Under-the-Radar Sights in Ecuador – Ecuador might be a tiny country, but its things-to-do offerings are brimming with possibilities. Indigenous wildlife, picturesque beaches, and the Andean region’s natural and historic sites round out some of the area’s not-to-miss fare.
Ecuador’s national parks are some of the finest in the world. Cotopaxi National Park is somewhat undiscovered – meaning you can embrace the wild of your own accord. Cotopaxi shares its name with the incredible volcano at the site, which also happens to be Ecuador’s second-tallest. Considered dormant, the volcano’s interior and exterior is home to some of the world’s most diverse plants and animals. Located nearby is Limpiopungo Lagoon – a small body of water located at nearly 12,500-feet above sea level. Also nearby are bountiful rose plantations. The scent travels far and lingers, luring you to visit. you’ll not only get to see firsthand the production of world-famous Ecuadorian roses, but you’ll have ample photo ops for some of the most colourful pics you’ll ever post to your social media accounts.
If you lean more towards ‘history buff’, check out the ruins at Ingapirca. It’s the largest site of Incan ruins in Ecuador, with large impressive fortifications and gorgeous temples. On the tour, you can learn about the Incan people, as well as their predecessors, the Cañari people.
Also, a lovely history lesson, the city of Cuenca is an entire heritage site all its own. In fact, it was declared so by UNESCO in 1999. If your holiday only allows time for one Ecuadorian city, make it Cuenca. Perched promiscuously along the Tomebamba River, Cuenca’s daily flower markets are a burst of beautiful colors. A visit to the city’s impressive new cathedral is a must, as is a workshop with local artisans in the craft of designing a Panama Hat, and learning about its origins.
Just to Cuenca’s north lies a dairy farm tucked between Ecuador’s coastline and its highlands. The Danesa Hacienda has been passed down through several generations and still is a lead dairy producer in the region. There are also cacao fields on the farm, and one of the hacienda’s ranchers is also a chocolatier. Using milk from the hacienda’s cattle, you can take part in the process of making chocolate – from cacao bean to chocolate bar.
No matter what you savvy, Ecuador has plenty to offer – especially if you’re willing to look outside the usual tourist havens.