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Cultural Experiences To Have Before Leaving Ecuador
There is so much to explore in Ecuador. While it may not be the biggest country in South America, the culture is rich, the cuisine is delightful and the experiences are everlasting. There’s beautiful natural landscapes, ancient ruins and world-class marketplaces to explore. Whether you’re visiting for a long time or just briefly, there are a few cultural experiences you have to try before wrapping up a visit to Ecuador.
Explore an Ecuadorian Marketplace
Otavalo is the home of one of Ecuador’s most popular marketplaces. Some describe it as a sensory playground with smells, sounds and vibrant colors experienced around every corner. The marketplace is held everyday at the Plaza de los Ponchos. It’s the perfect place to experience traditional South American shopping culture, bartering practices and Ecuadorian cuisine. There are a plethora of vendors selling everything from artisan crafts and Panama hats to woven tapestries and jewelry made from local gemstones.
Hike Through the Jungle at Puyo
One of the best ways to explore the rainforest in Ecuador is on a guided tour. There are many tour opportunities available to see the jungle at Puyo. Whether you decide to hike or go by van, its definitely a sight worth seeing. There are waterfalls and swimming holes to swim in, hiking trails to run down and rivers to canoe down. Some tours are multi-day and visit locals who live within the rainforest. Visiting the Ecuadorian rainforest is a cultural treat every visitor should check out.
Reimagine Ancient Life at the Ingapirca Ruins
Ancient ruins serve as reminders that before modern times, indigenous people ruled and were prosperous. South America has some of the oldest ruins of past civilizations, and Ecuador is no exception. The Ingapirca Ruins are the largest archaeological Incan site in the country. Located in Canar, visitors can check out the ruins on guided tours and use their imagination to reimagine ancient life.
Spend the Night at an Old Hacienda
There are plenty of old haciendas in Ecuador. These giant farmhouse estates served as the homes of Spanish conquistadors back in the day. Now, many of them are rented out to vacationing travelers or are tourist attractions showcasing the country’s rich history. Some of the top Ecuadorian haciendas to spend a night at include Hacienda El Porvenir, Hacienda Tambopaxi and Hacienda Cusin. These traditional homes are a wonderful way to experience Ecuador’s old world charm and elaborate architecture.
Take a Train Ride Through the Avenue of Volcanoes
Travelers can enjoy a full day of picturesque landscapes and scenery as they ride through the Avenue of Volcanoes. The avenue includes 200 miles of roads winding through the Andeans. There are eight beautiful, snow-mantled mountains surrounding travelers as the train whisks them through the hills. Full of national parks, hidden nature coves and a few traditional markets, a train ride through the avenue is a treasure for adventurous travelers.
Go Whale Watching off the Coast of Salinas
Salinas is one of the most popular beaches in Ecuador. It’s also an excellent location for whale watching. Once you’re done surfing and sunbathing, take some time to view the whales before leaving Ecuador. Whale watching tours in Salinas allows travelers to see humpback whales in their natural habitat. The best season to catch the majestic mammals is from mid-June to October. However, if you are traveling outside of whale watching season, Salinas also has a museum dedicated to the incredible animals.