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4 weeks in Ecuador: my Ecuador travel itinerary

In need of an Ecuador travel itinerary? Look no further, because I have the perfect trip for you! I will tell you all about the places I visited while I was in Ecuador. Not only that: I will also tell you about the places I didn’t visit, but I should have!

Please learn from my “mistake” and do your research before traveling. You will avoid the constant FOMO when you are not visiting places you would want to visit.

Also, keep in mind that I participated in a program called the Traveling Classroom. This is a four week program in which you take Spanish lessons, and travel through Ecuador. I would highly recommend it!

Week one: Quito

If you’re like me and you come from a country that is on (or below!) sea-level… You have two options here:

  1. Take some extra days in Quito to get used to the altitude. Altitude sickness is REAL, you guys!!
  2. First fly to a place higher than your previous location, but lower than Quito. That last part is not too difficult. Spend a couple of days there to get used to it, then travel to Quito.

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Quito is the capital of Ecuador, and it’s such a big city. I have actually called it the Biggest City I Had Never Heard Of, because I had never heard of it before I went! The city itself is quite nice to explore. You will only need a couple of days to see all the highlights, in my opinion.

To do in Quito:

  • A walking tour. This is the best way to get to know the city! It’s also a cheap option, as you can do a free walking tour and still experience Quito in the best way.
  • TelefériQo Cruz Loma. This is a gondola lift that goes up to an even higher point of the city. I do want to warn you about the altitude again though!
  • Walk around the historic centre. This is such a cute part of the city, and it definitely deserves your attention as well.
  • Visit a beautiful church. The Iglesia de la Compañía (or Church of the Society of Jesus) is definitely a must. It’ll also give you an amazing view over the city.

Day trips from Quito:

  • Visit Mitad del Mundo. This is a monument in the middle of the world, on the equator. Funfact: the equator is why Ecuador is called “Ecuador”! You’ll learn many interesting facts about the effect the equator has on Ecuador.
  • Climb a volcano. I personally climbed Cotopaxi, and we also mountain biked our way down. Absolutely amazing to experience. Once again, an altitude warning! Climbing the volcano can be very challenging.

One thing about the altitude: take some candies with you. Apparently the sugar really helps. Don’t ask me how and why – it helped for me, so it might do the trick for you.

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Week two: the Amazon Rainforest

Into adventure? Then this is amazing for you! Part of Ecuador is the Amazon Rainforest, and you can stay there during your travels!

I highly recommend it, as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This cannot miss from your Ecuador travel itinerary.

I stayed in Gaia Amazon Lodge, a beautiful lodge with private rooms and dorm rooms. All meals are included in your stay, and the lodge also organized trips to explore the jungle. If you want to stay here too, make sure to use my discount code ANOUK10 for a 10% discount on your stay.

Oh, and for my fellow digital nomads: there is wifi in the common areas, and it works well enough to do video calls!

To do in the Amazon:

  • Tube down the river. We did this while it was raining – but it was still an amazing experience! At one point, we could see monkeys jumping from tree to tree while floating in the river.
  • Visit an animal rescue centre. This is your chance to see some of the jungle’s most dangerous and special animals up close. You will also learn about the amazing work the rescue centre does to the animals.
  • Jungle hikes. These are an absolute must if you go to the jungle, of course. You can even do a night hike, in which you’ll see many more animals that only come out in the dark.
  • Hike to hidden waterfalls. A guide will lead you through the jungle, to some hidden gems. Here, you’ll have time to swim and jump off the rocks.
  • Visit a butterfly farm. Close to the Lodge, you’ll find a butterfly farm. This trip costs you $35 – a little overpriced, I think – and you can spend some time in the farm. If you love butterflies and you want them to land on your hand, go for it!

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Week three: Manta

This is the location I am least enthusiastic about, but it’s still great. Looking for a getaway from the busy traveling and the tourists? Then this is the place to be.

This beach town is definitely cute, so I’m sure you’ll like it. But if you are seeking a more adventurous or busy place, this town is not for you. It’s up to you whether you decide to add it to your Ecuador travel itinerary.

One thing I did do close to Manta, is paragliding! This was an amazing experience, and I would love to do it again. You get to paraglide along the coast, with a small city in view.

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Week four: Montañita

If you ask me to choose between the Amazon and Montañita, I honestly wouldn’t know! Montañita was amazing – so amazing that I stayed here for two more weeks!

This town has a beachy vibe. You can surf, you can learn Spanish, you can chill at the beach, and you can definitely party! Montañita is a typical surfer/backpacker hotspot. Whether you want to relax, explore, be active, or work… Everything is possible here!

To do in Montañita:

  • Take surfing lessons. The waves are apparently one of the best ones in South America for surfers.
  • Relax and watch the sunset on the beach. The sunsets can be stunning! Head to the beach around six, and you’ll experience all the colours of the sunset.
  • Try all the amazing food. Want to know where? I wrote a blogpost about my favourite restaurants in Montañita.
  • Explore the area around Montañita. There are so many cute beaches, towns and spots to be discovered here.

Want to know more about what to do in Montañita? I made a more extensive list of all the activities in Montañita you should do!

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Extra destinations

Like I said, there are also some destinations that I haven’t visited, but I sure would have loved to. To make sure you won’t miss out on them, I’ll list them below. Who knows, they can be part of your Ecuador travel itinerary.

This is based on the experiences of other travellers I have met. Definitely do your own research as well!

Baños

If there is one other place that travellers go to in Montañita, it’s Baños. I’ll just have to come back for it some day, because it sounds amazing! There is lots to do in and around Baños. You can visit waterfalls, swing between the clouds, climb a volcano, go rafting… It sounds like a perfect destination.

The Galapagos

Another reason for me to go back, is the Galapagos Islands. This is an island group belonging to Ecuador, and it’s supposedly one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The nature and wildlife is just incredible.

Cuenca

Lastly, Cuenca. This is the city you can go to during the Traveling Classroom, if you don’t want to go to the Amazon. There is definitely enough to explore in Cuenca, so if you happen to come close to it… Maybe check it out.

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These were my tips for Ecuador! Are you planning on going to Ecuador? Or have you been already? I’d love to connect with you! Leave a comment on this blogpost, or send me a DM on instagram.

Would you like to see more? Follow me on social media!

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