12 Ecuador Tourist Attractions you must visit

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Ecuador is located in the northwestern region of South America, boasting many tourist attractions waiting for you to explore. Its four main geographic areas—the Coast, Highlands, Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands—offer unique landscapes and experiences for passionate adventurers who wish to discover new places. So, ready to visit Ecuador? Then prepare to immerse yourself in vibrant indigenous culture and enjoy breathtaking places  featuring volcanoes, historic centers, rainforests, and extraordinary wildlife.

The best part? Ecuadorians will welcome you with open arms, eager to share their delicious cuisine, lively music, rich traditions, and intricate handicrafts. If you’re  looking for a destination that is safe, diverse, and full of magic, Ecuador has it all and more. We invite you to discover the hidden treasures of this beautiful country, and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

Casa Gangotena Ecuador tourist atattraction
Casa Gangotena Ecuador tourist atattraction

Magical Places to Visit in Ecuador

Middle of the World City

Ecuador, as the name might imply, is famous for residing directly over the equatorial line—an imaginary line that divides our Earth’s northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. As a result, the country has a site known as the “Middle of the World,” which has a monument that symbolically marks this point of division between the two hemispheres.

Located about 16 miles (26 kilometers) north of the capital of Quito, the Middle of the World Monument is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from around the world throughout the whole year. In addition to the main monument, the site features museums, cultural exhibits, and interactive activities that explore topics related to Ecuador’s geography, astronomy, and indigenous cultures. Be sure to put it on your list of tourist attractions for your next trip to Ecuador!

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) off the coast of Ecuador, are a world-renowned tourist destination. This volcanic archipelago is famous for its unique biodiversity and crucial role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Visitors to the Galapagos have the unique opportunity to explore spectacular scenery, such as white sand beaches, rugged cliffs, mangroves, and even active volcanoes. Popular activities include scuba diving and snorkeling to observe the incredible marine life, birdwatching throughout the archipelago’s distinct habitats, and hiking across amazing landscapes.

Perhaps the biggest allure, however, is the fact that you will also be able to experience a great variety of wildlife—such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, giant tortoises, frigate birds, and many other species—up close. The most fascinating thing is that, due to their having evolved in an isolated environment, these animals are completely docile in the presence of humans.

Ecuador Tourist Attraction: Galapagos Islands
Ecuador Tourist Attraction: Galapagos Islands

Otavalo Market

The Otavalo Market is considered one of the largest and liveliest in Latin America. It’s located in the town of Otavalo in the province of Imbabura, just 2 hours north of Quito.

The region’s indigenous artisans, mainly from the Kichwa ethnic group, exhibit a wide variety of handmade products, ranging from wool and cotton weavings to ceramics, jewelry, musical instruments, tapestries, toquilla straw hats (known as Panama hats), and more. The quality and authenticity of Otavalo’s handicrafts are internationally recognized, and many visitors take the opportunity to buy unique souvenirs and gifts here. It’s a colorful and traditional handicraft market that you should visit on your next trip.

Cotopaxi National Park

Nestled in the Andes Mountains about 31 miles (50 km) south of Quito, spans roughly 82,520 acres (33,393 hectares). Its highlight is the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the most active in the world, reaching a height of 19,347 feet (5,897 meters).

The park offers a variety of well-maintained trails for hiking and mountain biking, leading adventurers through moors and lagoons, reminiscent of the breathtaking landscapes around the Quilotoa Loop and its crater lake. It’s an essential visit for those eager to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the Ecuadorian Andes.

Cotopaxi Volcano at sunset, reflecting on a calm lake during the Gangotena Boutique Hotel Quito adventure tour.
Cotopaxi Volcano


Cuenca, sometimes referred to as the “Athens of Ecuador,” is a charming and picturesque city in the southern Andean region. Renowned for its impressive colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and rich cultural history, it’s one of the most popular destinations because its people are hospitable to tourists—you will feel absolutely at home here and become a part of this beautiful city.

In addition to its architectural heritage, it’s known for its vibrant cultural and artistic scene. The city has numerous art galleries, museums, and craft workshops where you can explore local creativity and talent. It’s a charming city you should be sure to visit on your trip to Ecuador.

Cloud Forests

Another fantastic and general feature of Ecuador to check out are the Cloud Forests, which serve as an exceptional natural destination for nature lovers. Cloud forests in Ecuador are primarily located in the northwestern region of the country, in the province of Pichincha. The region of cloud forests is home to one of the world’s most exuberant and biodiverse rainforests as well, where you can find animals and diverse plant species you will not see elsewhere.

