Highlights of Ecuador, 2 and 3 weeks itinerary

If you want to discover South America but have only a few weeks in front of you, Ecuador is certainly the destination I will recommend. Andes, coast, amazon rainforest, traditions, colonial history… you can experience in Ecuador most of what South America has to offer, without wasting too much time in transportation (the country is one of the smallest of the continent).

In this article I put together my recommended itineraries for 2 or 3 weeks, both will allow you to discover the country and many of the things it has to offer. You will also get ideas for alternatives and practical information about transportation.

Friendly locals to help you find your way (from Sigchos to Insinlivi)

Friendly locals to help you find your way (from Sigchos to Insinlivi)

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A dream vacation in the Galapagos for $150 a day, all included


The day tour to Bartholome is not cheap, but you will get the best views of the Galapagos

Galapagos: a remote archipelago of the Pacific Ocean, 1000km from Ecuador, home of fearless blue footed boobies, playfull baby sea lions, giant tortoises, funny iguanas and inoffensive sharks. The Galapagos islands are unique. What if you could make the dream come true for $150 a day?

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Snorkelling in Galapagos: because you don´t need to dive to see sharks (or sea turtles)


“Did you say sharks?”

I never thought I would ever swim with sharks. I recently took my diving open water certificate, but I didn´t really feel at my ease, so I started to accept that I will never see sharks and other sea turtles in wildlife. So when the sales guy from the agency talked about seeing sharks during a snorkelling session in Galapagos, I was suspicious. Was it one of his sales trick?

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Picture of the day: tenderness moment on the Galapagos Islands

This is probably our cutest picture from the Galapagos Islands… Can you stay indifferent to this one? We couldn´t.

New born sea lion cuddling with his mum under the sunset at La Loberia, Isla San Cristobal (Galapagos).

New born sea lion cuddling with his mum under the sunset at La Loberia, Isla San Cristobal (Galapagos).

Did you know? During the 10 first days of the life of her pup, the mum sea lion will nurse her new born baby 24/7 and never leave the shore.

Diving in the Galapagos in 2 min

With clear waters and a large variety of marine species, the Galapagos archipelago is considered as one of the best spots in the world to dive.

Adnan went down to 20m below the surface to check what the buzz was all about. Here is what he saw:

Make it happen: diving in the Galapagos

  • Dozens of diving agencies are competing on the Galapagos islands and it might be difficult to make an educated choice. Don´t go too cheap to preserve your security. A day tour with 2 dives cost around $170.
  • Choose your spot wisely (the diving school is the best one to advise you depending on your level). Gordon Rock, is one of the most popular diving spots of Galapagos but you need to be experienced (minimum 30 dives).
  • Be aware that the Galapagos islands are both cursed and blessed with strong currents, making diving over there challenging for beginners. On the flip side, this means that there is plenty of life under there!

Hiking the Quilotoa Loop, one of Ecuador´s best self guided trek

This is a trek that should be on any hiker´s bucket list!

Just 3 hours from Quito, the splendid “Quilotoa Loop” has gained the heart of many travellers. During your time over there (from a day to 2 weeks), you will get close to rural indigenious life and enjoy a variety of landscapes with majestic canyons, lagunas and volcanoes. And, ice on the cake for independant travellers, you can do it 100% self-guided! Get inspired by the pictures and start planning your trek with this article.


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Buying a Tigua painting, a memory from the Quilotoa Loop in vibrant colors

Our hostel room was of course decorated with a beautiful Tigua painting

There is not much to do in Tigua. Many deserted the village over the last decades and the ones remaining are living of agriculture. But Tigua, pitoresque village of the Quilotoa Loop, made it to the international scene thanks to its art.

Today the main attraction of the village is its 3 galleries selling traditionnal “Tigua paintings”.
Indigenous artists express on sheep skin canvas traditionnal stories and daily life of the Quilotoa area. Indigenous cultivating the edges of the volcano, llamas pasturing, condor flying over snow-capped summits, they capture in vibrant colors the atmosphere of Andean rural life.


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Picture of the day: observing vicuñas at the Chimborazo reserve

Observing vicuñas is one of the highlights of a visit at the Reserva de Produccion de Fauna Chimborazo.
Threatened of extinction a couple of decades ago in Ecuador, it’s now thousands of them that live around volcano Chimborazo, thanks to a ambitious program of reintroduction.
The vicuñas are camelids and belong to the family of lamas, but their wool is much thinner. Under the Inca empire, it was actually forbidden to anyone but royal family member to wear clothes made of vicuñas wool.

The vicuñas are quite shy and will not let you approach them closely. At sunset, you will get the best shots opportunity.


Climbing Cotopaxi volcano under the moonlight (5000m)

Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.” W Clement Stone

You don´t have any alpinism experience nor did You ever walk on a glacier before. Still, many agencies in Quito and Latacunga offer to take you to climb Cotopaxi, the second highest peak of Ecuador (5897m/19347feet). Tempting…? Go ahead! Even if you don´t make it to the top, you will experience during a night what it is to be an alpinist, and embrace stunning views of the volcanoes.

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