A Quick Ecuador Vacation

For those who are taking a quick Ecuador vacation (four days to a week) we have some suggested must see spots in and around Quito and Guayaquil.

Airport City Overview

Flights to Ecuador arrive at either Guayaquil or Quito. So which should you fly into?

Fast Trip to Guayaquil

There are a number of good things right in Guayaquil for your quick Ecuador vacation. Here are some suggestions...

By Epiovesan (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsLas Peñas

Barrio Las Peñas - This restored historic neighborhood is a nice way to experience Guayaquil. Brilliantly painted houses are home to an selection of art shops, restaurants and stores. Make your way to the top for an amazing view of the city! (Note: There are lots of stairs to climb...may not be suitable for some visitors.)

Time needed: A morning or an afternoon

By Freddy eduardo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsParque Historico

Parque Historico - A park, zoo, and museum all in one. See some of the wildlife found in Ecuador, including a variety of birds. There are some reconstructed historic buildings and several gardens. The park is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Special activities are scheduled throughout the year.

Time needed: You could spend a morning or an afternoon or the whole day!

By Martin Ziese, BerlinMalecon 2000

Malecon 2000 - The most famous tourist attraction in Guayaquil. This mile and a half boardwalk has more to offer than just a nice walk. Enjoy the gardens, stores, restaurants and other attractions along the way. 

Time needed: A morning or afternoon.

Quick Ecuador Vacation Near Guayaquil

There are several great beach towns within just a few hours of Guayaquil. Whether you want to hop on the bus or rent a car, here are a few places to consider to enjoy a few days on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador.

By Bonsairolex (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSalinas

Salinas - Probably the most popular beach town in all of Ecuador, this coastal city can really fill up on the weekend. The city is located around a large bay of calm waters. Just ten minutes away is Punta Carnero which has bigger waves if you are looking to surf.

Time needed: Salinas is about 2 hours from Guayaquil. Plan to spend two or three days.


Montañita - Ecuador's most famous surf spot. Once a quiet fishing village, Montanita is now a 24-7 party spot.

Time needed: Montañita is also about two hours from Guayaquil. Spend two or three days.

Ondřej Žváček [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), Wikimedia CommonsOlon

Olon - Thought right next door to Montanita Olon has it's own vibe. A much quieter vibe. The long beach is a great place to lay back a relax.

Time needed: Olon is about two and a half hours from Guayaquil. You may like to combine Montañita and Olon over a three to four day weekend.

There are a few other good beach towns near Guayaquil including Ayangue and Ballenita. In under three hours you can be on the beach, sipping an umbrella drink in the sand.

Quick Quito Vacation

Quito is full of options for a quick Ecuador vacation. You could easily spend a week just enjoying the city. (Note: Due to its high elevation, some travelers may need a recovery day after flying into Quito.)

Here are some must see spots, you won't be able to fit them all in, but you can try...

Historic Center - Quito's historic center is a must see! There is so much beautiful architecture, parks and history. You could spend days exploring the different monuments and museums, but if you're tight on time try to make it to La Ronda and the Basilica del Voto Nacional or take the City Bus Tour.

Time needed: You can see lots in a day, but you might want two or even three days to really enjoy the area.

El Panecillo - Quito, EcuadorEl Panecillo seen in the background

The Panecillo - A hill crowned with a winged virgin at the far end of the historic center. The views from the Panecillo are great. Enjoy some hot cinnamon tea while taking in the view.

Time needed: Take a taxi to the top of the Panecillo for a couple of hours maybe around sunset if that fits.

Capilla del Hombre - This compound is a museum dedicated to one of Ecuador's most famous artists, Oswaldo Guayasamin. Tour his home, a gallery of his artwork and a museum depicting life in Ecuador.

Time needed: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Expect to spend 3-4 hours.

TeleferiQo - This cable car is a great way to see Quito from above. You can also hike or climb the nearby Pichincha Volcano.

Time needed: It's a good idea to go first thing in the morning (Opens at 9) to get the best views. Spend a morning or the whole day if you're planning to climb the volcano.

This is only a sample of the many things to do in Quito. There are lots of museums, parks, markets and restaurants that make a trip to Quito enjoyable.

Day Trips from Quito

Mitad del Mundo - You have two options when visiting the equator on your quick Ecuador vacation. The traditional monument or the more hands-on Intiñan museum. Both have their advantages. 

Time needed: If you start early you can probably fit BOTH in one long day. If not, plan on seeing one per day.

Otavalo EcuadorOtavalo Market

Otavalo Market - If you only have a day, you can visit this most famous market in Ecuador. See a large variety of crafts and be ready to barter.

Time needed: Otavalo is 2 1/2 hours from Quito. If you don't want to go on the bus, most tour operators in Quito offer one day tours to the market. Spend the whole day or more...

Papallacta - These hot springs are just a couple of hours outside Quito. The clear, hot water is a great way to relax. If you need more relaxation there are spa services available.

Time needed: One day. Located two hours outside of Quito.

Cotopaxi VolcanoCotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi National Park - Nature lovers won't want to miss seeing the most popular volcano in Ecuador close up. Tours can be organized from Quito.

Time needed: One day. The park is located an hour or so outside of Quito.

Quick Ecuador Vacation Near Quito

Other nearby attractions. These next places you will probably want to spend at least a few days enjoying.

Baños - A popular tourist destination, Baños has lots of activities. From hiking to rafting. Hot springs to paragliding. Plus the assortment of restaurants is great!

Time needed: About three hours from Quito. Spend two to fours days or more exploring Baños.

Mindo - Also about three hours from Quito, Mindo is one of Ecuador's favorite birding spots. There are some great hikes to beautiful waterfalls and the laid back town is very inviting.

Time needed: Spend two to four days in Mindo.

Cotacachi EcuadorCotacachi

Otavalo and Cotacachi - If you have more time, spend a little more time exploring Otavalo. There are beautiful natural sites in the area like waterfalls and crater lakes. Plus Cotacachi which is known for their leather goods.

Time needed: Spend two to four days in and around Otavalo.

By Timothy.dhalleine (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsCuyabeno

Cuyabeno - See the jungle on a tight schedule. All inclusive tours are available at many tour offices in Quito.

Time needed: Three to seven days.

From Quito OR Guayaquil to the Galapagos

Don't have much time, but still want to see some of the best of Ecuador?

Galapagos Islands - Flights to the Galapagos leave daily from both Quito and Guayaquil. Tours can be arrange before you arrive in Ecuador, so that you can make the best use of your time.

Time needed: Three to seven days.

Seen all of these?

If you've already seen all of these, you've seen a good chunk of what Ecuador has to offer. Please let us know what you thought! Use the comment section below to tell us your experience.

Also if you have other suggested spots near to Guayaquil or Quito feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

If you haven't seen them all, it's time to plan your next quick Ecuador vacation.

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