Are you wondering why you should take a solo travel tour in Ecuador? They say that the best way to know a person is to travel with them. Interestingly, the best way to know yourself is to travel… by yourself. While this may sound easy, especially coming from our current self-sufficient, independent mindset, in practice it can be a real challenge. Oftentimes, it’s much harder than we anticipated. Where you decide to go can make or break your experience and, in the following, we’ll discuss why you should consider planning a solo travel tour in Ecuador.
If you’re a woman, please also read this blog on solo female travelers which includes tips on traveling safely through Ecuador (and elsewhere!).
Reasons to take a solo travel tour
In many cultures, there comes a time when a young adult must undertake a solo journey as a rite of passage. In Australian Aboriginal society, the walkabout requires adolescent men to live in the wilderness for months at a time, thereby spiritually transitioning into manhood. In modern society, these rites of passage no longer really exist. We define our own life milestones based on personal experiences or, sometimes, even trauma.
My point is this: since we don’t have these traditional rites of passage anymore that reveal ourselves to ourselves, helping us grow as an individual, we’ve discovered something else that does essentially the same thing. It’s called solo traveling.
People solo travel to discover their individuality, instead of letting other people, the people that surround them on a daily basis (like friends and family), define it. When you’re traveling alone, you decide what you want to do, eat and where you want to sleep. You decide whether you want to socialize or not, whether you can trust a stranger or your own intuition.
As you travel alone, you start feeling the things we all too often avoid on a daily basis, like loneliness and tragedy. The hours on a bus, canoe or bike give us the headspace we need to contemplate, process and grow. Some people go to therapy, some people drink ayahuasca, and some people just do a solo travel tour.
That said, there are likely many people that solo travel just to prove they can travel alone and be alone, or to prove they’re adventurous and worldly. Fortunately, despite their silly motivations, they’ll probably learn a thing or two about themselves in the process.
Why is Ecuador a great choice for a solo travel tour?
Ecuador is a great choice for a solo travel tour! Here you will find all our reasons to choose Ecuador as your next solo travel destination.
Given its relatively small size (in comparison to other South American countries like Colombia and Peru), travel time on public transport is reduced. As a solo traveler, this matters! Instead of spending 12+ hours alone on a bus for every leg of your journey, you can, instead, focus on enjoying your final destination.
Similarly, travel in Ecuador is convenient. Since many Ecuadorians travel to the larger provincial cities for work, there are literally buses to every corner of the country and public buses are cheap! We’re talking $1-2 per hour traveled.
If you’re traveling alone, you don’t have to worry about securing an additional 3-4 travel companions to secure transport to a destination, just hop on a bus.
That said, traveling by bus in Ecuador has its pitfalls. Security can be a concern and, if you don’t speak Spanish, it can get confusing, especially when there are cancellations and detours. In that case, Wanderbus is a great alternative. Not to mention our passes hit all the top destinations in the country.
Meet other solo travelers
While the purpose of your journey might be to get some alone time, we can only be alone for so long! One of the best parts of traveling is meeting new people, learning from and sharing with them along the way.
Given the perks of travel in Ecuador, like the short distances and other conveniences (have I mentioned we use the dollar?), it’s a popular destination for solo travelers. This means that you’ll likely bump into another solo traveler along your journey and befriend them. This is especially true on the Wanderbus, which tends to attract like-minded individuals.
Our recommendations for a solo travel tour in Ecuador
Many people that visit Ecuador dedicate about a week to either the Galápagos or the Amazon rainforest and leave a few days (or more) to explore the rest of the mainland. While it’s relatively quick and easy to explore the country, we recommend setting aside about 7 days to explore the Andes, cloud forest, and the coastal region. Here are a few ideas for your solo travel tour in Ecuador.
A hanful of days available
If you only have a handful of days available to explore Ecuador’s mainland (many people dedicate a week to the Galápagos or Amazon and then a week to the mainland), consider starting Quito, visiting some of the Andean highlights like Cotopaxi and Quilotoa and then heading to Baños before returning to Quito. You can follow this exact route on our Jacamar Pass.
About a week to explore Ecuador
If you have more time available (7-8) days, you can explore more regions of the country by starting in Quito, moving towards Cuenca and ending in Montañita. Along the way to Cuenca, you can stop through Cotopaxi and Quilotoa, Baños, and indigenous towns like Ozogoche, not to mention Cajas National Park – a must-see on the outskirts of Cuenca. Then, between Cuenca and Montañita, where the Andes transition into coastal forest, stop through a cacao farm and pass through Guayaquil before reaching Montañita, a beach bum, surfer and party-goer’s paradise!
Plenty of time to visit Ecuador
Finally, if you really want to see it all, consider looping around the entire country, hitting the Andes, cloud forest, and coast. Note that you won’t have time to stay in the Amazon region, though you can stop through the tropical town of Baños. This route is only possible if you have around 11 days to spare.
The route begins and ends in Quito, winding its way to the larger cities like Cuenca and Guayaquil, with multiple stops along the trajectory. As in the previously recommended routes, these stops include Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, Baños, Ozogoche, Cajas and Montañita – but instead of heading back to Quito after Montañita, you follow the coast up to Puerto López. Here, you can enjoy Ecuador’s best beaches like Los Frailes, before continuing to the cloud forest paradisiacal town of Mindo to finally close the loop in Quito.
What I just described happens to be our best-selling Wanderbus pass and you can view the loop and its corresponding itinerary on our passes page. Please note that all our trips are guided and include the cost of activities. If you don’t choose Wanderbus, you can undertake the route on your own using regular buses.
Do you have more specific questions about routes and destinations for your trip? Feel free to send us a question in the comments section below.