40+ Bucketlist Ideas for your Ecuador Vacation

Ecuador vacations celebrate nature's splendour, from fiery volcanoes to the inimitable Galapagos. From the Amazon to the islands, via a kaleidoscopic blend of cultures and landscapes, Ecuador is always authentic.

An anchored catamaran sailing boat seen from Punta Pitt on San Cristobal island, Galapagos, Ecuador, South America.

Galapagos Islands Catamaran Charter

River kayaking

Kayak the Amazon

The Northern Rocks, Darwin and Wolf, are considered the best of diving. They can only be reached by an overnight liveaboard from Galapagos main islands. Darwin and Wolf are particularly famous of huge schools of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks, as well as frequent encounters with the biggest fish, Whale Shark.

Galapagos Scuba Diving With Hammerheads

Bursera graveolens, known in Spanish as Palo Santo ("holy wood") is a wild tree from Latin America. It is used for crafting objects and to produce burning sticks and incense.

Andean Shaman Ceremony

Welcome, Hacienda Zuleta

Hacienda Zuleta

Galapagos cruise boat

Galapagos Liveaboard Private Dive Cruise

Brown pelican on shore of Sullivan Bay, Galapagos with expedition ship in the distance

Land and Water Safari on Santiago Island, Galapagos

Galápagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki), a species that exclusively breeds on the Galápagos Islands, on Isla Sante Fe.

Galapagos Wildlife Safari at Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt

Santa Fe Land Iguana (Conolophus pallidus) a species of lizard in the family Iguanidae. It is one of three species in the genus Conolophus and is endemic to Santa Fe Island in the Galapagos.

Kayaking and Land Safari at Santa Fe Island, Galapagos


Plaza Grand Hotel, Quito


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Unique photo of a huge fully grown Galapagos Giant Tortoise in wildlife. Highlands, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Nikon D810. Converted from RAW.

Ecuador & Galapagos Highlights

Sunset at Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro

South America Trip of a Lifetime


Best of the Galapagos Islands

Isolated in the South Pacific, the legendary Galapagos islands are largely harsh and desolate places, volcanoes still redolent with power. People are mostly visitors, for the archipelago is the preserve of rare and unique wildlife. This is where Darwin crafted his theory and many species are endemic to thir specific Galapagos islands. Base yourself on one of three islands with hotels, then take day trips to the different wildlife sites. Or do a cruise through the archipelago, opportunity to explore more of the outlying islands. Expect to get very close - Galapagos wildlife evolved without predators and is not fearful of your presence. Understandably, the Galapagos is the premier highlight of most Ecuador vacations.

Sea lion going to take a look at kayak

Kayak With Sea Lions, Galapagos

The beautiful landscape of Bartolomé Island in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.

Walk the Red Lava Tubes of Bartolome, Galapagos

Underwater Photography of Galápagos, Ecuador

Scuba Diving at Darwin Island by Private Yacht, Galapagos

Blue-Footed Booby doing mating dance

Rare Bird Encounters on Espanola Island, Galapagos

Tarrace Rooms, Pikaia Lodge

Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos

family of Galapagos sea lion, Ecuador (Galapagos sea lion)

Snorkeling Champion Islet, Galapagos

Red Billed Frigget, Genovesa Island

Birdwatching on Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Volcano Chico around Volcano Sierra Negra, of Isabela island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The second largest crater in the world

Hike Sierra Negra and Darwin Crater on Isabela Island, Galapagos

Portrait of a Pelican observing the shore for fish. Great detail on its razor sharp beak. Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Nikon D810. Converted from RAW.

Snorkeling and Birdwatching on Isabela Island, Galapagos


Galapagos Safari Camp

Juvenile Great Frigatebird on North Seymour Island, Galapagos.

Birdwatching on North Seymour Island, Galapagos

A Galapagos Tortoise walking along a path int he highlands of Santa Cruz

Giant Tortoise Spotting on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

Young Green Sea Turtle, Overhead View

Glass-Bottom Boat Around Radiba Island, Galapagos

Names: Marine iguana, Galápagos marine iguana

Reptile Safari on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

A yawning sea lion relaxing on a sandy beach with view on boats used for tours around the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Galapagos Multi-Day Small Boat Cruise


Culture and the Mainland

From surf waves to Amazon jungle, via snow-capped volcanoes and narrow valleys, Ecuador's mainland is a jigsaw of landscapes and cultures. You'll find preserved colonial leftovers like Cuenca, indigenous people who flourished long before the Incas, the very first World Heritage Site and many authentic connections with the region's past. And perhaps the greatest appeal is that an Ecuador vacation can include so much of this, in a short amount of time.

Horse on a mountain ridge in the Peruvian Andes

Andean Mountains Horse Riding

Tren de la Libertad, Chota Valley

Vintage Chota Valley Train Ride

Cuicocha Crater Rim view

Haciendas and Villages of Imbabura Tour

Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande) the main plaza in Quito. Liberty Statue in center, national cathedral in background. Historico Centro, Old Town. Quito is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

Quito Tour With Historian Guide

Traditional textile, blankets kiosks on Otavalo market, which is famous for weaving wool textiles, usually made of wool, like handmade blankets, tablecloths, sleeping nets.

Indigenous Encounters at Otavalo Market

View of the city of Quito and the ecuadorian Andes from the Teleferico touristic attraction, at the top of the Pichincha volcano. Quito, Ecuador.

Hike The Pichincha Volcano in Quito

A young man climbs a ladder up the side of cliff covered with lush green plants and moss at the Mindo Cloud Forest in Ecuador.

Highlights of Mindo Cultural Tour

Purple flowering tibouchina bush in a main square, in front of a church with a bell tower and dome, in Cuenca, Ecuador

History of Cuenca Tour

View of the stairs going down the Santa Ana hill and houses in the neighborhood, and Guayaquil in the background.

Guayaquil and Cacao Cultural Tour

Blue-footed Booby (sula nebouxii) on Isla de la Plata, Ecuador.

Isla de la Plata Wildlife Safari

Limpiopungo Lagoon at the foot of the volcano Cotopaxi, Latacunga, Ecuador, 3,800 meters above sea level

Hike The Cotopaxi Volcano


Amazon Experiences for your Ecuador Vacation

The Ecuadorian Amazon isn't a glimpse at nature, it's an absolute immersion in an exotic realm. A dense green carpet of endemic plants provides the setting for rare wildlife and 50 million years of natural evolution. You can cruise through it by boat, or settle into a divine lodge. Ecuador has the finest lodges in the Amazon, so you can enjoy luxury deep in the wild.

Close up of a squirrel monkey sitting on a gnarly tree. The photo was taken in the late afternoon when the sunlight is emphasizes yellow fur of the monkey.

Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest Cruise

Room with a View, Mashpi Lodge

Stay at Mashpi Lodge

Mat Room, Sacha Lodge

Sacha Lodge, Ecuadorian Amazon


Hamadryade Lodge, Ecuadorian Amazon

Northern caiman lizard taken in Amazonian jungle

Napo Wildlife Centre, Yasuni National Park