12 days in Ecuador Itinerary

12 days in Ecuador Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Ecuador Itinerary

Start: Minneapolis
Fly:  10 h 45 min
1
Quito
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
2
Banos
— 2 nights
+2
Bus + Taxi + Fly:  5 h
3
Cuenca
— 2 nights
+2
Fly + Shuttle + Ferry:  6 h 30 min
4
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
+3
Bus + Ferry + Shuttle + Fly:  20 h 45 min
End: Minneapolis

3
nights
Quito

Quito ©
High in the Andean foothills, Quito remains one of the world's most photogenic capital cities, featuring two dramatic mountain ranges as its backdrop.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Casa del Alabado and Pasochoa Forest Reserve. Step out of the city life by going to Maquipucuna Reserve and Termas de Papallacta. The adventure continues: get outside with Outdoor Activities, admire the masterpieces at San Francisco Museum and Convent (Museo Fray Pedro Gocial), admire the striking features of Fundacion Iglesia de la Compania, and look for gifts at Bigalli Hats.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Quito travel route planner.

Minneapolis, USA to Quito is an approximately 11-hour flight. You can also do a combination of shuttle and flight. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time (CST) to Ecuador Time (ECT), which is usually a 1 hour difference. Traveling from Minneapolis in December, things will get much warmer in Quito: highs are around 72°F and lows about 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to drive to Banos.

Things to do in Quito

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Termas de Papallacta
Highlights from your plan
Fundacion Iglesia de la Compania ©
Fundacion Iglesia de la Compania
Maquipucuna Reserve ©
Maquipucuna Reserve
Pasochoa Forest Reserve ©
Pasochoa Forest Reserve

2
nights
Banos

A trip to Banos, a relatively small town in the picturesque Andean highlands, ensures plenty of chances for outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking, climbing, canyoning, and mountain biking.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): take in the dramatic scenery at Cascada el Manto de la Novia, then fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, then get outside with Canopy double puerta del cielo, and finally get great views at La Casa del Arbol. On the 3rd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the natural beauty of El Salado and then grab your bike and head to Ruta de las cascadas.

To find ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Banos trip planner .

You can drive from Quito to Banos in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Cuenca.

Things to do in Banos

Outdoors Parks Nature
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Cascada el Manto de la Novia ©
Cascada el Manto de la Novia
Ruta de las cascadas ©
Ruta de las cascadas

2
nights
Cuenca

Cuenca ©
Packed with impressive colonial architecture and a historic town center, Cuenca stands as perhaps the most charming city in the nation.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Sat): trek along Parador Turistico El Chorro de Giron, explore the wealth of natural beauty at El Cajas National Park, then view the masterpieces at MAKI FairTrade, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at El Carmen de la Asuncion Church, and finally don't miss a visit to Plaza de las flores. Here are some ideas for day two: view the masterpieces at Eduardo Vega Galeria Taller and then admire the sheer force of El Chorro Waterfall.

To find traveler tips, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read Cuenca road trip planner .

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Banos to Cuenca takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 73°F, and evening lows to 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Puerto Ayora.

Things to do in Cuenca

Parks Shopping Nature

Side Trips

El Chorro Waterfall, Parador Turistico El Chorro de Giron
Highlights from your plan
El Cajas National Park ©
El Cajas National Park
Eduardo Vega Galeria Taller ©
Eduardo Vega Galeria Taller
El Carmen de la Asuncion Church ©
El Carmen de la Asuncion Church

3
nights
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

Puerto Ayora ©
The largest settlement in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora offers visitors to the islands an array of facilities and things to do.
Discover out-of-the-way places like North Seymour Island and Galeria Aymara. Step out of the city life by going to Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station. It doesn't end there: cast your line with a fishing tour and stroll through El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve.

To find more things to do, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Puerto Ayora trip itinerary builder app .

You can do a combination of flight and ferry from Cuenca to Puerto Ayora in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, flight, and ferry. Traveling from Cuenca in January, you will find days in Puerto Ayora are a bit warmer (84°F), and nights are warmer (74°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) so you can catch the ferry to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Things to do in Puerto Ayora

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Santa Cruz, North Seymour Island
Highlights from your plan
Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay ©
Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay
Fishing Charters & Tours
Charles Darwin Research Station ©
Charles Darwin Research Station

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