Ecuador travel is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. An astounding destination—one praised for its history, culture, and of course, its diverse and unbeatable landscapes (like the rainforest!)—those who visit Ecuador always come back inspired.
On top of that, with its friendly inhabitants, Ecuador is also a great place for solo travelers to create their own adventure. Interested in planning one of your own? Take our word for it and add these five must-see spots to your Ecuador travel itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.
The nation’s capital, Quito, has enough going on to last you your whole trip. That said, if your Ecuador travel time is limited, we suggest only spending a few days here. One of the original UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Quito, which is nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, sits at 9,000+ feet above sea level. Located just 15 miles south of the Equator, go here to experience its preserved old town, Palacio del Gobierno, the San Francisco Monastery, and everywhere you look, hilltop viewpoints and tasty, affordable restaurants.
This is the largest city on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, and it’s used mainly as a port city on the Guayas River. Go right along the boardwalk and you’ll find Malecón 2000, a place where tourists and locals alike stroll past restaurants, shops, gardens, fountains, food stands, the first IMAX theater in South America and more, making it more of a hangout than anything else. Guayaquil is also a major departure point for those who want to see the Galapagos Islands during their Ecuador travel.
Travel a little outside Quito and you’ll find this tourist gem. It’s corny, yes, but when at the Equator, you have to take the classic “straddling the line” photo. This site marks an important point in the history of the world’s formation; it’s the very spot where explorers believed the equatorial line to be in 1736, which at that point, proved the Earth is round. Feeding the tourist vibes, today, there’s a whole complex with a museum, a planetarium, a monument dedicated to the equator, and even a painted yellow line marking the point where those explorers thought the invisible equator would lie. (As it turns out, the Equator is actually a tad north of that line; but either way, it’s famous!)
For a peek into Ecuador’s past, visit Cuenca. Here, cobblestone streets are lined with colonial architecture, and a few must-see “newer” buildings—like the domed “New Cathedral,” which was completed in the 20th Century—tower over the city like ancient cathedrals once were designed to. Another benefit of visiting Cuenca is that it’s close to the Amazon River. In fact, if you can hop on the bus to Baños, you can add an Amazon tour to your Ecuador travel itinerary and see its resident pink dolphins, howler monkeys, three-toed sloths and more.
This free-spirited beach town is where you’ll find Ecuador's surfing community. Even if you don’t surf, however, you’re still guaranteed a good time! Picture this: locals and tourists ready to party, bars blasting reggae music, topless sunbathing, EDM festivals right on the sand, windsurfing, bodysurfing and more. It’s the perfect place for any solo traveler to visit during his or her Ecuador travel.
Don’t know how to start planning your solo adventure to Ecuador? Reach out to the team here at Surtrek, the leader in custom and local South American travel, and let us help you create the trip of your dreams.