Ecuador

Summary
Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4+ adventure travel stars

White water rafting in Ecuador

White water rafting in Ecuador

Ecuadoreans will tell you that their country is really four distinct destinations: the Amazon basin, the Galápagos Islands, the high Andean sierra, and the Pacific coast. Each area is filled with plenty to see and do, so get ready for an adventure travel experience of a lifetime.

Adventure lovers will have everything they could hope to find from adrenaline-filled bungee jumping, scuba diving, white water rafting and paragliding to the more cerebral endeavors as you take cultural tours like in the historical and enchanting capital of Quito. There is something here for everyone.

No Ecuador adventure would be complete without a tour of the Galapagos Islands, which are about 600 miles off the coast. These 18 small islands make up one of the prime wildlife watching areas in the world.

For more on the Galapagos Islands you can go to a page dedicated to the amazing adventure experiences there.

You have to be careful when traveling in Ecuador due to crime being on the rise as the economy worsens. And if you have any plans to go near the Columbian border, you might want to change them because that part of the country has been well known for kidnappings.

The bottom line: You may have a hard time deciding exactly where you want to go and what you want to do in Ecuador, but don’t let that slow you down. You simply can’t go wrong with this adventure travel jewel.

Exotic Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4 adventure travel stars

Ecuador has an intriguing allure for those in pursuit of unique experiences. From the Andes to the Galapagos Islands, you can see and do more in this small coastal country than you can in countries 10 times it’s size.

The Quichua people in the central Sierra region are well known for their exotic traditional paintings on sheepskin canvases and their decorative masks. The extraordinary orchids, unusual birds (more than 1,600 species) and the mysterious jungles will keep you in a state of wonder and amazement.

Because Ecuador is such a small country filled to overflowing with incredible adventure travel experiences, you can be watching exotic wildlife in a lush green jungle one day, whitewater rafting the next and then scouring the indigenous highland markets the following day. And that’s just the beginning.

Cultural Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ – 4 adventure travel stars

There are many carnivals and festivals in Ecuador that are very popular and highly anticipated by the people. These fun-filled events usually feature traditional games, and in some parts they celebrate mask carnivals. Many of these celebrations don’t have official customs, but all of them are related to a mixture of Amerindian and Catholic beliefs.

The Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, and most regions follow the traditional three-course meal, which begins with a soup, then a rice and meat dish followed by the dessert and coffee.

Seafood is very popular on the coast where you’ll find an abundance fresh prawns, shrimp and lobster. If you love seafood, the coastal regions of Ecuador are where you’ll want to be. You’ll also want to try the plantain (a type of banana) and the variety of peanut-based dishes.

Music is very important in Ecuador, and you’ll notice differences between the coastal areas and the highland regions. The instruments of choice include pan pipes, flutes of bamboo, violins, drums and charangos.

Typically, there are two types of music: the rhythm-filled beats played in most public places and the slow, very sad pasillos and rocolas, which are exclusive to old bars.

Most Ecuadorians (95%) are Roman Catholic and about 4% are Protestants. Roman Catholicism plays a huge role in of the Ecuadorian culture. In fact, most of the festivals and annual parades are based on the religious celebrations and many incorporate a mixture of rites and icons.

Adventure Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 adventure travel stars

There is an awful lot to do for those seeking adventure travel in Ecuador. Especially when it comes to wildlife viewing. There may be no better place on earth to get up-close viewing opportunities than in the Galapagos Islands.

You’ll also discover a unique indigenous culture, UNESCO world heritage sites, incredible jungle experiences, bicycling excursions, surfing, hiking the Andes, shopping the indigenous markets and so much more.

Following is a more complete list of Ecuador adventure travel experiences waiting for you to enjoy.

Hard

  • Bungee jumping
  • Canoeing
  • Four wheel drive trips
  • Hang gliding
  • Hunting
  • Ice climbing
  • Jungle exploring
  • Motorcycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Orienteering
  • Overlanding
  • Paragliding
  • Rappelling
  • Rock climbing
  • Scuba diving
  • Sea kayaking
  • Skydiving
  • Snorkeling
  • Snow skiing
  • Soaring (gliding)
  • Spelunking (caving)
  • Surfing
  • Survival training
  • White water rafting
  • Wilderness training

Soft

  • Bird watching
  • Cultural tours
  • Nature trips
  • Walking tours
  • Walking tours

Could be either

  • Backpacking
  • Bicycling
  • Camping
  • Canopy tours / Ziplines
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Quad-biking / ATVs
  • Safaris
  • Sailing
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife watching

 

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