Ecuador Tourism, Tourist Attractions
Home to famed Galapagos Islands, tourism in Ecuador is growing by leaps and bounds. Surrounded by several natural wonders and rich in cultural heritage the country attracts thousands of tourists every year. Some of the attractions that dominate mainstream Ecuador Tourism are Galapagos Islands, the city of Quito and Cotopaxi Volcano.
Ecuador Tourism – Top 10
Below are the major tourist attractions and reasons why people visit the country.
1. Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands, a group of 19 islands situated at a distance of 1000 kms from the South American continent on the Pacific Ocean is located where three ocean currents meet. Popularly called the showcase of evolution, this living museum includes the islands and its surrounding marine reserves. Voted #1 in Ecuador Tourism and travel destinations.
2. Cotopaxi Volcano
Located along the Avenue of Volcanoes in the Ecuador, Cotopaxi Volcano is the most prominent and active volcano lining both sides of the Interandean valley. Since the sixteenth century, there have been at least 50 eruptions here. Before turning into the Amazon basin, deadly lahars swept this valley. Voted as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ecuador and is one of the earliest contributors to tourism in Ecuador.
3. Pailon del Diablo
Also known as the Devil’s Cauldron, Pailon del Diablo is one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. There are thick, lush green forests surrounding this 600 feet high waterfall which makes this area a popular bird-watching destination. These woods feature diverse bird species.
Located in the south west coast of Ecuador, Montanita town and beach is frequented by avid surfers from across the world. This town is close to Santa Elena Peninsula and Guayaquil, one of the biggest cities in Ecuador. It is also close to the international surfing mecca Salinas resort.
5. Nariz del Diablo
The Devil’s Nose or Nariz del Diablo is a train ride offering amazing views. This historic ride in Ecuador’s central highlands starts and ends at Alausi point. The wooden railroad cars of the train feature comfortable cushioned seats and offers beautiful views of the roaring rivers and the lush mountain scenery.
6. La Compania
La Compania is a stunningly beautiful church categorized by UNESCO to be among the famous World Heritage Site Monuments. The interiors of this church features exquisitely sculpted cupola, altars and pulpit carefully illuminated to bring out the intricate details. There are a total of 44 paintings here from Quito’s School of Art.
Founded on the ruins of Inca City in the 16th Century, the capital of Ecuador, Quito is a well preserved city. This city is replete with exquisite examples of Baroque school of Quito which combines Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Moorish and indigenous art.
8. Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market is a popular market located about two hours from Quito. It is frequented by tourists from across the world. This market is South America’s grandest market that offers a vibrant, exciting shopping experience. The streets are lined with vendors and the atmosphere is energetic, fun and uplifting.
Maquipucuna is a cloud forest reserve in Pichincha Province spread over 6,000 hectare. This combination of primary and secondary montane cloud forest and rainforest is located close to Ecuador’s capital Quito. This reserve features a rich diversity of flora and fauna in its four habitat zones.
10. Machalilla National Park
Spread over 55,000 ha, Machalilla National Park in Manabi province is divided into three areas namely the southern and northern sector and the Isla de la Plata “Silver Island”. This park is known for its diverse species. Here you will find over 270 species including those typically found in Andean rainforests such as the Chocó endemic tumbesinas.