10 Days in Ecuador | A Selection of the Best Itineraries
10 days in ecuador jungle feat

10 Days in Ecuador: Our picks for the Best Itineraries

I know, Ecuador may seem small compared to its fellow countries in South America. But truth told, the Ecuadorian territory is one of the richest and most diverse countries in the continent. It could take you months to fully explore it!

Filled with a green jungle, snow-capped mountains and beaches, it seems like three countries crammed into one bite-sized package.   A trip to Ecuador is all you dream and more, and size it nothing but a plus, as it makes it easier to hop between varied ecosystems.

As much as I would love to suggest taking at least a month to explore it, the truth is, most of us don’t have that much time. So, here are our best picks of what to do in Ecuador if you got less than two weeks. Take a look at our itinerary suggestions for 10 days in Ecuador. Trust me; you can explore a whole lot in 10 Days.

Check it out!


1. Ecuadorean Sierra: 10 Days Wandering in The Highlands

10 days in ecuador highlands


Focusing just on the Ecuadorian Sierra is a great way of getting to know the country’s culture and natural beauties. Here’s our suggested itinerary. Read the details below:

Day 1     Explore Quito City: Colonial Town (add Teleferico or Mitad del Mundo) 
Day 2     Day Trip to Papallacata Hot Springs – Return to Quito
Day 3     Trip to Otavalo Town plus Cotacachi Town and– Sleepover at Quito
Day 4     Day trip to Cotopaxi National Park  – Sleepover at Cotopaxi
Day 5     Day Trip to Quilotoa Lagoon – Dirve to Baños and sleepover     
Day 6     Baños Town: Cascades Route Hike – Drive to Riobamaba and sleepover            
Day 7     Go to Alausí for a ride aboard Devil’s Nose Train –  Drive to Cuenca and sleepover
Day 8     Cuenca City: Full Day Tour of Colonial Town plus Turi – Sleepover at Cuenca
Day 9     Cuenca:  Take a hike at Cajas National Park – Sleepover at Cuenca
Day 10  Take a Flight back to Quito

First of all, get acclimatized to the altitude (Ecuador stands at 2000 – 3000 masl). So, start with a stroll in Quito City Colonial Town and, if you feel like it, combine it with a visit to Teleferico or Mitad del Mundo. You can do this on your own, or choose to go for a combines tour of Quito, Mitad del Mundo and Teleferico.  

Continue with a must do trip to Papallacta Hot Spings, healing waters coming straight from the Antisana Volcano. On Day 3, a visit to Otavalo Indigenous market is also a must. This spot is located at the northern province Imbabura, also worthy of exploring if times allwos it.

 Afterwards, move on to the southern Andes. Travel through the Avenue of the Volcanoes and give it two full days for Cotopaxi and Quilotoa. Continue southward to Baños and take a full day to explore the Cascade Route and Pailon del Diablo. Continue to Riobamba for a sleepover and get up really early the next day to take an adrenaline filled train ride aboard famous Nariz del Diablo zigzag route.

Afterwards, take a 3 hour ride towards the classic city of Cuenca. Cuenca deserves at least 2 days. On Day 1, make a city Tour, stroll the old town and then visit Turi Viewpoint. On day two, ride towards Cajas National Park, Ecuador’s biggest water reserve and one of the most bio-diverse sites in the highlands. Take one of the many hikes there. Return to Quito on Day 10.   


2. 10 Days Trip of Ecuador Combining the Highlands and Galápagos

10 days in ecuador galapagos


This itinerary of Ecuador will show you the best part of two worlds: The majestic Highlands and the beauty of the Galapagos Islands. Take a look!

Day 1            Explore Quito City: Colonial Town (add Teleferico or Mitad del Mundo)
Day 2            Day trip to Cotopaxi National Park  – Sleepover at Cotopaxi
Day 3            Day Trip to Quilotoa Lagoon – Return to Quito
Day 4            Trip to Otavalo Town plus Cotacachi Town and– Sleepover at Otavalo
Day 5            Explore more of Imbabura: la Esperanza and Zuleta – Return back to Quito
Days 6 – 9   A 5-Day Trip to Galapagos Islands: Land Tour or Cruise, depends on your budget.  
Day 10          Fly back from Quito to Galapagos

Get a small taste of the country on Day 1, always a good thing to do. Explore Quito City; the historical center deserves at least a full day. But it is not a bad idea to split the day with a trip to Teleférico Cable Car or iconic Mitad del Mundo. Most Quito City Tout will adapt to your needs. After that, hit the road on the Avenue of the Volcanoes towards a combined trip of two of the most beautiful sights in the Ecuadorian Highlands: Cotopaxi and Quilotoa.

