Plan Your Perfect Ecuador Trip

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UNDERSTAND ALL THAT ECUADOR HAS TO OFFER

Ecuador is made of four key geographic regions.  Three of those regions run north to south on the mainland: the Amazon, the Andes, and the Pacific Coast. Add the Galapagos Islands for number four! Each region has beautiful places to visit, neat people to meet, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to learn. 

PLANNING YOUR VACATION IS PART OF THE FUN!

A green and blue hummingbird spreads its brilliant, neon blue tail feathers

Explore

Our writers have unique insights into the people and places they write about. Many have not only visited Ecuador but have made it their home.

Cayambe from Quito, Ecuador | ©Angela Drake

Connect

We can put you in touch with local guides and business owners. We help translate, both language and culture, when need be!

Dancers at Cochasqui, Ecuador | ©Angela Drake

Travel

We recommend agencies to book entire trips, help you design your own itinerary, or anywhere in between. At the end of the day, how much we help is up to you!

Festivals Are More Fun With A Local Guide

An Insider’s Guide to Celebrating Easter in Quito, Ecuador

Celebrating Easter in Quito, Ecuador doesn't need to be complicated. Here is a simple guide to help you understand the ins and outs of the weeklong celebration. Hot Tip: Easter Sunday is the least celebrated day of this event-packed week.  Holy Week in Quito Holy Week...

Celebrating Christmas in Ecuador

Will you spend Christmas in Ecuador? Whether you are headed to the Galapagos Islands, the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast, the jungles of the Amazon Basin, or the high Andes, there are a few customs you might like to understand before arriving. Christmas Lights...

A Guide to Local Festivals in Ecuador

Local festivals in Ecuador are the heart and soul of many communities. They are found in the highest Andean towns and the smallest jungle enclaves, in tiny fishing villages and large cities like Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. Many are well advertised and openly invite...

The Andean New Year Celebration of Cochasquí

While we have attended many cultural gatherings throughout Ecuador, the celebration of Mushuk Nina, or the Andean New Year, at the archeology site of Cochasquí has to be one of my absolute favorites. Locals welcomed us as if we were dear friends and greeted my camera...

Celebrating Carnival in Ecuador

While Brazil has a famous Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro and the United States in New Orleans (better known as Mardi Gras), Ecuador has Guaranda! This small city with views of the famous Chimborazo Volcano pulls out the stops with several parades taking place on...

The Festival of the Virgin de Candelaria in Puno, Peru

Guest author and regenerative tourism professional, Patricia Deva, writes about The Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria and its relationship with Carnival and indigenous dances held every February in Puno, Peru. The first period of the history of the Altiplano of...

Traditional Foods Taste Better When You Eat With Locals

A Vegetarian Ceviche That Thrums With Flavor

Ceviche is a uniquely South American dish and takes many different forms, most containing seafood. But a vegetarian ceviche? Yes! This recipe is a vegetarian ceviche made with heart of palm, an ingredient commonly found throughout Ecuador. The sauce, because...

Locro de Papa, Quiteño Comfort Food

I can't think of a dish that is more emblematic of Quito than Locro de Papa or Potato Soup. What is Locro? In Ecuador, a locro is a thick soup, almost a stew, and its base is potato, specifically the papa chola, a large, starchy, reddish-skinned potato with a pale...

The Most Authentic Peruvian Food in Cusco

A few years back, my family and I stayed a couple of nights in Cusco, Peru. We ate a lot of authentic meals before, during, and after our adventure on the Inca Trail. But years later, only two stand out. One was a meal we ate standing on the street outside of our...

How To Roast Guinea Pig a la Ecuador

Let me warn you. This post is not for the faint of heart. In the mountainous regions of Ecuador people love to eat roast cuy (rhymes with gooey). A cuy is a guinea pig raised for meat. Ecuadorians raise them in small pens, caring for them until they're large enough to...

Green Plantain Dumplings, AKA Bolón de Verde

One of the things I love about Ecuadorian chefs is that most seem willing to share their recipes. That's how I came to make Bolón de Verde - literally translated as balls of green but more appropriately called green plantain dumplings. Our First Bolón de Verde A young...

Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw

How did we discover Connor's Favorite Coleslaw? By trying to compensate for the lack of really great mayonnaise in Ecuador. Even the olive oil we purchase doesn't always guarantee a good-tasting mayo. All I can imagine is that many of the imported bottles turn rancid...

