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Cotopaxi National Park

Things to do in Ecuador

A pocket-sized version of all that’s synonymous with South America, Ecuador offers an array of rewarding things to do.

Visit Cotopaxi National Park, home to the world’s largest active volcano and a scenic destination for walkers, bikers, climbers and horse riders. Head to Otavalo for one of the most colourful markets in South America where you can browse for textiles, ceramics and paintings, or visit the colonial city of Cuenca with its Panama hat factories. Meanwhile, a trip into the Amazon rainforest offers the chance to experience jungle living at Minga Lodge, a sustainable tourism project that helps improve the lives of the local villagers.

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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Caroline

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Ideas for experiencing Ecuador

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know Ecuador, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • The Old Town of Quito.

    Quito City Tour

    Quito

    Visit downtown Quito to relish in this urban jewel and its treasures of art and architecture. Quito’s colonial quarter, the largest and best preserved of South America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Toucan

    Amazon Excursions

    Daily activities include visits to the butterfly farm, ascending the observation tower, a canopy walk, treks on well marked trails, and canoe rides through the black water creeks.

  • Monkeys, Amazon

    Learn about life in the Amazon with 'ME to WE'

    The Amazon

    A stay at the Minga Lodge offers a unique opportunity to get to grips with what life is really like in the Amazon. Culturally, this is far more in-depth, interactive and rewarding than a regular Amazon visit and allows you to spend time with the local community during your stay.

  • The Chiva Express

    Travel on the Devil's Nose train

    Avenue of Volcanoes

    Considered one of the most impressive feats of rail engineering, the Devil's Nose is a thrilling section of track clinging to the side of a steep face of rock that makes up part of the journey between Riobamba and Cotapaxi.

  • Panama Hat maker, Cuenca

    Gualaceo Countryside Tour

    Cuenca

    The valley of Gualaceo is 22 miles (36 kilometers) from Cuenca, at an elevation of 7,446 feet (2,370 meters) above sea level. The ride starts along the Santa Ana valley and then high in the mountains, through very scenic landscapes, which change at every curb.

  • Cabina, Termas de Papallacta Spa & Resort

    Termas de Papallacta

    Papallacta

    As well as the soothing springs and excellent spa facilities on offer at Papallacta, there are numerous self-guided or naturalist-guided ecological paths in which you can appreciate the local flora and fauna as well as stunning views of the glacial landscape and the extinct volcano Antisana rising 5,704m above sea level.

  • El Cajas National Park

    El Cajas National Park

    Cuenca

    The El Cajas National Park is 28 000 hectare area of some 230 lakes and quinua forest starting at 3000 metres (10 000 feet) that is home to a variety of wildlife including the Andean Gull, black frogs, humming birds and condors as well as a variety of indigenous plants including many rare bromeliads and orchids.

  • Toucan

    Jungle Excursions

    There are jungle treks where experienced and knowledgeable guides will answer your questions and identify wildlife, piranha fishing excursions in the blackwater creek and stargazing in the evening.

  • Otavalen girl

    Otavalo Market

    Otavalo

    The market features a dazzling array of crafts, textiles and jewellery, all of which are of high quality and good value.

  • Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Cuenca

    Cuenca Scenic Tour

    Cuenca

    Have a comprehensive but leisurely tour of the colonial city of Cuenca. The tour includes the Plaza of San Sebastian, a colourful artisans market, and the Museum of Modern Art, which featuring an excellent collection of contemporary fine art.

  • Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

    Cotopaxi National Park

    Quito

    Travel south out of Quito to an area dubbed by the 19th century German explorer Von Humbolt as the "Avenue of the Volcanoes". Cotopaxi National Park is at the heart of this area and is deservedly Ecuador's most-visited mainland national park.