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10 day Itinerary (Highlands version)

10 day Itinerary (Highlands version)

10 day Itinerary (Highlands version)
Mitad del Mundo, Quito

Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries in the world and in only 10 days in Ecuador you can visit volcanoes, beautiful beaches and the rainforest. We recommend starting your week in Ecuador either in Quito or Guayaquil as there are the main international airports in the country. Quito is a UNESCO historic city in the highlands with so much culture and offers a broad range of things to do and see, while Guayaquil is the main port and the gateway to the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. In this 10-day itinerary we have focused on visiting the highlands region, which takes you along the Ecuador’s Andes from Quito to Cuenca, departing in Guayaquil. If you do not have a car this guided tour might be right for you.

Read More: The best things to do in 8 days in Galapagos

Ecuador is split in 4 regions: Coast (Pacific coast), Highlands (the Andes), Amazonia (Rainforest) and the Galapagos Islands. To fully explore all of Ecuador’s regions you would need to spend at least a month to see all the main highlights of each region; Ecuador has over 80 volcanos.

If you have some extra time when visiting Ecuador we recommend adding a trip to the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s most biodiverse archipelagos. In the mainland of Ecuador you will be amazed by the diversity in landscape ranging from volcanoes, beautiful mountains, national parks and stunning beaches.

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Read More: The complete guide to travel the Ruta del Spondylus in Ecuador (all the beaches)

As part of this Ecuador 10 day itinerary you will see some of the most popular national parks in the country, the most beautiful hidden gems and the most popular cities.

Included in the ultimate Ecuador 10 day itinerary are Quilotoa lake, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo Volcanoes, Baños (Ecuador’s gateway to the Amazon), Puyo (rainforest), Cuenca, the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, Cajas National park and the historic port city of Guayaquil.

Ecuador Itinerary in 10 days

Things to know before traveling to Ecuador:

  • Currency: USD (United State Dollars)
  • Language: The official language in Ecuador is Spanish and in some communities Quichua. Many people within the travel industry speaks English especially in the tourist areas.
  • Visa: You might need a visa to visit Ecuador. You can check Ecuador visa requirements here.

How to get to Ecuador:

You can either fly to Quito’s airport, Mariscal Sucre International Airport or to Guayaquil, José Joaquín De Olmedo International Airport (GYE). Both airports receive international flights from a range of airlines including Aeroméxico, Air Europa, American Airlines, Avianca, Eastern Airlines, LLC, KLM, LASER Airlines, LATAM Ecuador, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, Delta and TAME.

How to travel around Ecuador:

The best way to explore Ecuador is either by renting a car, taking tours or by taking the bus. Buses are the cheapest way to get around Ecuador. Car rentals can get expensive, but give you the most freedom. If you are traveling to Ecuador with a group, we recommend hiring a private driver (send us an email and we can connect you with some recommended drivers).

What is the best month to visit Ecuador?

Because Ecuador is right in the Equator it is never a bad time to visit Ecuador. The best time to visit Ecuador depends on when you have the time to visit. We would say during the winter, dry, months of December to March for the Galapagos, the Coast and the Amazon.

What to pack to Ecuador (Highlands)

  • A light rain jacket
  • Full-length light hiking pants 
  • Hiking boots or sneakers
  • A light backpack
  • Altitude sickness medication
  • A great camera and a zoom lens 
  • Bug spray and mosquito repellent
  • Hat
  • Hiking socks
  • A water bottle

Is Ecuador expensive?

The amount you will spend in Ecuador depends on the type of accommodations you would like to stay and the activities you chose to do. Keep in mind that Ecuador has the USD so there is no real benefit of currency conversion when visiting Ecuador. Some of the small towns in Ecuador are very affordable, and other areas are extremely pricey. The Galapagos for instance could go either way in terms of your budgeting. You can either do Galapagos in a budget-friendly way or you can spend thousands of dollars in a cruise.

You should plan on spending more money when planning your trip to Ecuador if you are thinking about visiting the rainforest and some of the most tourist destinations in the country.

Is Ecuador Safe to visit?

Ecuador is not the safest country in South America to visit but it is not the most unsafe either. It all depends where you go and what you do. We recommend you avoid traveling at night and in the main cities be more aware of delinquency. Do not flaunt expensive gear and jewelry. If you are travelling with camera gear, please make sure you keep it secure and not visible and I consider insurance if traveling with valuables.

The Ultimate Ecuador Road Trip in 10 Days Map

Day 1: Guayaquil

Arrive to Guayaquil, José Joaquín De Olmedo International Airport (GYE) to start your journey around Ecuador. Guayaquil is the second largest city in Ecuador, after Quito. It is Jazmin’s home town, and even though many people might say skip Guayaquil, it is the best city to start your journey if you want to include Cuenca in your itinerary. Guayaquil is the main port of Ecuador and it is the gateway to the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is a beautiful metropolitan city with a lot to offer to its visitors ranging from museums, to nature with a rich history. It could also serve as your point of departure to the Galápagos. If you do not have a car, the best way to explore Guayaquil is with the hop on and hop off red bus.

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