Plan your holidays to Ecuador: an active vacation in the Andes

As almost all of us are quarantined at home and probably looking for something different and useful to read or to do, we have prepared a small itinerary that can help you plan your next vacation in 2021.

Ecuador is most known for the Galapagos Islands, but truth be told, Ecuador offers a wide variety of different activities in its mainland territory. From lush rain forest to snow-covered peaks in the Andes.

Go for an adventure in Baños

Just a few hours away from Quito, this small town located at the skirts of the Tungurahua volcano surrounded by waterfalls offers an unforgettable adventure for those who are looking to do something different and exciting during their stay in Ecuador.

Recommended activities while in Baños: Rent a bike and complete the waterfall route, trekking in the lush mountains nearby Baños, hike to the Devil’s Cauldron, swing over the edge of the world.

Complete the Quilotoa loop

Quilotoa is an active volcano that erupted for the last time in the 13th century. After its last eruption, the peak of the volcano collapsed and created a wide caldera which later became a beautiful crater lake.

This place has many activities available for those who are looking to admire the beautiful Andean landscapes and spend some time outdoors.

If you are an active person, you can hike all the way around the crater rim or hike down into the crater. Rent a kayak and explore the lake on your own, and, if you are feeling more adventurous camping and stargazing on the side of the lake is definitely a must.

Horseback riding in the Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi is the second-highest active volcano, and its name means “neck of the moon” in Kichwa. This fantastic reserve offers the opportunity to go on many activities like hiking, climbing the summit of the Cotopaxi, and horseback riding. This activity lasts around 4 hours and it is essential to consider that it will be done over 3000 meters above sea level, allowing you to see the natural flora and fauna of the paramo as you’ve never imagined it before.

Hike the Pasochoa Volcano

This extinct volcano has been inactive since the last ice age. This volcano can be easily reached by driving from Quito in a 4×4 vehicle. The hike is relatively easy and it allows you to spot birds, horses and the occasional Andean Condor. If you have luck, this 5-hour hike is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a full day of activities without needing too much experience with outdoor activities.

Biking in the “Paseo del Quinde”

If you are not only a biking enthusiast but also love birdwatching, then this is the perfect route for you. The road starts from Quito, and you will need to start biking from the town of Nono until you reach the village of Mindo. Between these two towns, there is an altitude difference that will allow you to see the variety of vegetation and wildlife.

Go on a canopy adventure in Mindo

If you decided to follow our recommendation and went biking from Nono to Mindo, then sleeping in Mindo is the best idea. For the following day in Mindo, it is recommended to either relax or explore the town and go for another adventure.

Mindo’s lush subtropical ecosystem is known for its biodiversity and birdwatching opportunities. Its lush forests are not only home to more than 500 types of birds but are also the perfect place to go on an exciting activity like zipline canopy between the dense trees.

This can be easily done by hiking to the are where the zipline is; no special gear is needed on your side. Just keep your eyes open to spot some toucans while you are in the air!

Conquer the summit of Rucu Pichincha

This urban volcano is an everyday presence for those who live in Quito. Rucu Pichincha is an older and lower summit that can be accessed when taking Quito’s cable car, also known as the Teleferiqo. From Quito, the altitude is 2800 meters above sea level, the Teleferiqo will reach further to 3900 meters and the summit of Rucu Pichincha is at 4390 meters above sea level. However, the heights can be frightening; the hike will last between 3-4 hours through a well-marked trail. A worthy urban adventure!

Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Comments (10)

  1. Fred says:

    Yes, all we can do at the moment is dream and plan for when we can travel. And stay fit too. If you’re muscles aren’t ready for it zip lining can leave you sore the next morning.

    • Andrew says:

      When I got ready for climbing a mountain down in the Caribbean a few years back, I just took really long walks around where I lived. I wasn’t aware though that zip lining would leave you sore! I’ll have to remember that. I never really tried any zip lining anywhere, but if the cost is worth it, I’d probably try it here.

    • Carlos Beate says:

      Baños is completely worth it. You can zip line in many locations and the price is really cheap. Hope you stay healthy and fit for the next adventure in Ecuador :)

  2. Heather says:

    I always seem to forget that Ecuador is up in the mountains, somewhat. I had a girlfriend who took a trip there before and she came back with some really awesome photos of nature hikes. That’s definitely one of the main reasons I’d go there. It looks like a great place to get on one of those mules too. I would love to do that, Quito seems like a dreamy place.

    • Carlos Beate says:

      Most of the people think only about the Galapagos when planning a trip to Ecuador. But It is a really beatiful country with amazing landscapes to delight photographers of any level.

  3. Maria Jones says:

    Place is looking so amazing, will surely plan to visit this beautiful place…Thanks for writing this blog

    • Carlos Beate says:

      Thanks for the comment. Ecuador has amazing landscapes, from snow capped volcanoes to the amazon jungle, just in a few-hour rride.
      Hope you get to visit Ecuador and let us know if you need any help in doing so!


  4. Courtney says:

    These are the types of places I want to go to when this is all over. I am literally counting all the days left until (hoping) the end of our enhanced community quarantine. A breeze of fresh air and an open space where I can walk, hike, and travel is something that I am longing for because I want to see all of the things outside, not just the walls of my house and my room. Seeing that crater lake in Quilotoa reminds me of the Taal Volcano, which has a lake within a volcano that’s surrounded by a lake. It is very hard these days to imagine going outside to enjoy these sites since all we do now to go outside is buy and get supplies like food and water. I can’t see how those who are greatly affected by the outbreak have been living, much more those who are infected. I am hoping that this will be all over soon so we can enjoy the lives that were given to us.

  5. Anayah F. says:

    An active vacation it is! Because, why not? Looking into the Devil’s Cauldron more and that swinging over the edge of the world thing. I’m afraid of heights, but then, I like to challenge myself once in a while to get over it. The only problem is active tours is the higher chance of getting tired easily and a sprained foot but who cares? I think it is a kind of tour that each person has to experience even once in his lifetime. It is a invaluable memory to cherish, for sure.

  6. Craig says:

    Glad I came across this post. Some great ideas here for us to mull over for a big trip in 2023.

Leave a comment

Your actual name, not your online persona, website name, company name or keywords, otherwise your comment won't be published

Please do not advertise and make sure your comment adds value, otherwise we regret that it won't be published. Comments such as "Nice post. Thanks for sharing." do NOT add value to the discussion! Homepage links (not deep links) are allowed in the 'Website' field only - if you would like to advertise, please contact us for details and we will be happy to help.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

Our readers also enjoyed these posts…