Plan Your Perfect Ecuador Trip

Explore our pages. Connect with locals. Plan your trip. Easy.

UNDERSTAND ALL THAT ECUADOR HAS TO OFFER

Ecuador is made of four key geographic regions.  Three of those regions run north to south on the mainland: the Amazon, the Andes, and the Pacific Coast. Add the Galapagos Islands for number four! Each region has beautiful places to visit, neat people to meet, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to learn. 

PLANNING YOUR VACATION IS PART OF THE FUN!

sparkling violetear hummingbird, ecuador

Explore

Our writers have unique insights into the people and places they write about. Many have not only visited Ecuador but have made it their home.

folk dancers, cochasqui, ecuador

Connect

Local guides and business owners are invited to answer your questions in the forum. We help translate, both language and culture, when need be!

cayambe, as seen from quito, ecuador

Travel

We recommend agencies to book entire trips, help you design your own itinerary, or anywhere in between. At the end of the day, how much we help is your choice.

Festivals Are More Fun With A Local Guide

Holy Thursday in Quito

Maundy Thursday, often called Holy Thursday, is a busy day in Quito. It is a half-holiday and most Quiteños spend the afternoon visiting churches that dot the historic center. While it is a time for reflection and prayer, it is also an opportunity to meet family and...

Celebrating Palm Sunday in Quito

A week before Easter Sunday, Catholics around the world celebrate Palm Sunday. In Quito, Ecuador, Domingo de Ramos is a more festive day than Easter Sunday itself. The line-up of activities changes each year but in our experience the folklore group Jacchigua always...

What to Expect at the Cacería del Zorro

The day of the annual Cacería del Zorro horse race is guaranteed to be action-packed from morning until night. The excitement begins with a parade down city streets, continues on to the race track at Yahuarcocha, a high altitude lake nestled into the base of the...

Everything You Need To Know About Mama Negra

So you want to visit Latacunga to see the Mama Negra parade? But you can't find any information. You've come to the right place. Last year, we attended the November festivities with local friends and learned a ton about the do's and don't of the day. Read on to learn...

Intiraymi in Cotacachi: Dancing For A Good Harvest

A couple of years ago, I took friends to stay in the small town of Cotacachi for Inti Raymi. Our plans were simple, to enjoy the local festival as best as possible. Of course, as is pretty typical in Ecuador, I could find very little information about which days would...

Celebrating Easter in Quito, Ecuador

In Quito, Ecuador, the week preceding Easter Sunday is full of events that warrant explanation. In fact, if you are coming to Quito to experience Easter, it's important to know that Easter Sunday is the least celebrated day of this event-packed week. Read on for a...

Traditional Foods Taste Better When You Eat With Locals

The Most Authentic Peruvian Food in Cusco

A few years back, my family and I stayed a couple of nights in Cusco, Peru. We ate a lot of authentic meals before, during, and after our adventure on the Inca Trail. But years later, only two stand out. One was a meal we ate standing on the street outside of our...

How To Roast Guinea Pig a la Ecuador

Let me warn you. This post is not for the faint of heart. In the mountainous regions of Ecuador people love to eat roast cuy (rhymes with gooey). A cuy is a guinea pig raised for meat. Ecuadorians raise them in small pens, caring for them until they're large enough to...

Green Plantain Dumplings, AKA Bolón de Verde

One of the things I love about Ecuadorian chefs is that most seem willing to share their recipes. That's how I came to make Bolón de Verde - literally translated as balls of green but more appropriately called green plantain dumplings. Our First Bolón de Verde A young...

Connor’s Favorite Coleslaw

How did we discover Connor's Favorite Coleslaw? By trying to compensate for the lack of really great mayonnaise in Ecuador. Even the olive oil we purchase doesn't always guarantee a good-tasting mayo. All I can imagine is that many of the imported bottles turn rancid...

Make Your Own Sauerkraut

    Sauerkraut isn't exactly an Ecuadorian staple. That's one of the great things about living overseas; it pushes me to make the foods I love but can't easily buy. A couple of years ago, I had tried to make sauerkraut at home and the attempt resulted in a...

The Floresta Farmer’s Market

On the short cobblestone street of Galavis, the Floresta Farmer's Market takes place every Friday morning. From my hotel window, I can see the vendors setting up bright and early in the morning. I've heard they are around until mid-afternoon but I would recommend...