If you want to enjoy Ecuador’s cloud forests, you should definitely consider visiting the Mashpi Cloud and Rainforest, where you will have the opportunity to explore this diverse ecosystem in the company of expert naturalist guides and a stunning accommodation option.

Mashpi Lodge Cloud Forest Ecuador
Mashpi Lodge Cloud Forest Ecuador

The Avenue of the Volcanoes

The Avenue of the Volcanoes is an impressive mountain range in Ecuador that runs along the central part of the country. This avenue gets its name due to the many volcanoes that line it. Among the most prominent volcanoes in this chain are Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Tungurahua, and Cayambe, among others.


Ingapirca is Ecuador’s most important archaeological site and one of the country’s most significant Inca civilizations. It’s located in the province of Cañar, in the southern Andean region of Ecuador, not far from the city of Cuenca. “Ingapirca” comes from the Quechua language and means ”Inca Walls.”

The main attraction of Ingapirca is its architectural complex, where you can observe a solar temple, astronomical observatory, ceremonial plazas, and houses. In this sacred place, you can connect with the ancestral traditions of the native peoples who inhabited these lands.


Loja, a hidden gem in southern Ecuador, is where lush nature meets rich history and vibrant culture. Here, you can be captivated by the colonial architecture that blends with modernity, creating a unique atmosphere. Explore the Cathedral of Loja, with its imposing presence in the city’s heart, or stroll through the tranquil Central Park, where you can relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Half an hour from the city, we invite you to discover the magical town of “Vilcabamba,” known for its spring-like climate and reputation as the “Valley of Longevity.” Here, you will enjoy scenic hikes, relax in rejuvenating hot springs, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks.

El Cajas National Park

El Cajas National Park is a natural jewel located in the province of Azuay in southern Ecuador. Imagine a place where mountain peaks rise above crystal-clear lagoons and vegetation-covered moorlands, a paradise of biodiversity and unique beauty.

The park is also a paradise for trekking and hiking enthusiasts, with a network of trails that take you through ever-changing landscapes and breathtaking panoramic views that you won’t want to miss out on, especially at sunrise and sunset.

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Cajas National Park, Cuenca, province of Azuay, highlands of Ecuador.

Papallacta Hot Springs

Let us introduce you to the impressive Papallacta Hot Springs, an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation located in Ecuador, approximately east of Quito, in the province of Napo. The Papallacta thermal complex has a variety of thermal pools, each with different temperatures and therapeutic properties. Here, you will find everything from hot waters that relax the muscles to cold pools that stimulate circulation.  If you’re looking for absolute peace and contemplation,  there is something for just about everyone’s tastes and needs here.

If you’re looking for absolute peace and contemplation, there is something for just about everyone’s tastes and needs at Papallacta, which is the perfect destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature and yourself.

Quito’s Historic Center

The Historic Center of Quito, the cultural, historical, and architectural heart of the capital of Ecuador, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, showcasing an impressive collection of colonial buildings and baroque architecture. Among these architectural marvels is the Church of the Society of Jesus (La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), known for its stunning baroque interior and gold leaf decoration, standing as a testament to the rich religious and cultural heritage that the Compañía de Jesús has contributed to the city.

In this vibrant area, markets burst with colors and aromas, main squares echo with children’s laughter, and the air in cafes is thick with the scent of freshly roasted coffee. These sensory experiences greet locals and visitors alike, engaging them in the daily life of Quito. A visit to the Historic Center is not just a journey through the architectural and historical landmarks but also an immersion into the lively essence of Quito, where the legacy of the Compañía de Jesús continues to influence the city’s cultural fabric.

The Virgen of Panecillo statue in Quito, Ecuador
The Virgen of Panecillo statue in Quito, Ecuador

An Unforgettable Journey Awaits in Ecuador

We invite you to embark on an extraordinary journey through Ecuador’s most captivating destinations. As an enchanting tourist paradise, this country offers unforgettable experiences tailored to every taste and preference. From the beautiful Galapagos Islands to the magical mountains and volcanoes of the Andean Sierra, this country has something special for just about every explorer, and there is so much to discover in this beautiful country.

Book your Ecuadorian getaway today for an unforgettable journey through paradise! Escape to the Extraordinary: the Magic of Ecuador is ready to inspire you!

Travelers exploring the unique landscape near Finch Bay, showcasing the luxury experiences offered by the Gangotena Boutique Hotel network in the golden triangle.
Our Premier Ecuador Experience: The Golden Triangle
A Complete Experience that brings you the very best of Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands. With a stint in the Heart of Quito, The Mashpi Reserve, and a stay at The Galapagos Islands most lauded Hotel, Finch Bay.


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