Ecuador is growing as a tourism destination and to get the best of this wonderful country, here are our top picks of excellent private tour alternatives to get you discovering all that this one-and-only country has to offer.
4-Day Private Tour to the Andean Gems from Quito
The Andes are spectacular first and foremost because of their mountainous landscapes, which are a joy to discover and gaze at… Wherever you go, your eyes are drawn to their rollercoaster contours as they undulate over meadows and patchwork valleys, creating curvaceous skylines against rich cobalt-blue skies.
Tours obviously should begin in the World Heritage Site of Quito, the first city in the world to be offered this distinction (together with Krakow in Poland) by UNESCO.
Quito is a spectacle that can merit weeks of discovery for those who wish to explore it, but if on a tight schedule, a city tour of the prime Colonial hotspots, including one of the 100 most beautiful constructions in the Americas —La Compañía Church, a gold-leaf wonder in the heart of the capital— will certainly impress, even if churches is not your thing.
Quito features one of the best-preserved Historic Centers of the Western Hemisphere, by the way!
When you center your Ecuador private tour in the Andes, make sure to include the páramo and sites like Cotopaxi. Reach snowline at this towering peak, heading from the eternal spring of the temperate zone in Quito into a tundra-like realm in only about an hours’ time.
Another favorite and not-to-be-missed destination is Quilotoa. This beautiful crater lake, nestled deep inside the heart of a volcano, changes color throughout the day, depending on the light. It will turn from brown to green to a brilliant turquoise when the sun is shining.
This area is known for its talented painters from the neighboring town of Tigua who create sumptuous Andean scenes on sheepskin canvas, a very special souvenir to bring home.
And if you can, stretch your visit down the eastern slope, towards the Amazon Basin, where the climate turns more humid and teeming jungle begins to take over on the horizon near the popular town of Baños, known for its spectacular waterfalls, bumping nightlife, and famous “swing at the end of the world”!
5-Day Private Tour to the Andes and Amazon from Quito
To all the classic highlights we have just mentioned, add a day in Amazon to get a better gist of this magnificent region of the world. This is a golden opportunity to get a look at the mega-diverse jungle world that has so fascinated the great explorers of the past.
Drive down to the frontier-town of Puyo and stop at the wonderful Yanacocha Wildlife rescue center to witness the color and variety of many flagship species from the jungle deep, injured and awaiting reintroduction into their natural habitats.
From marvelous viewpoints, stand over the dominating rivers that feed the mighty Amazon and climb gigantic, age-old trees to observation decks that will allow you to discover the forest canopy from up close.
7-Day Private Tour to Ecuador’s Gems: The Andes, The Amazon, Papallacta and Otavalo
In seven days, you can add more of Ecuador’s claims-to-fame. This is especially enticing for those who wish to delve into Andean culture and discover the rural communities that make the Ecuadorian heartland so unique.
Otavalo is, without a doubt, the town that best embodies the essence of rural life and ancestral traditions. Known for its “Poncho Square”, market day on Saturday is arguably the busiest, largest craft fair in South America. And in the outskirts, you can stop at local textile workshops or private homes with corn plantations and vegetable gardens, as well as many different outings to connect with nature in what we call “the Valley of the Dawn”.
7-Days Private Tour from the Andes to Ecuador’s Pacific Coast
But Ecuador isn’t just jungle and mountains… it’s also beaches, palm trees, and ocean. And you may want to head west to the tropical Pacific Coast to get your fill of sun, swim, and seaside natural experiences.
Beautiful shorelines await on a private tour that can take you to secluded bays where you are the only visitor; perhaps fishing towns where surfing and hanging out is always on the menu.
But the coast is also home to a fascinating culture, that includes the artisans that created a world-famous accessory: the misnamed “Panama” Hat. Discover the weavers of paja toquilla, who have, for centuries, developed the finest straw hats on Earth.
On Ecuador’s Pacific Coast we actually find the oldest archaeological remains of the Americas, with the evidence of societal life that dates back over 5000 years. So… there’s more than just sun and fresh coconut water here!
6-Day Private Tour from Quito to Cuenca
Last but not least, one of our favorite tours couples Ecuador’s twin Heritage Cities; Quito and Cuenca. They are both located in the Andes, with beautiful Historic Centers, but they couldn’t be more different. Quito’s Historic Center is a deeply Colonial treasure trove, where the churches are shining in gold leaf and monuments can date back to the Spanish Conquest, many of which have been meticulously restored. It also boasts spectacular twin volcanoes that rise above the city, commanding its geographical identity.
Cuenca, on the other hand, highlights a much more modern turn-of-the-20th-century (Early Republican) architecture. Much of the Colonial buildings have already been torn down. However, you can discover remnants from a deeper past, when the Incas ruled the land, in plain sight. The city is also well reputed for being an absolute joy to stroll; with four beautiful rivers running through it.
Setting out to explore the two cities, in both their similarities and their differences, on one single tour, is truly a fascinating experience.
Travel your way (and safely)
Safety and control are always the best way to go. And private tours deliver both, especially when booking with professional, knowledgeable and trust-worthy tour agents that value flexibility.
Wanderbus Ecuador knows the country like no other local tourism experience provider. Contact us to start organizing your Ecuador private tour today.