On Day 4, a must visit to colorful Otavalo town, to get a taste of the rich cultural pre-colonial heritage. You must stay at least one more day at Imbabura Province. You can choose to hike in the lovely Esperanza valley and Zuleta town, or take a trip to Cotacachi artisanal town and Cuicocha lake.  

Get ready to catch a plane for Galapagos on Day 6. I would recommend at least 5 days in Galapagos. You have two options for this portion of your trip, either take a Galapagos Cruise or a Galapagos Land Tour. The Enchanted Island are the perfect ending for your adventure in Ecuador.  


3. Ecuador 10-Day Trip Combining the Amazon Jungle and the Highlands

10 days in ecuador jungle highlands


If you are more of a Jungle person, then the Ecuadorian Amazon offers plenty of lodges to explore the ever-green rainforest. This combined trip will give you a taste of two opposite panoramas. A trip to remember!

Day 1            Explore Quito City: Colonial Town (add Teleferico or Mitad del Mundo)
Day 2            Drive to Mindo Cloud Forest: zip lining or canopy tour – Sleepover at Mindo
Day 3            Mindo Bird watching and hiking in cloud forest – Return to Quito
Day 4            Trip to Otavalo Town plus Cotacachi Town and– Sleepover at Quito
Day 5            Day trip to Cotopaxi National Park  – Sleepover at Cotopaxi
Day 6            Day Trip to Quilotoa Lagoon – Return to Quito
Days 7-10    4-Day Jungle Tour at a Jungle lodge

You can start off at Quito and then drive to Mindo for a two-day trip in the Cloud Forest. There is much to do in Mindo, canopy, rafting, hiking and bathing in beautiful waterfalls. You can do plenty in one day at Mindo, or if you feel like it, spend the night here and travel back to Quito the next day. 

If you do return ti Quito, on Day 4 you can take a day-trip to Otavalo to the Market and Cotacachi Valley. On Day 5, hit the road south for a two-day combined trip of Cotopaxi Volcano and Quilotoa Lagoon.

Then comes the jungle bit. A 4-day itinerary in the Jungle would work just fine. The way jungle trips work are a combination of a lodge which also provides guided excursions. You have plenty of options to choose from. Pick a lodge in Yasuní National park, or in the Cuyabeno Wildlife reserve. Both locations offer plenty of evergreen nature and relaxation. Fly back to Quito in the afternoon



4. A 10-day trip along The Ecuadorian Coast Line

10 days in ecuador coastline

If you are more of a relaxed traveler seeking for the beauty of the ocean, this itinerary will reveal to you the lovely Ecuadorian coastline from South to North. Distances are quite small in the costal region.  


Day 1            Guayaquil: Visit to Malecón 2000 or take a bike ride to Isla Santay – Sleep over at Guayquil
Day 2            Go to Montañita, surfing and beach – Sleepover Montañita
Day 3            Machalilla: Visit Los Frailes and Agua Blanca – Sleepover Puerto Lopez
Day 4            Isla de la Plata – Sleepover Puerto Lopez
Day 5            Bahía de Caráquez and mangroves – Sleepover Bahía de Caráquez
Day 6            Surfing and beach at Canoa –  Sleepover Canoa
Day 7            Continue to Jama and deserted Playa Paraíso – Sleepover Jama
Day 8            Jama: Explore the  deserted beaches around –  travel to Mompiche
Day 9            Mompiche: Relaxing and Surfing – Sleepover Mompiche
Day 10          Return back to Quito    

If you are more of a beach person, you must hit the road across the lovely Ecuadorian coastline. The coastal regionhas has plenty to offer for both, relaxing or hiking. I would suggest starting at Guayaquil and them moving northward along the iconic Ruta del Spondylus. First stop, Montañita, the surfer’s paradise. Take surfing lessons, take spanish lessons, observe wildlife, go to Agua Blanca for a mud bath, or simply relax and party at this spot.

Afterwards, travel towards Machalilla National Park and the lovely Los Frailes beach. You can also take a tour to deserted Isla de la Plata here. Continue to Bahía for a hike to take a look at the Mangroves. On day 6, at lovely Canoa, you can rest a bit and relax. Surfing is also a big thing at this spot.

Continue north to Jama and deserted Plata Paríso and take some time to explore the beaches at this hidden gem. Then travel to Mompiche, a lovely bird sanctuary and also awesome for surfing. Stay the night there and hit the road back to Quito the next day, it only takes 4 hours.

So, these are our handpicked activities of a 10-day Trip of Ecuador. Do you agree, would you make any suggestions to out itineraries?

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