Need help planning a 10-day itinerary in Ecuador

Hi everyone!

We’re planning a trip to Ecuador and could use some advice on how to make the most of a 10-day visit. We’ve never been there before and want to see as much as possible, from the natural beauty to cultural highlights. What would you recommend for a balanced itinerary with must-see places and hidden gems? Any tips on where to stay, eat, and how to get around would also be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance for your help!


Hi @leilalwriter

Here’s a suggested plan that covers a mix of nature, culture, and adventure:

Day 1-2: Quito

Explore the historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its colonial architecture and vibrant plazas.
To learn about the equator, visit the Middle of the World monument (Mitad del Mundo) and the nearby Intiñan Museum.
Take a day trip to the Mindo Cloud Forest for bird watching, hiking, and visiting butterfly farms.

Day 3-4: Otavalo

Head to Otavalo, famous for its indigenous market, which is one of the largest in South America. Here, you can shop for handicrafts, textiles, and local goods.
Visit nearby attractions such as the Peguche Waterfall and the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve.

Day 5-6: Cotopaxi National Park

Travel to Cotopaxi National Park and hike around the stunning Cotopaxi volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
Try activities like horseback riding or mountain biking in a nearby hacienda for a unique experience.

Day 7-8: Baños

Continue to Baños, known for its hot springs and adventure sports.
Enjoy zip-lining, canyoning, or a scenic bike ride along the Ruta de las Cascadas (Waterfall Route).
Relax in the thermal baths and visit the famous “Swing at the End of the World” at Casa del Árbol.

Day 9-10: Galápagos Islands or Cuenca

If budget and time allow, a quick trip to the Galápagos Islands is an unforgettable experience. Explore unique wildlife and pristine beaches, and enjoy snorkelling or diving.
Alternatively, visit Cuenca, a charming colonial city with beautiful architecture and museums, and the nearby Cajas National Park for hiking.

Travel Tips:

Accommodation: Book in advance, especially in popular areas like Quito and Baños. Consider staying in local guesthouses or haciendas for a more authentic experience.
Transport: Use a mix of buses, private transfers, and flights (for Galápagos). Ecuador has a good network of intercity buses that are affordable and reliable.
Food: Try local dishes such as ceviche, llapingachos (potato patties), and cuy (guinea pig, a traditional delicacy). Don’t miss fresh fruit juices and Ecuadorian chocolate.

I hope this helps you plan a fantastic trip to Ecuador! Let me know if you have any more questions. Safe travels!