My top five highlights of Ecuador

  1. Get your adrenaline rush in Banos- this famous town close to the active volcano of Tungurahua attracts backpackers and tourists in their droves. The highlights aren’t the town itself, but the many attractions nearby. One of my favourite days was when I hired a bike and set off exploring the local area- by waterfalls, through valleys and passing friendly locals. A must do is to go up the ‘swing at the end of the world’. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as exciting as it looks on the photos- as the drop below the swing simply isn’t particularly steep.. but on a clear day you get a view of the Tungurahua volcano. And let’s be honest it makes for a great photo!!

As there is a river running through the valley, there are many activities you can do here from canyoning to white water rafting. I can highly recommend the white water rafting if you’re into adrenaline activities! It was so much fun, and I did feel like I was going to be thrown out on a number of occasions!! These activities are so much cheaper than they would be in other places, but you will eat up money quickly as there is so much to do here!! It is all worth it though. I recommend staying a minimum of four nights here.

2. Amazon Basin – If you come to Ecuador and haven’t yet visited the Amazon Basin then Ecuador is a convenient place to do so, offering cheap access to those on a low budget – your typical backpacker. We booked a three night trip from Banos. We visited a tribe, did a night walk, walked to waterfalls, slept in shelters surrounded by bird and insect noises and my personal favourite was when our guide showed us a tyre which was attached to a long rope on one of the huge emergent trees overlooking the valley. I sat on it and was pushed out over the valley- over the canopy of the rainforest below. It was an incredible moment- the view, the feeling of freedom, the feeling of being released and the risk that if the branch or rope snapped I would plummet into the rainforest below.

During a walk I even spotted my first real life tarantula in the wild!! Read my Bolivia experience for a different aspect of the Amazon basin.

3. Stand on the Equator! if you make it to Quito Ecuador’s capital city then I recommend taking a bus out to their Mitad del Mundo and the Intiñan Solar Museum – the site which lies on the Equator. You can have a wander round, and some people will do various demonstrations with water and so on.  Tip- take your passport to get a cool Equator stamp in!!

4. Vilcabamba – here you will find a small chilled out, hippie village in a valley surrounded by greenery and mountains. A huge mountain looms over it which is said to protect the town from Earthquakes. Getting the bus here from Mancora, Peru was like driving through a scene from Jurassic Park. It seemed very other worldy with stunning, dramatic scenery surrounding me.

We stayed in an amazing hostel which attracted some erm interesting characters to say the least!! The hostel dorms were huts surrounded by greenery. Vilcabamba is a nice place to hang out, recuperate, go on walks, eat healthily- you will find cafes serving smoothies and cleansing juices etc.

5. The Galapgaos islands – I don’t like to have regrets and for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing about my travels. However, given a little more time and money and one place I would have added to my itinerary would be the beautiful natural wonder of the Galapagos islands. Being a nature lover, they  fascinate me for so many reasons. My tip is to go and don’t regret missing it out as I did….

Nomadic Matt’s experiences in the Galapagos

A budget guide to the Galapagos

A guide on doing Galapagos on the cheap




About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.


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