There are a lot of places in Ecuador where you can take Spanish courses. At the same time the country offers you great travel opportunities. Ecuador is a small country but very versatile. You can visit one of the many colorful markets and get acquainted with the Indian population of the Andes. Or you can meet the darker skinned people at the tropical coast. Or visit the tribes in the Amazon. In addition, Ecuador offers so much variety in nature; for example, there are over thirty volcanoes (some active!), the snow-covered tops of the Andes, jungle, beach, and don’t forget the Galapagos Islands. The Republic of Ecuador owes its name to the location right on the equator. The backbone of the country is the Andes mountain region where most of the Indian population still lives. To the east of the Andes lies the jungle of the impressive Amazon. To the west side lies the pacific coast. Visit the village of Otavalo, where one of the biggest artisans market of South America takes place on Saturdays. It’s absolutely worth it!
You can take a journey on a train straight through the jungle or climb one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, the Cotopaxi. For an absolutely unforgettable experience visit to the world-famous Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean, about 1000 kilometers from the Ecuadorian coast. This is where Darwin developed his theory of evolution. You can come into close contact with various animal species. For example, you can swim in the sea with seals while at the same time penguins rush past you. A visit to the Galapagos is costly but an incredible experience. Ecuador is the country for those who, besides their Spanish course, want to see and experience many different things in a short period of time.
- Mountain biking.
- River rafting.
- Horseback riding.
- Climb volcanoes: the highest volcano is the Cotopaxi (5897 m.).
- Salsa dance courses.
- Take a trip upon a train straight through the jungle for example from Alaui.
- Visit the jungle from Misahuallí.
- Visit an Indian market in an Andean town.
- Visit the Galapagos islands if your budget permits it.
- Visit the lesser known but because of that more original Indian villages.
- Volunteer work: if you are willing to work there are so many meaningful things you can do here.
The city of Quito, located in the Andes at an altitude of 2850 meters, is rich in history. It has been both the capital of the mighty Quitu people as well as the legendary Incas. Current day Quito is divided into two parts. In the west, you will find the old colonial part of town, El Centro. Here the original Spanish building style is still very visible, and there are impressive churches, squares, and narrow streets with typical markets. “Quito Moderno” is the new part of town located in the east. There are many outdoor cafes, which you don’t see often in any other part of South or Central America, and many restaurants. The business center is also located here. El Centro and Quito Moderno are separated by the Ejido-park. Here, on Sunday, many Ecuadorian families get together for a game of volleyball. This Indian saleswoman (see photo) we encountered in the Ejido park, with fishnet stockings and mega high heels! Yup, Ecuador is developing at a very fast paste. Quito has almost 1.5 million inhabitants. A nice hotel in the center of Quito in the trendy district of La Mariscal is Hostal Posada del Maple.
Activities in Quito
- Visit the old colonial part of Quito with its monastery, cathedral and churches.
- Climb ´El Panecillo´ (small sweet bread) and you will get an amazing view over Quito and the surrounding volcanoes.
- Visit Parque Ejido where on the weekend local families get together for a game of volleyball or to eat.
- Volunteer work.
The picturesque surfing village Montañita is located at the Pacific coast of Ecuador in the Guayas province. It is known under backpackers as a surf town: a lot of young people, very relaxed atmosphere and of course a lot of bars: the nightlife is great in Montañita! It is the perfect place to learn Spanish and chill at the same time. Not far from here you can find Isla de la Plata, also known as ‘the Galapagos of the poor’. From May through October whales pass Montañita on the way to Isla de la Plata where they spend their mating season. In those months you can see the whales even from the beach. Albatrosses circle the ocean in groups throughout the year looking for fish. The beach of Montañita has a yellow gold color. Various bars and restaurants with thatched roofs offer excellent food and refreshing drinks. For a beach destination Montañita is very cheap.
Activities in Montañita
- Visit the national park.
- Go whale spotting near the island Isla de la Plata in the season from May to September.
- Horseback riding.
- Mountain biking.
- Scuba diving.
- Kite surfing.
- Body surfing.
- Get up early and go to the beach to see the fishing boats come to shore and see the lively trade on the beach as it takes place.
- Enjoy the sunset from a hammock at the beach while sipping on a cocktail.
- Excellent night life: there are a few simple but very nice discotheques on the beach.
Manta is an important harbor city in Ecuador and has over 200.000 inhabitants. An important source of income is the tuna fishing. The tuna is sold on the street but there is also a big tuna processing industry and the canned tuna from Manta is sold all over the world. The city has an older center and a much more luxurious newer part with a couple of universities. There is an international airport; you can reach Manta from Quito with a short flight from under an hour for about $60, depending on the season and the airline. A good place to learn Spanish in a not too touristy town.
- Watersports as surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, water skiing you can do in abundance in Manta.
- Visit Bosque de Parroche, a park with howler monkeys and other animals.
- In season you can go whale spotting near Isla de la Plata May through October.
- Visit Panama hat factories in Monte Cristi.
- Visit national Park Machalilla.
- Go to the beach Santa Marianita where they do kite surfing.
Cuanca is located at an altitude of 2534 meters above sea level and has 500.000 inhabitants. It is the third biggest city of Ecuador but it still feels like you are in a small village. Cuanca has a lot of colonial buildings and small streets. It is about 3 hours away from Guayaquil in bus and a 30 minute flight from Quito. The city is situated in a wide valley and surrounded by the tops of the Andes. The city is known for its crafts, culture and traditions.
Activities in Cuenca
- Visit the national park Las Cajas.
- Located at the Plaza Abdon, you will find the new cathedral, worth a visit!
- The river Rio Tomebamba divides the old and new part of Cuanca.
- Visit the museum and archeological park Pumapungo.
- Visit the zoo: Amaru.
- Go to Ingapirca, the famous Inca excavations just outside of Cuenca.
- Visit the orchid farm, Ecuagenera.
- Visit the 70 meter high waterfalls of Giron.
- Just outside of Cuenca you can go horseback riding, bird watching and rock climbing.
Go back to the homepage to see how our site is build up into Spanish Courses, volunteer work, and travel with or without Spanish courses.
Or go back to the page with the description of Spanish courses in the different places in Ecuador.
- General: Lonely Planet Ecuador en Galápagos eilanden
- Map: Ecuador
- Vaccinations: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/ecuador
Online free Spanish Lessons:
Ecuadorian Newspaper (English):