Learn The History You Never Learned In School

The Enduring Ancient Sites of Quito, Ecuador

While Quito, Ecuador is not well-known for its great Inca ruins, the city and surrounding area are dotted with archeology sites well worth a visit, especially for those of us who enjoy ancient history. Each museum listed in this article has something to teach us about...

Casa del Alabado: An Exquisite Archeology Museum in Historic Quito

La Casa del Alabado is a privately owned museum in an old Spanish-colonial residence located very near Quito's historic San Francisco Plaza. And when I say old, I don't mean a hundred years or so. I mean truly antique. The house was built in 1671. Therefore, the...

The Surprising History of Chocolate

A well-known fact about the history of chocolate is that the Mayans drank this liquor of the gods mixed with chiles, water, and cornmeal. Most of us learned in school that the oldest civilization to cultivate cacao was the Olmec from ancient Mexico, appearing around...

A Guided Tour of Cusco

It's not often that we end up on a scheduled group tour. Especially not one that hits all the major sites in a single afternoon. However, that's how we ended up seeing most of Cusco, in a slap-dash tour that took us to major sites inside and out of the city itself....

Dig Into Ancient Quito: La Florida Archeology Museum

A couple of weekends ago, we headed out on a mission to explore La Florida Archeology Museum. This pre-Columbian burial ground sits in the middle of an average Quiteño neighborhood. On our way up the hillside to see this little treasure, we passed lines of laundry...

The Virgin of Quito

Shortly before moving into our new home in Quito, we made our first visit to the Virgin of Quito. We could see her statue from our hotel window. The angel-like, silver edifice stands atop a dome-shaped hill called El Panecillo.  History of the Panecillo Before the...

Hike Like A Local

Dark Caverns, Rushing Cascades, and more at Las Cascadas Yanayacu

Hiking Las Cascadas Yanayacu became a transformational experience that I hadn't planned for. Those are the best kind I knew I had made a mistake with my first step into the river. My hiking boots immediately cried "We're not waterproof!" Wet socks would be my hiking...

4 Great Spots for Birdwatching In Papallacta, Ecuador

Hotsprings and birdwatching in Papallacta, Ecuador? Yes, it is possible to do both! Most people make the day trip from Quito to Papallacta to enjoy the hot springs alone. Then there are those of us who go for the birds! With that in mind, here are a few locations in...

The Mysterious Puruhanta – A High Altitude Lake in Imbabura

For seasoned Ecuadorian travelers, the northern province of Imbabura evokes beautiful images of green mountains, steep valleys, and steel blue lakes. In fact, this province is known as the lakes region. Lakes such as Lago San Pablo, Laguna Cuicocha and Lago...

Hiking to the Glacier at Cotopaxi National Park

If you find yourself at Cotopaxi National Park on a sunny day, you may just want to take the opportunity to hike up to the Cotopaxi glacier, especially if you've already taken the time to hike to the Refugio! The views are spectacular, both towards the icy mountain...

Hiking Cayambe Coca National Park Near Papallacta

I wanted to write about Cayambe-Coca National Park. However, the truth is that I can't do it justice. With several access points and no safe way to transverse its grand 3,700 square kilometers (1,430 square miles), it's a park that begs to be treated like multiple...

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump from Quito – Yanacocha Reserve

The Yanacocha Reserve protects a small slice of high altitude cloud forest about an hour outside of Quito. On a sunny day, it's a great place to hike for unimpeded views of Guagua Pinchincha, the volcano that last erupted in 1999. The vista towards the coast is...

Find Orchids Around Every Corner

El Pahuma: A Wild Orchid Reserve Near Quito

The 2.5 hour drive from Quito to Mindo, Ecuador follows a long and windy road with very few places to pull off and stop. However, one small pullout provides more than a bathroom break. El Pahuma is an orchid reserve near Quito and lies in the heart of the UNESCO...

The Best of Buenaventura

The Buenaventura Reserve provides easy access to explore the flora and fauna of Southern Ecuador. However, a visit to this widespread reserve requires a little planning as many of the great things to do lie a few kilometers from the main lodge. Once you arrive, there...

The Loja Botanical Garden

I never expected to find a botanical garden in Loja, Ecuador. But this university town in Southern Ecuador is full of surprises. My high school aged son and I spent a pleasant morning walking the shaded trails and enjoying the manicured gardens. Highlights included...

The Best Places to See Orchids in Ecuador

Ecuador is home to over 4,000 species of orchids. These specatuclar blooming epiphytes grow in high altitude cloud forests of the Andean Sierra and the equatorial jungles of the Amazon Basin. There are so many orchids that the only comprehensive identification guide...