Learn The History You Never Learned In School

A Guided Tour of Cusco

It's not often that we end up on a scheduled group tour. Especially not one that hits all the major sites in a single afternoon. However, that's how we ended up seeing most of Cusco, in a slap-dash tour that took us to major sites inside and out of the city itself....

La Florida Archealogy Site: Dig Into Ancient Quito

A couple of weekends ago, we headed out on a mission to explore La Florida Archeology Museum. This pre-Columbian burial ground sits in the middle of an average Quiteño neighborhood. On our way up the hillside to see this little treasure, we passed lines of laundry...

The Virgin of Quito

Shortly before moving into our new home in Quito, we made our first visit to the Virgin of Quito. We could see her statue from our hotel window. The angel-like, silver edifice stands atop a dome-shaped hill called El Panecillo.  History of the Panecillo Before the...

An Extraordinary Archeology Museum in Quito

La Casa del Alabado is a privately owned museum in an old Spanish-colonial residence located very near the Quito's historic San Francisco Plaza. And when I say old, I don't mean a hundred years or so. I mean truly antique. The house was built in 1671. The building...

Cuenca’s Aboriginal Cultures Museum

As you may have noticed from our blog, we really like to explore the ancient cultures and traditions of South America. We’re also suckers for a good museum. In Cuenca, we hit the jackpot! Incredibly, there are days-worth of great opportunities to see ruins and explore...

The First Cry of Freedom: A Story of Ecuadorian Independence

On August 10, 1809, a group of Criollo citizens of the Audencia Real de Quito, announced the local rebellion to overthrow Spanish-colonial rule. In Ecuador, the day is known as El Primer Grito de La Independencia or the First Cry for Independence. Led by Juan Pío...

Hike Like A Local

The Mysterious Puruhanta – A High Altitude Lake in Imbabura

For seasoned Ecuadorian travelers, the northern province of Imbabura evokes beautiful images of green mountains, steep valleys, and steel blue lakes. In fact, this province is known as the lakes region. Lakes such as Lago San Pablo, Laguna Cuicocha and Lago...

The Best Birding Around Papallacta, Ecuador

Most people make the day trip from Quito to Papallacta to enjoy the hot springs alone. Then there are those of us who go for the birds! With that in mind, here are a few locations in and around Papallacta, Ecuador that make for great birdwatching! Birdwatching The...

Hiking to the Glacier at Cotopaxi National Park

If you find yourself at Cotopaxi National Park on a sunny day, you may just want to take the opportunity to hike up to the Cotopaxi glacier, especially if you've already taken the time to hike to the Refugio! The views are spectacular, both towards the icy mountain...

Hiking Cayambe Coca National Park Near Papallacta

I wanted to write about Cayambe-Coca National Park. However, the truth is that I can't do it justice. With several access points and no safe way to transverse its grand 3,700 square kilometers (1,430 square miles), it's a park that begs to be treated like multiple...

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump from Quito – Yanacocha Reserve

The Yanacocha Reserve protects a small slice of high altitude cloud forest about an hour outside of Quito. On a sunny day, it's a great place to hike for unimpeded views of Guagua Pinchincha, the volcano that last erupted in 1999. The vista towards the coast is...

Hiking Rucu Pichincha

Hiking the Rucu Pichincha Volcano is a glorious way to explore the Andean wilderness only a short distance outside of Quito. In fact, if you've read my earlier post about riding the Teleferico, you already know that this activity is one of the most popular in the city...

Find Orchids Around Every Corner

The Best of Buenaventura

The Buenaventura Reserve provides easy access to explore the flora and fauna of Southern Ecuador. However, a visit to this widespread reserve requires a little planning as many of the great things to do lie a few kilometers from the main lodge. Once you arrive, there...

The Loja Botanical Garden

I never expected to find a botanical garden in Loja, Ecuador. But this university town in Southern Ecuador is full of surprises. My high school aged son and I spent a pleasant morning walking the shaded trails and enjoying the manicured gardens. Highlights included...

The Best Places to See Orchids in Ecuador

Ecuador is home to over 4,000 species of orchids. These specatuclar blooming epiphytes grow in high altitude cloud forests of the Andean Sierra and the equatorial jungles of the Amazon Basin. There are so many orchids that the only comprehensive identification guide...

El Pahuma: A Wild Orchid Reserve Near Quito

The 2.5 hour drive from Quito to Mindo, Ecuador follows a long and windy road with very few places to pull off and stop. However, one small pullout provides more than a bathroom break. El Pahuma is an orchid reserve near Quito. It is home to gushing cascades of water,...

