(image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wurglitsch/9466325427)
This route was suggested to me by girl from Ecuador (thanks Carla), whom I met in Mexico on Dec. 10, 2017.
1st: spend 1 or 2 days in Quito: go to Centro Histórico and have a locro de papa.
Also go to La Mitad del Mundo and try some HORNADO.
You might take the city bus you’ll go around the whole city in 4 hours.
2nd: Go to Otavalo and walk around La Plaza de los Ponchos. Actually here you should try Hornado, its one of the best ones in the country (its pork).
Same day you can go to Cotacachi, its a couple hours above in the highlands… any bus will take you.
In Cotacachi you have got to try Las Carnes Coloradas its their dish and its meat.
Also go to Laguna Yaguarcocha and Cuicocha - both lakes very pretty sight.
3rd: another day you could go to Baños, its very touristy with many sports activities available by the waterfalls and rivers - just make sure you go in a weekday, not the weekend, it gets too crowded
4th: same thing with Thermas of Papallacta, go on a weekday. Its volcanic natural pools -this is my personal favorite. Make sure you alternate between hot and polar pools, youll feel like a God!
5th: go to the beach. You should try Manabí ir Esmeraldas, its a 5 hour bus from Quito
By the way Baños is a 5 hour bus from Quito. And Papallacta 3.
Otavalo is a 3 hour bus from Quito.
6th: finally you could go to the Amazom. Puyo or Tena, both are beautifully gifted with rivers and waterfalls.
Oooops! I forgot the main attractions: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo -the volcanoes. That you do early in the morning parting from Quito.
And thats what I would recommend from Ecuador the most
Of course were not talking about Galápagos which is a whole different ride.