As almost all of us are quarantined at home and probably looking for something different and useful to read or to do, we have prepared a small itinerary that can help you plan your next vacation in 2021.

Ecuador is most known for the Galapagos Islands, but truth be told, Ecuador offers a wide variety of different activities in its mainland territory. From lush rain forest to snow-covered peaks in the Andes.

Go for an adventure in Baños

Just a few hours away from Quito, this small town located at the skirts of the Tungurahua volcano surrounded by waterfalls offers an unforgettable adventure for those who are looking to do something different and exciting during their stay in Ecuador.

Recommended activities while in Baños: Rent a bike and complete the waterfall route, trekking in the lush mountains nearby Baños, hike to the Devil’s Cauldron, swing over the edge of the world.

Complete the Quilotoa loop

Quilotoa is an active volcano that erupted for the last time in the 13th century. After its last eruption, the peak of the volcano collapsed and created a wide caldera which later became a beautiful crater lake.

This place has many activities available for those who are looking to admire the beautiful Andean landscapes and spend some time outdoors.

If you are an active person, you can hike all the way around the crater rim or hike down into the crater. Rent a kayak and explore the lake on your own, and, if you are feeling more adventurous camping and stargazing on the side of the lake is definitely a must.

Horseback riding in the Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi is the second-highest active volcano, and its name means “neck of the moon” in Kichwa. This fantastic reserve offers the opportunity to go on many activities like hiking, climbing the summit of the Cotopaxi, and horseback riding. This activity lasts around 4 hours and it is essential to consider that it will be done over 3000 meters above sea level, allowing you to see the natural flora and fauna of the paramo as you’ve never imagined it before.

Hike the Pasochoa Volcano

This extinct volcano has been inactive since the last ice age. This volcano can be easily reached by driving from Quito in a 4×4 vehicle. The hike is relatively easy and it allows you to spot birds, horses and the occasional Andean Condor. If you have luck, this 5-hour hike is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a full day of activities without needing too much experience with outdoor activities.

Biking in the “Paseo del Quinde”

If you are not only a biking enthusiast but also love birdwatching, then this is the perfect route for you. The road starts from Quito, and you will need to start biking from the town of Nono until you reach the village of Mindo. Between these two towns, there is an altitude difference that will allow you to see the variety of vegetation and wildlife.

Go on a canopy adventure in Mindo

If you decided to follow our recommendation and went biking from Nono to Mindo, then sleeping in Mindo is the best idea. For the following day in Mindo, it is recommended to either relax or explore the town and go for another adventure.

Mindo’s lush subtropical ecosystem is known for its biodiversity and birdwatching opportunities. Its lush forests are not only home to more than 500 types of birds but are also the perfect place to go on an exciting activity like zipline canopy between the dense trees.

This can be easily done by hiking to the are where the zipline is; no special gear is needed on your side. Just keep your eyes open to spot some toucans while you are in the air!

Conquer the summit of Rucu Pichincha

This urban volcano is an everyday presence for those who live in Quito. Rucu Pichincha is an older and lower summit that can be accessed when taking Quito’s cable car, also known as the Teleferiqo. From Quito, the altitude is 2800 meters above sea level, the Teleferiqo will reach further to 3900 meters and the summit of Rucu Pichincha is at 4390 meters above sea level. However, the heights can be frightening; the hike will last between 3-4 hours through a well-marked trail. A worthy urban adventure!

Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.

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