Ecuador will always occupy a special page in my passport. It’s not only where I studied abroad, but more importantly, it’s where I became infected with the travel bug. It doesn’t take much convincing to see why! While the country may be tiny, it packs plenty of unique activities and attractions. From surfing, to active volcanoes that reach the sky, and even a lush section of the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador will leave you speechless. Once you go, it’ll be your benchmark for all other destinations.
Here are 7 things you must do in Ecuador to truly experience what makes the country is so awesome!
Channel your inner Indiana Jones in Baños
While Baños may be a tiny mountain pueblo of only 14,000 residents, it packs a mean punch of activities for the adventure traveler. Adventure seekers can mountain bike down the side of the mountain and into the rainforest, whitewater raft, mountain climb on volcano, or paraglide. When the adventure is over, relax in one of the namesake hot spring baths. Or, if you’re there during an evacuation due to volcanic activity from Tungurahua, keep a safe distance and watch the eruption.
Dine on the national dish of Ecuador – guinea pig!
When in Rome, right? Cuy, as guinea pig is called locally, is a staple of Ecuadorian cuisine. You can’t say you truly visited the country without eating at least a morsel. I’ll warn you, one bite and you’ll be hooked. I do suggest eating cuy from an established restaurant though and not a street vendor. Tainted guinea pig from a third world “food truck” can knock even the most seasoned traveler out for a few days.
Drink from the fountain of youth in Vilcabamba
Vilcabamba, a tiny town in Southern Ecuador, is said to be home to the oldest people in the world with an average life expectancy of around 100. While I couldn’t exactly find the fountain of youth when I was there, I did enjoy plenty of mountain activities like hiking and horseback riding. I also enjoyed the many spas that dot the resort town.