The Orchids of Cabañas San Isidro

rchids can be tough to see in the wild, even near wildlife lodges like the Cabañas San Isidro. Large orchids love to grow high in the tree canopy, beyond the reach of even a pair of good binoculars. And some of the orchids that grow at eye...

Local Guides Know Where To Find The Best Birds

Protect Ansenuza National Park’s Flamboyant Flamingos

The wild flamingos of the newly created Ansenuza National Park in Cordoba, Argentina need our help. Despite living in a protected habitat, these striking birds are in peril.

The Wild Cuyabeno in Pictures – An Immersive Photo Essay

The Cuyabeno: A Photo Essay Let me introduce the Cuyabeno in pictures. In four short days, we were able to merely scratch the surface of the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, an incredibly diverse habitat with nine different ecosystems. To read the captions, hover your mouse...

El Pahuma: A Wild Orchid Reserve Near Quito

The 2.5 hour drive from Quito to Mindo, Ecuador follows a long and windy road with very few places to pull off and stop. However, one small pullout provides more than a bathroom break. El Pahuma is an orchid reserve near Quito and lies in the heart of the UNESCO...

Save Refugio Paz de las Aves

Refugio Paz de las Aves is a small, privately-owned birding reserve in the heart of the Choco-Andino Biosphere in Northeastern Ecuador, home to an amazing variety of wildlife, including birds like the Giant Antpitta and the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. However, unless...

Protecting the Endangered Frogs of Refugio Paz

One of the positives coming out of the current campaign to save Refugio Paz de Las Aves is an interest in identifying endangered species that live on the 49-hectare property, especially within the primary forest. When one of our donors reached out to ask which species...

The Vulnerable Giant Antpitta

Earlier this year, the birding world was shocked to learn that the Refugio Paz de Las Aves near Mindo, Ecuador is in danger of losing its land. That news spurred many of us to find ways to contribute to the campaign to save the reserve and the birds that live there....

Find Artists and Artisans In Every Corner of Ecuador

Cusco’s Treasure Trove of Ancient Art and Modern Craft

The Pre-Colombian Art Museum in Cusco is a small but visit-worthy addition to any tourist itinerary. Basicly, this museum should be on everyone's list of things to do in Cusco. A Beautifully Curated Museum The collection at Cusco's Pre-Colombian Art Museum is...

Folk Art from Tigua, Ecuador

It started decades ago with a single folk artist living in Tigua - Julio Toaquiza. The men in his village had a long tradition of painting masks and drums. An art dealer in Quito asked Julio to paint on a flat surface and a new school was born. Today, there are...

In Search of the Perfect Guitar

A chance encounter with a guitar lover and fellow tourist in Cuenca led us to discover the Route of the Guitars, a little-known tourism route along the backroads of San Bartolome, Ecuador. While stringed instruments, including traditional guitars, requintos,...

Fiber Artists in Cuenca, Ecuador

We just love walking the streets of Cuenca. Mainly because we are always finding something new around the corner. That's how we found the wonderful exhibit of handwork and embroidery hosted by the Centro de Bordados Cuenca. About the Centro de Bordados Cuenca Founded...

Explore Backroads With The Best Guides

Ecuadorian Backroads: Sigchos

I love driving Ecuadorian backroads. Even when it means we tend to get a little lost or turned around. That's how we discovered Sigchos. We thought we would just be driving through on our way to the Quilotoa Crater. But what we looked like the main road...

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plan your trip to ecuador

Ecuador

With many years experience traveling Ecuador, we’ve shared content from all four geographic regions: the Sierra, the Coast, the Amazon Basin, and the Galapagos. Incredibly, we keep returning for more.

plan your trip to peru

Peru

As Machu Picchu attracts thousands of new visitors every year, lesser-known destinations hold opportunity for exciting adventures and less-crowded vacationing. If you have visited Peru in the last few months and would like to add to our growing list of posts, let us know!

plan your trip to bolivia

Bolivia

With only one week in La Paz and Isla del Sol, we barely scratched the surface of Bolivia. This small South American nation is ready and waiting for increased tourism from their neighbors in the north.

plan your trip to argentina

Argentina

We lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for one year. If we learned anything, it’s that Argentina deserves time. Distances are grand and a single trip really can’t do it justice.

Front of the main cathedral in Bogota, Colombia

Colombia

Colombia is a diverse nation full of tourism opportunity. We spent time getting to know Bogota in the north and many Southern Colombia destinations that are easily reachable from Northern Ecuador.

Looking for our blog?

If you want to explore our blog, most of our content is about Ecuador but we are expanding to include other Andean Nations!

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