A Week In Ecuador and The Best Travel Itinerary

by on 28th June, 2019


Ecuador’s compact size and excellent infrastructure means you can pack in many sights and experiences in a week’s holiday, from the Amazon to Galapagos and snow-capped mountains.

Our travel expert’s travel guide includes top tips and four outline itineraries to help you plan a fantastic trip of spectacular variety.


Hiking Cuicocha Ecuador

Tom in Ecuador


Introduction to the highlights

Ecuador has four distinct zones to visit – and you can mix and match them to your interest.

Most famous is Ecuador’s Valley of the Volcanoes, from the beautiful, snow-capped cone of Cotopaxi, the emerald waters of Quilotoa and the enormous Chimborazo, in areas of outstanding views and landscapes.


Quilotoa Ecuador



Among these zones exist a rich variety of cultures to experience, with colourful markets at Otavalo or Pujili, Inca ruins of Ingapirca and the dramatic Devil’s Nose train ride. Don’t forget colonial Cuenca or lush Baños, replete with cayons and waterfalls.

The Amazon and cloud forest are teeming with wildlife, with quality eco-lodges run by indigenous communities to protect these verdant areas; jaguar, monkeys, birds and more awaits.


Kapawi hammock amazon Ecuador

Enjoying the Amazon


Of course, you cannot mention Ecuador without thinking of the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands, with its pristine environment, tame and spectacular wildlife on land and in sea, plus amazing cruises and hotels.


evening sea lions Galapagos

Sea lions in the Galapagos


The Pacific Coast offers gorgeous Pacific beaches, excellent for surfing, whale watching or just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, married with excellent seafood and a relaxed vibe.



Whale watching


Get busy

In all these areas you may find yourself biking, rafting or zip-lining among areas of incredible beauty, or perhaps hiking through rugged terrains or simply enjoying a coffee or an ice cream in a plaza.

Ecuador has it all, and it’s waiting for you to explore.

Below are some example itineraries to get you started – note that public buses in Ecuador do not always stick to schedules and so you may need to consider a guided tour to make the logistics fit in.


Mainland highlights

Day 1     Quito City Tour and Equator Monument

Day 2     Indigenous Market Pujili – Quilotoa Crater Lake Hike

Day 3     Cotapaxi National Park – Rose Plantation visit

Day 4     Cloud forest – Devils Cauldron waterfall – Chimborazo volcano visit

Day 5     Devil Nose Train ride – Ingapirca – Cuenca

Day 6     Cuenca City Tour – Panama hats

Day 7     Cajas National park – Guayaquil

Day 8     Ends

NOTES: The ‘see-it-all’ from Quito and then down the Valley of the Volcanoes, taking in as much as possible and ending on th coast. We offer this as part of our Ecuador Highlights package.




Mountains and Galapagos

Day 1     Quito City Tour and Equator Monument

Day 2     Indigenous Market Pujili – Quilotoa Crater Lake Hike

Day 3     Cotapaxi National Park – airport hotel

Day 4     Fly to Baltra (Galapagos), visit the Highlands and Charles Darwin Research Centre, hotel

Day 5     Bay tour, ferry to Isabela hotel

Day 6     Sierra Negra hike, afternoon Tintoreras

Day 7     Tuneles of Cabo Rosa, Wall of Tears and Breeding Centre

Day 8     Ferry to Santa Cruz and fly back to Ecuador

NOTES: All volcano, but a greater contrast you will not find – snow-capped vs those surrounded by sun, sea and amazing wildlife.

After seeing the highlands of mainland Ecuador, fly to Galapagos and explore TWO islands (can be kept to one), including the magnificent Isabela.

The hotel-based trip can easily be replaced by a 5-day cruise , too.

Bikers biking to Cotopaxi, Ecuador



Amazon and the Mountains

Day 1     Transfer from Quito to visit equator line, Cusin to Peguche walk, hacienda

Day 2     Cuicocha crater lake walk, Cotacachi & Otavalo market, hacienda

Day 3     Papallacta lakes walk, Papallacta hot springs, lodge

Day 4     Cotopaxi National Park – Limpiopunga walk – airport hotel

Day 5     Fly to Amazon, 4-day lodge-based trip

Days 6-7 Explore Amazon, hikes, canoe trips

Day 8     Fly back to Quito early morning.

NOTES: I’ve included the north of Ecuador here with its beautiful volcanoes, lakes and markets, plus a soak in some volcanic hot waters. This can easily be interchanged with the Cotopaxi itinerary.

Amazon , which can be seen in 3 days, can easily be swapped for the lush cloud forest, such as Santa Lucia , which is better for those who wish to hike more.

Sani Amazon Lodge Ecuador

Sani Lodge


Wildlife to the max

Day 1     Fly to Amazon, 4-day lodge-based trip

Days 2-3 Explore Amazon, hikes, canoe trips

Day 4     Fly back to Quito early morning, PM city tour

Day 5     Fly to Baltra (Galapagos), visit the Highlands and Charles Darwin Research Centre, hotel

Day 6     Day trip to Bartolome, hotel

Day 7     Day trip to Santa Fe, hotel

Day 8     Fly back to Ecaudor

NOTES: Starting in the Amazon where the wildlife is a little shy – this can also be a 3-day trip OR cloud forest, too.

Then finish off with the wildlife-fest that is Galapagos – again you can change this for a short cruise or perhaps head to San Cristobal and stay in hotels there.

Santa Cruz tortoise Charles Darwin Centre

Giant Tortoise


Holiday planning

For all of the above ideas, contact us  for more and start planning that perfect Ecuador trip. As you can see – the possibilities are wonderful and endless!


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