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Ecuador Bucket List: What Not to Miss in the Country of 4 Worlds

If you’ve read any of my posts before, I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I have a passion for life, travel, and adventure in Ecuador. The country of 4 worlds (Amazon, Andes, Coast, Galapagos) has SO much to offer. If you’re an adventure seeker like me, read ahead for the best bucket list to-dos in Ecuador.

swing over the amazon jungle

You’ll find swings like this along the road, or you can take a jungle tour and get a thrill on a classic Tarzan swing. It’s a MUST when visiting the Amazon!


Jump of a bridge (puenting)

If you’re crazy enough like me, you’ll probably jump off a bridge while you’re in Ecuador. This one was taken at the bridge in Banos de Ambato that is close to the bus terminal.


Hike in Cajas National Park

Cajas National Park is a FABULOUS day trip outside of Cuenca. Explore this park and its hundreds of lakes and mystical geological formations. It’s one of my favorite places in the country, and so grateful that its in my backyard!


Bike/Hike the Cotopaxi Volcano

If you’re planning a trip to Ecuador I am sure you’ve checked out the Cotopaxi Volcano just a couple hours outside of Quito. Bikers rejoice for the downhill experience here! Photo taken from my Hobbit home at the Secret Garden Hostel 🙂


Bike the waterfall route to Pailon de Diablo (and walk down the crazy stairs)

If you’re going to Banos, you really need to do this waterfall bike route! Rent a bike from town for $5 for the day, and continue down the route to pass numerous waterfalls and adventure options. You’ll arrive the the Pailon de Diablo waterfall (1.5 hour hike down and back up) which is absolutely gorgeous! Crawl your way through a small tunnel area to get behind the waterfall!


Camp at the Quilotoa crater lake

Quilotoa is arguably my favorite travel destination in Ecuador. Whether you’re doing the full Quilotoa loop or just spending a day or two you’re mind will be blown by pure beauty. Hike the ridge line (a 5 hour hike) and/or hike down to the bottom to camp, kayak, or go on the swing!


Go to the swing at the edge of the world (Casa de Arbol)

Another classic stop in Ecuador and I’m sure you’ve seen many photos by now, but it really is worth the visit. Now that it’s gotten touristy, avoid weekends and federal holidays when you come! If you’re lucky the Tungaragua Volcano will come out to play!


Take a canoe ride in the jungle

If you take a deep jungle trip, you’ll have to take a canoe ride because there are no roads that can get you there! If you do day trips from the towns of the jungle, such as Puyo, you’ll also get the thrilling yet relaxing experience of coasting down the rivers of the Amazon!


Eat ceviche and patacones for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

My favorite part about going to the coast of Ecuador is the FOOD. Mariscos, mariscos, mariscos (seafood). I would eat ceviche for every meal and of course do not skip the patacones (a version of fried plantains).


Learn to surf (and party) in Montañita

Montañita is a classic hippie/party/surf beach town. It is famous throughout South America, and definitely worth a visit. Whether you’re sport is surfing or partying you’ll definitely enjoy 🙂

Play with butterflies in Mindo

Mindo is an incredible cloud forest town outside of Quito about 1.5 hours. While you’re there go to the butterfly farm where these beauties will latch on to you! See what other adventures lie ahead in Mindo 🙂


Take a yoga class at Izhcayluma in Vilcabamba

If you’re traveling the south of Ecuador you will have to go to Vilcabamba for some r&r. Hosteria Izhcayluma is one of my favorites for its 1:1 bed-hammock ratio and its outdoor yoga shala that overlooks the valley and mountains.


Visit the Chimborazo Volcano (the highest point on the planet when measured from the Earth’s core)

Ecuador has a surprising number of volcanoes (50 volcanoes in a country about the size of Colorado). Chimborazo happens to not only be the tallest in Ecuador, but the highest point on planet Earth when measured from the Earth’s core! Woah baby! Head to the city of Riobamba to enjoy its beauty or take a hike there (note that serious preparation is needed to hike). Or, plan your trip to run the Ruta del Hielero (6k, 15k, 23k, or 42k trail race up the volcano!!).


What other thrill-seekers have you enjoyed in Ecuador? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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