One of the commonest questions asked when considering a trip to Ecuador, is how long to visit Ecuador for. Most people are limited on the amount of time they can spend on vacation, so understanding how many days you should visit Ecuador for is important in making the most of a trip. Ecuador is a diverse country, with various different regions to visit. Here we will consider how many days you need to visit the Ecuador highlands and to see the main highlights, and the different areas you may want to focus on if you are short of time. To some extent that does depend on what you want to see and do, and how active or otherwise you might want to be, but hopefully the information provided here will be helpful as a rule of thumb guide for you to start planning your holiday tour to Ecuador.
How long to visit Ecuador for, and particularly how long to spend in the highlands may depend on the season that you visit. In the highlands, the drier and somewhat cooler months of June through September are particularly good for outdoor pursuits. If you are looking for an active Ecuador highlands trip, then these months may be best for you. There is also typically, though less reliably, a drier spell in December and January, so you might decide to visit during these months – which tie in well with the Christmas and New Year break too. However, a trip to the Ecuador highlands can run at any time of year, since even in the wetter, warmer season it rarely rains all day long (apart from April, when this can indeed happen!). Most days start out dry and bright, and typically it only rains for a couple of hours in the afternoon – so if you can handle that, do not let the season dictate when you take your trip to the Ecuador Andean highlands.
There is a lot to see in the Ecuador highlands, and most people will find that they do not have time to cover everything. One special way to spend time in this area is to focus on the Central Andes. Visiting one of the highest active volcanoes on Earth, Cotopaxi, as well as the Quilotoa region, Baños and Otavalo provides an opportunity to see a lot in a condensed area – avoiding too many long travel days. Such a focus allows the chance to observe indigenous life, take part in adventurous activities and visit colorful markets, among other highlights. However, such a trip does mean that you will not get to the Southern area of the country. With a few more days you could see more of the highlights of the Ecuador Andes, including many of the places already mentioned (though not all) as well as Cuenca, Ecuador’s fine southern colonial city. While such a trip does naturally include more driving time, as more of the country is visited, you are more likely to feel that you have seen as much as you can of Ecuador in a relatively short time.
If you are strapped for time, and only have a few days to spend in the Ecuador highlands, a trip focused on a particular part of the highlands region may be best. For example, focusing primarily on the Northern Andean region could be better suited to your needs. In this area you could visit the Mindo cloud forest, Otavalo’s indigenous market, the Equator, hot springs and the Cotopaxi volcano in just five days or so. On the other hand, you might decide you’d prefer to see more of what the southern Andean highlands of Ecuador have to offer, by focusing your highlands time in and around the delightful city of Cuenca. Others may have a preference for focusing on the Avenue of Volcanoes, which promises spectacular scenery and a great insight into Ecuadorian rural indigenous life. In some cases you can get a sense of how life has been lived in the Andes for centuries.
We recommend that you spend between about 8 to 10 days in the Ecuador Andean highlands region of the country. This will allow you to see the best of what this stunning, mountainous region of Ecuador has to offer, without missing out anything you might regret not seeing later. Of course, if you are in the lucky position that time is not an issue, then we’d recommend spending a lot more time in this diverse country!
Contact us today to find out how we can help in planning your Ecuador Andean highlands tour, so you get to see all the highlights. We offer tailor made and customized tours to suit your specific needs and preferences on your visit to Ecuador.