The Orchids of Cabañas San Isidro

rchids can be tough to see in the wild, even near wildlife lodges like the Cabañas San Isidro. Large orchids love to grow high in the tree canopy, beyond the reach of even a pair of good binoculars. And some of the orchids that grow at eye...

Local Guides Know Where To Find The Best Birds

Giant Catfish in the Amazon

The catfish is an example of mother nature’s generosity. Take, for example, the story of Robert Granja. On April 11 of this year, Robert, his brother Kevin and two other friends went fishing as they would normally do. However, instead of going fishing for fun, they...

The Best Birding Around Papallacta, Ecuador

Most people make the day trip from Quito to Papallacta to enjoy the hot springs alone. Then there are those of us who go for the birds! With that in mind, here are a few locations in and around Papallacta, Ecuador that make for great birdwatching! Birdwatching The...

Alambi – A Hummingbird Paradise

Most people drive right by the Alambi Reserve never realizing that they are missing one of the best hummingbird gardens near Quito. The small property provides an oasis from the big city. It is a spot where you can spend a few minutes or stay for an hour or more....

Hiking Cayambe Coca National Park Near Papallacta

I wanted to write about Cayambe-Coca National Park. However, the truth is that I can't do it justice. With several access points and no safe way to transverse its grand 3,700 square kilometers (1,430 square miles), it's a park that begs to be treated like multiple...

A Beautiful Beach in Manabi, Ecuador

Unfortunately, Chirije Lodge is closed for business. While it is not possible to stay the night at Chirije, day trips to the locations are still an option with a local guide. Therefore, we're leaving this article for future visitors. The following article was...

Hiking at Chirije Lodge

Unfortunately, Chirije Lodge is closed for business. Hiking Chirije is still possible. Therefore, we're leaving this article for future visitors. The following article was originally written in May 8, 2014. Hiking the Chirije Trails ​Hiking at Chirije comes in a...

Find Artists and Artisans In Every Corner of Ecuador

Cusco’s Treasure Trove of Ancient Art and Modern Craft

The Pre-Colombian Art Museum in Cusco is a small but visit-worthy addition to any tourist itinerary. Basicly, this museum should be on everyone's list of things to do in Cusco. A Beautifully Curated Museum The collection at Cusco's Pre-Colombian Art Museum is...

Folk Art from Tigua, Ecuador

It started decades ago with a single folk artist living in Tigua - Julio Toaquiza. The men in his village had a long tradition of painting masks and drums. An art dealer in Quito asked Julio to paint on a flat surface and a new school was born. Today, there are...

In Search of the Perfect Guitar

A chance encounter with a guitar lover and fellow tourist in Cuenca led us to discover the Route of the Guitars, a little-known tourism route along the backroads of San Bartolome, Ecuador. While stringed instruments, including traditional guitars, requintos,...

Fiber Artists in Cuenca, Ecuador

We just love walking the streets of Cuenca. Mainly because we are always finding something new around the corner. That's how we found the wonderful exhibit of handwork and embroidery hosted by the Centro de Bordados Cuenca. About the Centro de Bordados Cuenca Founded...

Explore Backroads With The Best Guides

Ecuadorian Backroads: Sigchos

I love driving Ecuadorian backroads. Even when it means we tend to get a little lost or turned around. That's how we discovered Sigchos. We thought we would just be driving through on our way to the Quilotoa Crater. But what we looked like the main road...

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plan your trip to ecuador

Ecuador

With over three-years experience traveling Ecuador, we’ve shared content from all four geographic regions: the Sierra, the Coast, the Amazon Basin, and the Galapagos. Incredibly, we keep returning for more.

plan your trip to peru

Peru

As Machu Picchu attracts thousands of new visitors every year, lesser-known destinations hold opportunity for exciting adventures and less-crowded vacationing. If you have visited Peru in the last few months and would like to add to our growing list of posts, let us know!

plan your trip to bolivia

Bolivia

With only one week in La Paz and Isla del Sol, we barely scratched the surface of Bolivia. This small South American nation is ready and waiting for increased tourism from their neighbors in the north.

plan your trip to argentina

Argentina

We lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for one year. If we learned anything, it’s that Argentina deserves time. Distances are grand and a single trip really can’t do it justice.

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If you want to explore our blog, most of our content is about Ecuador but we are expanding to include other Andean Nations!

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