Cojitambo

Cojitambo is one of the hidden gems of Ecuadorean tourism. This little town in the Canar province claims to have the largest Inca ruins of Ecuador. Inga Pirca is usually the only stop for people to make when looking for Inca ruins, but Cojitambo is an excellent alternative.

The ruins are not as well-reconstructed as the ones in Inga Pirca, but you can see that it once must have been an important stop for the Inca's. It is located on a strategic location. From the ruins you can see for miles. Cuenca, Biblian and Azogues are all visible from the ruins.

Cuenca

Cuenca is one of the largest cities in Ecuador and possibly the most beautiful one. Unesco already put the old city center of Cuenca on their Cultural Heritage list, considering it an important representation of colonial architecture in Latin America.

Being in Cuenca is a treat for any traveller. Eventhough it is a large city, Cuenca won't overwhelm you with busy traffic and a hectic metropolitan atmosphere.

Guaranda

Guaranda, capital of the Bolivar province and a small city of 25,000 inhabitants, is on first impressions a typical South American colonial city.

Its steep narrow streets embrace white-washed houses and colourful shops and bars, while its smiling residents, dressed in a mixture of outfits encompassing the traditional and the modern, stop to chat to one another.

What hardly anybody knows about Guaranda is that the plaza has been designed by the most famous artist of the country, Oswaldo Guayasamin.

Guayaquil

Guayaquil is the largest city of Ecuador. Eventhough it is one of the two cities in Ecuador with an international airport, not many tourists tend to stay in the harbour city for longer than they have to.

Over the years Guayaquil has been considered an ugly and dangerous city, not exactly the type of place to enjoy your holiday. However, the past two or three years the Guayaquilenos have made Guayaquil a nice to place to visit. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but some of the areas downtown have been cleaned up and are worth a visit.

Ibarra

Ibarra is the capital of Imbabura and the largest city of the province.

Ibarra has earned the nickname Ciudad Blanca (White City) during the 18th century. The city was the victim of a large epidemic and people were forced to paint their houses white to make sure the decease wouldn't spread.

Inga Pirca

These are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock. The building is constructed in the Inca way without mortar in most of the complex. The stones were carefully chiseled and fashioned to fit together perfectly. The temple of the sun was positioned so that on the solstices, at exactly the right time of day, sunlight would fall through the center of the doorway of the small chamber at the top of the temple. Most of this chamber has fallen down.

La Tolita is a small community surrounding a harbour in the riverdelta of Rio Santiago. The habitants of La Tolita make their living by fishing and agriculture and are strongly influenced by the African culture. This is easy to recognize, not only becuase of their appearance, but also by their music, traditional clothing and religion.

The national park Cotocachi-Cayapas is te Chachis, who are trying to preserve their traditional lifestyle and haven’t integrated with the black community.La Tolita has a school and a museum and electicity is available in the village. Up to the moment of writing, running water remains unavailable.

Loja

Loja may not have the historical alure of Cuenca, but it is an excellent alternative for those who don't like the busy touristy colonial city of Cuenca. Loja is a small city with a pretty, laidback colonial center.

Quito

Quito, the capital of Ecuador, was founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city and stands at an altitude of 2,850 m. Despite the 1917 earthquake, the city has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America. The monasteries of San Francisco and Santo Domingo, and the Church and Jesuit College of La Compañía, with their rich interiors, are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art.

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