Ecuador has quickly earned its well deserved reputation as one of the world’s top kayaking destinations. Ecuador’s jungle boasts more rivers per square mile than almost anywhere else in the world! In fact, kayakers find their biggest problem is choosing which of the dozens of enticing rivers to run in the time they have available! Rest assured there are a range of options from beginner to expert kayakers – from one day to as many as you like!
Get up close and personal with many forms of wildlife, kayaking or paddle boarding through miles of winding rivers in the Amazon. Sightings include monkeys, snakes, eagles, otters, pink river dolphins, and numerous special of birds, fish and amphibians.
In Ecuador hiking is available all year-long and mountaineering experience is not required. This does not mean that several volcanoes are not a big challenge for professional climbers. 20 volcanoes are located in the north and south of Quito alone. The most well-known of them is the 5897m high Cotopaxi Volcano, which with its surrounding páramo landscape, has been declared a National Park on August 11th, 1975. With its snow-covered summit, Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world.The inactive Chimborazo volcano (6310m) is the highest mountain in Ecuador and distinguishes itself by its unique zone of mountain forest and páramo vegetation. The view you will have from its peak makes it worth climbing. Tungurahua volcano is situated in the Sangay National Park and ascending is considered to be quite demanding, as one starts already at 1800m in the little town of Baños and the climb is temporarily very steep. Today the mountain is off-limits to climbers due to high volcanic activity.
Ecuador offers a large variety of rides, ranging from snow-capped trails to unpaved roads in the Coast and evergreen paths in the cloud forest. The trail Banos-Puyo is also very popular for a more leisurely ride. Lagoons near Otavalo, especially San Pablo and Cuicocha, as well as the Cotopaxi region are frequently visited by tourists as well.
Dwarfed by the striking Andes Mountains that surround you, biking an excellent way to see a cross-section of Ecuador’s ecosystems. You will pedal across the páramo – the Ecuadorian equivalent of the arctic tundra – and down through stunning cloud forest, traversing steep Andean slopes as you descend down into the Amazon basin. The terrain for this leg of the journey is a combination of dirt and paved roads of scenic rolling hills.
Diving and Snorkeling
A truly unique cluster of less than twenty volcanic islands, the Galapagos Islands are an internationally acclaimed dive destination some 900 kilometers/560 miles west of South America. Best known for Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835 aboard the HMS Beagle (where the variety of endemic species captured the geologist’s attention and led to the publication of On the Origin of Species) the Galapagos Islands have become a vital international center for conservation and science.
Located at a major intersection of several ocean currents, these islands are home to a staggering array of marine life, nearly 20 percent of which is found nowhere else on earth. On his travels, Darwin managed to collect fifteen fish species, five of which bears his name.
The coast of Ecuador is a treasure chest of marine life and is considered to be more diverse in nature here than anywhere in the whole world making it a heaven on earth for the deep-sea diver.
Snorkeling is also highly recommended to view the multitudes of beautifully marked and multicolored fish while hovering above, you can see many types of ocean birds awaiting prey.
From beginner to experienced surfers looking for a challenge the beaches of Ecuador have something to offer everyone! Host to many international championships, Montanita is home to a permanent surf culture. This the place for more experienced surfers as the waves can get big and riptides are common. Less experienced surfers still looking for a challenge can find it in Canoa. With perfect beach breaks, sandy bottom and no undertow, the ocean is very forgiving to novices and still enjoyable for more advanced surfers in this quaint surf town.
White Water Rafting
Prefer a more leisure pace? Don’t worry – Ecuador has breathtaking scenery waiting for you! Narrow canyons, colorful bird life, lush jungle and sparkling waterfalls characterize provide a spectacular backdrop along mild rapids.