I traveled Ecuador for 6 weeks so here are the best places to visit in Ecuador apart from Galapagos!
Short on time? Here is a quick summary of the best places to visit in Ecuador:
- Montanita (Olon)
- If you are looking for a cheap alternative to Galapagos - Isla de la Plata!
The capital - Quito
You can't travel to a country and not visit the capital. Quito holds a lot of history and culture worth exploring. Quito is also a great exit point as it offers several bus stations with various routes to most of the places you should see and visit in Ecuador. There is so much to do and see in Quito, so make sure to check out my Quito Travel Guide!
If there is one thing you need to do when visiting South America in general it is to visit Amazon! Ecuador has some great reserves that keep the local Amazon areas protected but at the same time lets us visitors experience the Amazon magic. Very grateful for this trip, truly a unique travel experience! I did a 4 day trip to Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.
The most fun place - Banos
If you are an adrenalin junkie or just love fun and extreme activities while traveling then Banos is definitely a place for you! This place offers activities like rafting and canyoning and also, crazy swings that sway over the city! For a truly fun time, you have to visit Banos!
For any city lover, Cuenca is the place! So many amazing architectural examples are there and also a lot of history and interesting historical events took place there. A great place where to try some natural hot springs and try some of the best local dishes.
I plan and book my buses between cities via Bookaway!
Montanita (and Olon)
For anyone looking for some beach time in Ecuador, you have a few great options! The most popular one would be Montanita, which is a favorite among tourists and locals due to its bubbly nightlife, but also the great beach! If you are more like me and looking for a chill surfing spot then Olon will be the perfect place for you. Just 20 minute ride away from Montanita, so you can enjoy the best of both! Waves are great for beginners and professionals. Another spot that I truly enjoyed was a cute beach town - Puerto Lopez from where you can do a trip to Isla de la Plata! In more detail about each place, you can read here: The Coast of Ecuador!
Cheap alternative to Galapagos - Isla de la Plata
If you are on a budget but still would like to catch a glimpse of the Galapagos then an ideal alternative is Isla de la Plata. On this island live some of the very special animal species that you can only meet in the Galapagos. There is no civilization on the island and usually, a day trip is enough. Cost only $40.00 per person for the whole day - lunch included! More about it in the video above.