Where in the World Is Ecuador?
Like, for starters, where is Ecuador? I mean, it’s on the equator, right? Hence the name. But doesn’t that mean it’s unbearably hot?
And is it a long way away? How do I get there and how long is the flight?
We’ll answer these and other questions you may have about this popular destination. But let’s start with the most important one.
Where Is Ecuador on a Map?
There it is! Right there on the west coast of northern South America. Between Colombia to the north and Peru to the south. The equator does pass through it, roughy ¼ of the way down, near Quito.
How Do I Get There?
Ecuador has two main airports. There’s Mariscal Sucre in Quito and Simon Bolivar in Guayaquil. Quito’s airport is new and modern. It even has an on-site hotel that’s currently being built. However, both are a bit of a hike from the city. The old airport, which was more centrally located, is now closed and is being transformed into a park.
Some travelers also fly into Guayaquil on the coast. It also has a modern international airport with all the amenities you’d expect, like restaurants and duty-free shopping. It’s only a few minutes north of the downtown area.
Once in the country, buses are plentiful and affordable. There are also a number of regional airports, including two in the Galapagos Islands, which can only be accessed via mainland Ecuador.
What Airlines Fly into Ecuador?
U.S. Airlines that offer flights to Ecuador include Delta, United, and American Airlines. TAME, an Ecuador-based airline, flies into New York City. LAN Ecuador also flies there, as well as Miami.
From the U.K., you can fly American Airlines from Heathrow to Quito. KLM will also get you to Quito from Heathrow, by way of Amsterdam.
Other airlines that fly into Ecuador from destinations throughout Latin America are Copa, Avianca, Aeromexico, Iberia, and TACA.
Do I Need a Visa to Go There?
Not unless you want to stay for more than three months. By presidential decree, citizens of any country may visit Ecuador and stay for a period of 90 days. You won’t need a visa. However, you’ll want to check with your embassy to see what other paperwork might be required. For North Americans and most European travelers, it’s usually just a passport and a copy of your return ticket.
When Is the Best Time to Go?
Because Ecuador is located on the equator, it has roughly the same weather year-round. So there’s really no bad time to visit. However, depending on the region, some seasons are a little better than others, as Ecuador’s climate varies greatly among its four distinct areas.
The coastal lowlands stay between 80 and 90 degrees. During the rainy season (December to April), you can expect a torrential downpour pretty much every day.
The Andean highlands are much cooler with daytime highs in the mid 70s. Nights can get pretty cool with lows around 50 degrees. The rainy season is the same, with April generally being the wettest month and June to September representing the driest period.
The Amazon region is probably much closer to what most people picture when they try to imagine a climate along the equator. Predominantly tropical lowland rainforest, it’s hot and humid with temps in the 80s and 90s and steady rainfall throughout the year.
It’s still popular among adventure travelers despite its challenging climate. The frequent showers make for excellent whitewater rafting and kayaking.
Despite being situated almost directly along the equator, the Galapagos Islands get some relief from the heat thanks to the cool Pacific waters. As result, they enjoy temps between the mid 60s and upper 80s with surprisingly little rainfall.
What Places in Ecuador Should I Visit?
Ecuador is jam-packed with natural wonders and cultural attractions. Here are some of the most popular spots that you won’t want to miss.
Banos is the adventure capital of Ecuador. It sits at the foot of the active Volcano Tungurahua. It’s also surrounded by a number of hot spring mineral baths.
Canoa is a beach town that hasn’t lost its appeal as primarily a laid-back fishing village.
Cotacachi is a small village that’s only 90 minutes from the capital city of Quito. It enjoys a rich cultural heritage.
Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city in the mountains that’s quickly becoming one of the most popular expat destinations in Latin America.
Esmeraldas is a cozy beach town that’s a little more laid-back but still one of the country’s most popular.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago scattered far off the country’s coast. Made famous by Charles Darwin, they’re visited by scientists and nature lovers from all over the world.
Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador. A bustling coastal town, it’s a functioning port city with a relaxed Caribbean feel.
Loja is another mountain town that’s growing in popularity. Smaller and more affordable, it’s known for its cultural importance and musical roots.
Manta is a beach town that offers coastal living combined with all the big city amenities of a modern industrial city.
Montanita is another popular beach town. Known for its surfing and nightlife, it attracts a whole host of colorful characters from all walks of life.
Otavalo is another mountain town that has retained its quaint, authentic appeal. It’s most famous for its popular textile market.
Quito is Ecuador’s capital city. Located in the mountains, it has a well-preserved historic district and a monument situated on the equator marking the “middle of the world.”
Riobamba is the gateway to Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak. It’s also the starting point of the famous train ride down the Nariz del Diablo.
Salinas is a crowded beach town that’s often dubbed the Miami of Latin America. It’s popular among locals and boasts a number of water sports.
Vilcabamba is located high in the mountains. Its water comes from melting glacier pools and is among the purest on earth, possibly contributing to the good health and longevity of its residents.
As you can tell, there’s a lot to see and do in Ecuador. It’s also one of the least expensive destinations of its kind. Now that you know how to get there, consider taking a trip to experience the sights of Ecuador firsthand.
Ecuador Fast Facts
- Population: About 15.49 million
- Typical temperature: Ecuador is known for its micro climates, learn more here.
- Major airports with U.S. flights: Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil. Complete list of airports in Ecuador.
- Nearest U.S. consulate: Quito and Guayaquil