The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Ecuador

By: Clarissa Vanner
(GERMANY OUT) Ecuador: The El Cajas National Park lies over 3000 meters high (Photo by Ihlow/ullstein bild via Getty Images) Ullstein Bild / Getty Images

Ecuador is a beautiful country that sits nestled along the equator on South America’s west coast. While Ecuador is considered generally safe there are still risks such as theft and pickpocketing. That said there are plenty of ways to stay safe during your vacation such as staying with groups, traveling by certified taxis, and going on tours hosted by your resort. Check out Ecuador’s website for more information on public safety. Tourism is booming in Ecuador and it’s diverse landscape offers plenty of exciting things to see and do. From the Amazon jungle to the Andean highlands, sandy beaches, and the breathtaking Galapagos islands you’ll have ample opportunities to so swim, snorkel, mountain climb, hike and so much more. Before you travel to this remarkable place check out our list of the most popular tourist attractions in Ecuador that you don’t want to miss! 


La Compania de Jesus

La Compania de Jesus was constructed during the early 1600s  and is known as one of the top 100 most important buildings in the world. It’s located in the heart of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. It is renowned for its large central nave which is embellished with gold leaf, gilded plaster, and beautiful wood carvings. It’s definitely worth visiting Ecuador’s most beautiful church! 


No trip to Ecuador is complete without a trip to the Pacific Coast, and Montañita is the best coastal town to visit. It is a very energetic little village that is home to some best beach resorts and oceanside property in the world. Montanita used to be a quiet fishing village until the international surfing community discovered the amazing surfing opportunities. Even if you aren’t a professional surfer you can certainly learn in this beautiful town. Montanita also boasts a bustling nightlife and offers amazing bars, cafes, and nightclubs.

Cotopaxi And Cajas National Parks

Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador’s most popular national parks and is located just a short drive from the city, Quito. Cotopaxi National Park is renowned for its active Cotopaxi volcano that lures in both tourists and locals alike. The beautiful snow-covered volcano is also the second-highest mountain in the country and can be clearly seen from the city, Quito. Furthermore, Cotopaxi is also one of the most active volcanoes in the world as it boasts more than 50 eruptions since 1738. 

Cajas National Park

Cajas National Park is another popular park in Ecuador that offers a different landscape. This is because it’s nestled in Ecuador’s beautiful highlands. The park is located about 18 miles from Cuenca and features breathtaking hills and valleys. There are also more than 250 lakes for visitors to explore. This means you’ll have ample opportunities to hike, bike, canoe, and kayak. Each park offers its own unique experience so we highly recommend visiting both!


The Basilica of the National Vow

When in the city of Quito you have to check out the breathtaking Basilica of the National Vow. This roman catholic church is located in the city’s historic center. It’s also the largest neo-gothic basilica in Western Hemisphere. What’s also interesting is that the cathedral has never been finished. The local legend says that the completion of the cathedral will bring about the end of the world.

El Panecillo

El Panecillo is a 200-meter-high hill located between southern and central Quito. The hill is said to have a volcanic origin. At the top of the hill sits a beautiful 45-meter tall stone monument of the Virgin Mary. It was commissioned in 1976 to the Spanish artist, Agustín de la Herran Matorras. The statue is made of more than 7,000 separate aluminum pieces and the locals believe it’s the only representation of the Virgin Mary to feature angel wings. This iconic monument is definitely worth seeing. 

Malecon 2000

Guayaquil is a city of youthful energy. During your stay, you need to check out the iconic Malecon 2000 which is a 1.5-mile-long boardwalk that overlooks the Guayas River. This vibrant riverwalk offers the finest art, museums, restaurants, bars, food courts, historical monuments, and gardens along the way. If you’re looking for world-class dining and would like to enjoy some shopping while taking in the city’s history then the Malecon 2000 is a must-visit.

Baños de Agua Santa 

Baños is a beautiful city located in Ecuador’s Tungurahua province. The city is known for its beautiful trails on the active Tungurahua volcano. If you love adventure this is definitely the place you need to be as you can enjoy things like water rafting, mountain climbing, hiking, hang gliding, and more. When you’re ready to kick back and relax you can enjoy the wonderful mud baths and hot springs. 


Many visitors to Ecuador forgo the jungle to enjoy the mountains, but the Amazon region of the country is definitely worth exploring. Tena is the launching point for jungle expeditions to the Amazon, and it is one of the best places in the country to go white water rafting as well as kayaking!


Mojanda Lakes

These three large volcanic lakes were created by the Mojando Volcano. This volcano has been inactive for more than 200,000 years, but it’s beautiful lakes are a testament to the power it once held. This is one of the lesser-known tourist attractions which means you’ll have a great opportunity to explore its rugged beauty without having to navigate through crowds. 

Galapagos Islands

When visiting Ecuador do not miss your chance to visit the breathtaking Galapagos Islands. This small archipelago of volcanic islands is located in the eastern pacific about 620 miles off the coast. The islands are renowned for their unique diversity of plants and animal species, many of which can’t be found anywhere else. When visiting the island you will have your chance to see sea lions, penguins, many bird species, and the legendary giant tortoises. To visit the island you have to be paired with a national park-certified tour guide. These precautions are put in place to maintain the natural habits of the species found on the islands.