a list of the top nine things to do when visiting.

1. Quito: Free Walking Tour

In South America, the clocks don’t run, they walk. In Quito, they actually standstill. One great example is the clocks at the architectural masterpiece of the Basilica Voto National which stopped working years ago. Yet, it’s almost as if nobody noticed, but let one of the local guides surprise you with the reason why they stopped working. In addition, some of the most famous Presidents of Ecuador have been buried here, the gargoyles will also surprise as they are in the formation of the wildlife that can be found in Ecuador. You could easily spend a few hours just at the Basilica. However, most free walking tours will include an overview of history, politics, architecture, food sampling, and if you are lucky some dancing 🙂 Be generous with your guides and show your appreciation.

2. Teleferico

It is popular with Quiteno residents and travelers alike & only a 16-minute ride up to the lookout Cruz Loma. Best views of the city, on route if you are up for the challenge to hike the stratovolcano RUCU Pichincha. Upon arrival, it’s only another 2 hours to the summit. One of the highest aerial lifts in the world, rising above 10,000 ft. Guaranteed to take your breath away. The cost is $8.50 US.

3. Mitad del Mundo – Middle of the World

Balance an egg on a nail, straddle the north & southern hemisphere or learn about indigenous cultures and a few new tricks about what it means to be living in the middle of the world.

4. Mindo

A unique community of artisans, coffee farmers, and producers who have protected their environment while prospering from the production of exceptional coffee & chocolate. Explore the wonderful trails leading to waterfalls, zipline through the canopy of the forest. Discover the magical butterfly farm. Let your taste buds come alive when your devour some of the best organically grown in the region.

5. Quilotoa

One of the most vibrant emerald crater caldera that keeps you wanting more. It begins with the journey from Quito through the mountainous range of the Andes. Be sure to make a stop to visit one of the local indigenous families and learn about treasured customs & traditions. The vastness of the crater and the reflection of the sky in the emerald lake call you to make the trek down to get a closer look. Kayaking is possible and definitely recommended as is hiring a local mule to make your way back up. You may yourself struggling to catch your breath which could be a sign that you’ve been struck by awe.

6. Otavalo

A dreamcatcher’s paradise. Known for its textiles, tagua, jewelry, musical instruments, leather goods, indigenous dress, and more. Otavalo is home to one of the biggest Saturday markets in South America. So if you prefer smaller crowds then head out any other day of the week. Be sure to dance to the local music, sample some of the traditional food, pick up a vibrant colored poncho as a souvenir, and be sure to be the talk of the town at your next gathering.

7. Cotopaxi

This perfectly shaped stratovolcano can be found in the National Park of Cotopaxi which is the 3rd most visited attraction in Ecuador. After Galapagos, Amazon, Cotopaxi will impress you with its vast open space, strong winds and invite you to conquer its peak. If you don’t have the time to properly prepare and acclimatize then 1 day will get up to the altitude of Mont Blanc and cost you a fraction of the fee. Enjoy the cool breeze and challenge yourself to get to the basecamp of Jose Rivas, which can be found at 4,810m.

8. Amazon

Flooded lush forest, surrounded by green, a womb-like space, disconnected from the outside world. Where the lungs of the planet greet you with an abundance of fresh air to enjoy. A protected reserve home to a vast amount of species waiting for you to discover. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to visit the Cuyabeno Reserve, where we are partners with Caiman Ecolodge & Tucan Ecolodge. We can also provide recommendations and tours to Yasuni, Tena and nearby villages.

9. Galapagos

Charles Darwin said it best “Attention, when sudden and close, graduates into surprise and this into Astonishment”. To evolve is to grow and to grow to be fulfilled. No better example than this place on the planet so contrary to the human condition. Where animals live in harmony with their fellow man. Only the heavens could have created such a paradise. Galapagos Islands is the only place that needs no explanation, no hype, no tourists. But if you are lucky enough to visit, be sure to leave no footprints 🙂

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