This lovely equatorial country is an increasingly popular tourist destination. It is home to many endemic plants and animals (Ecuador is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries) and wildly diverse landscapes, including a part of the Amazon rainforest, majestic mountains, a charming coastline, and, of course, the famous Galápagos Islands. Ecuador is also known for its happy inhabitants, rich history, vast cultural diversity, banana and cocoa production, and Quito – the highest capital city in the world.
Our eight-day Ecuador honeymoon itinerary (things to see and things to do)
We arrived in Quito late in the evening. The bus ride through the Andes (from Bogotá) was quite long (21 hours), somewhat adventurous (the roads are curvy and the driver was going very fast), yet surprisingly comfortable – there was a toilet on the bus, we stocked up on water and snacks, listened to some music and admired the beautiful surroundings.
Sightseeing day in Quito! 🙂 Quito is known as the highest capital in the world and the closest to the equator. The city was declared a UNESCO world heritage site – it has one of the best-preserved historic centers. We took a walk around the city and visited the main square – Independence Square (Plaza de la Independencia), where we saw many prominent historic buildings, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Carondelet Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Plaza Grande Hotel and, of course, the plaza’s main feature – the monument to the independence heroes of August 10, 1809. Afterwards, we visited three of the best-known churches in Quito – Basílica del Voto Nacional, Compañía de Jesús Church, and Church and Convent of St. Francis and Plaza de San Francisco, where we enjoyed the view of El Panecillo – a hill of volcanic-origin and its famous stone monument.
In Quito, we took a bus to Ciudad Mitad del Mundo, a small village, known for the Monument to the Equator. The place marks the exact location of the Equator (which is actually imprecise). A yellow line divides the 2 hemispheres and we had a lot of fun jumping from one hemisphere to the other. 😉
Day 1 of our 4-day Amazon adventure. The previous evening we took a bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, a city, located in the Amazon rainforest. We arrived in Lago Agrio early in the morning and there a van picked us up and took us deeper into the jungle – to El Puente. At El Puente, we took a canoe trip down the Cuyabeno River to the Guacamayo ecolodge at the Cuyabeno wildlife reserve – the second largest reserve in Ecuador. Cuyabeno is home to a vast number of animal species, including jaguars, pumas, tapirs, dolphins, otters, 10 different species of monkeys, two species of caimans, anacondas, and countless bird and fish species, so we had our eyes wide open during the canoe trip. 🙂 After two and a half hours, we have finally reached our lodge.
The Guacamayo ecolodge consists of several wooden accommodation facilities with private bathrooms, a common dining area, and a lookout tower. They promote sustainable tourism and we love that – they have solar panels to supply the entire lodge with electricity, bio-digesters to treat wastewater, they use biodegradable soap and shampoo and much more.
We had lunch and then it was time for our first jungle adventure. We put on rubber boots, took a canoe and went down the river to search for anacondas. 😀 We didn’t find any anacondas, but we did find a whole lot of caimans. 🙂 We returned to our lodge pretty late in the evening, when it was already totally dark, so it was quite scary. 🙂
After dinner, it was time to go to bed. Since there are a couple of pretty big gaps in every lodge, which make the facility easily accessible for animals, the tour guide advised us to leave any food supplies we may have in the common area. We took his advice, but we still found a couple of poisonous insects in our lodge. Needless to say – we were up for a pretty ‘interesting’ night. 😀 By the way, there is a mosquito net above every bed, so it wasn’t as bad as it may sound. 😉
Day 2 of our 4-day Amazon adventure. In the morning, we took a three-hour hike through the jungle. It was amazing to see the beautiful raw nature and it was very educational as well. We learned a lot about the flora and fauna and the use of plants for survival. Afterwards, we had lunch at the lodge.
Later in the afternoon, we took a canoe trip to Laguna Grande, where we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and had the chance to go swimming – in the same water where we had just seen a bunch of caimans. Well, thanks a lot, but no! 😀
Day 3 of our 4-day Amazon adventure. We took an almost two-hour canoe ride down the river to an indigenous village. Along the way, we saw numerous bird species, monkeys, frogs, turtles and, of course, many many insects. 🙂
In the village, we got to mingle with the indigenous community and we were so excited about it! We learned a lot about their customs. We tried some exotic fruits, got our faces painted and even helped a woman prepare a local dish, which we then tried and liked. 😉
Afterwards, we visited a shaman to learn about shamanism. I wasn’t on my period at the time, therefore I had the privilege to approach him – another girl wasn’t that lucky. She had to stay away because apparently, shamans often get sick in the presence of a menstruating woman – they can even start bleeding themselves. :O I know it sounds weird, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, try to stay open-minded. 🙂
Very late in the evening, we took a night hike through the jungle. We even had special lamps to attract insects. Matic enjoyed it, but if you ask me – that was some sick s***! 😀 I mean, what kind of lunatics go walking around the Amazon rainforest, where there are anacondas, jaguars, caimans and billions of poisonous insects in the middle of the night and even try to attract them?! Well, I guess adventurers do. 😀 Now that I look back, I’m actually glad that I did it – after all, now I have a crazy story to tell. 😉
Day 4 of our 4-day Amazon adventure. At around 5.30 in the morning bird watching was scheduled. Matic went, but I wasn’t able to get out of bed. Not after the sleepless night we had – something big was climbing on our roof! :O I bet it was a jaguar, but I guess we’ll never know! 😀
After breakfast, we went up the Cuyabeno River to El Puente and our Amazon adventure was over. It was insanely wonderful, insanely exciting and just insane. 😀 Definitely an unforgettable experience, an epic adventure! 😉 In the evening, we returned to Quito.
In Quito, we took a bus to our next destination – Peru. 😉
♥ Top romantic experience
Ecuador can be a very romantic destination. Take a waterfall tour or an ecotour, visit some hot springs, relax at the beach, admire the historic buildings in Quito, Cuenca, and other charming colonial cities, go birdwatching, treat yourselves to a spa day, cruise the Galápagos Islands, or enjoy a beach sunset.
Our top romantic experience was exploring the capital’s historic center. Birdwatching at sunrise would also have been pretty romantic if I hadn’t overslept. 😀
♥ Top adventure
Adventurers can’t possibly get bored in a country like Ecuador. Let’s take a look at the country’s most popular activities. You can climb a volcano, visit Baños de Agua Santa – the adventure capital of Ecuador, go mountain biking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, whale watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, rafting, kayaking, river tubing, canyoning, zip-lining, paragliding, horseback riding, hiking, or take a thrilling Amazon rainforest tour, like we did! 😉
Are you wondering about the daily budget, the best time to go, visa and immunization requirements, local customs, currency, electricity standards, safety tips and where to stay? Here you can find out all you need to know before visiting Ecuador.
Have you already been to Ecuador? We invite you to share your top romantic experience and top adventure in the comment section below. 😉
Next stop: amazing Peru! 😉