There could hardly be a better stopover on the way to South America than the iconic Miami Beach, also known as the American Riviera. Sunbathe during the day and go out and enjoy South Beach’s colourful nightlife in the evening. Little Havana and the Wynwood Art District, with its countless galleries and a booming street art scene, are especially worth seeing.
If you have time, take a tour of the nearby Everglades National Park. On a three-and-a-half-hour adventure tour you’ll see the best side of Florida’s paradisiacal wilderness. Enjoy a ride in an airboat through the park, see exotic animal species like alligators, and watch an entertaining and informative wildlife show. The tour costs only 39 euros, including pick-up/drop-off, transfer, and entrance fees.
Stay in Miami Beach for only 17 euros in an eight-bed dorm.
First stop in Ecuador is Quito, the second-highest capital in the world. Flights from Miami start at 200 euros.
The historic old town has traditional colonial buildings, over 100 churches and 55 monasteries. The equator runs just 20 kilometres north of the metropolis. Take a trip to the Mitad del Mundo monument and take the unique opportunity to walk along the equator. Quito is surrounded by 14 volcanoes, four of which are still active.
From the city, you have a magnificent view of the Cotopaxi National Park. The best way to explore it is on a tour. A drive along the Pan-American Highway gives you a spectacular view of the mountain landscape of the Andes. Experience the fascination of the mighty active Cotopaxi volcano. This day full of adventure costs only 55 euros per person including transfer, tour guide and equipment.
In Quito, you have the option of staying in a hostel for 19 euros in a two-bed room.
Continue your journey and head into the huge Amazon rainforest. You can get from Quito to Lago Agrio for only 12 euros.
At Lago Agrio, we recommend a four-day jungle tour. You’ll start your personal jungle adventure with a guide in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. You’ll learn about the unique flora and fauna of the rainforest, take a boat trip on the Cuyabeno River, camp in the wilderness, discover hidden waterfalls, and hike through the legendary jungle landscape.
Including accommodation, transportation, food and all excursions, these four days in the Amazon will cost about 256 euros per person.
From Lago Agrio we take the bus to Baños.
The small valley town is surrounded by green mountains at the foot of the active volcano Tungurahua and is a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts and adventurers. Activities such as rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, canyoning or bungee jumping are available here at reasonable prices.
There are numerous viewing platforms and waterfalls to discover in the surrounding area - the impressive Pailon del Diablo is particularly worth seeing. The full name Baños de Agua Santa translates as "Baths of the Holy Water". Around the town there are numerous natural hot springs where you can relax after an exciting day. Baños also has a well-kept zoological garden.
For six euros a night, you can stay in a five-bed room in one of the hostels.
The next stop is Cuenca. From Baños, you can travel to Ecuador's third-largest city for about nine euros.
The Tomebamba River divides the city into two halves. To the north is the historic old town with its magnificent churches and colonial houses. On the southern side is the city centre with modern architecture. The landmarks of the former Inca city are two churches facing each other - the New Cathedral and the Old Cathedral.
There are numerous markets, such as the flower market and the farmers' market. At the popular handicraft market, you can see the impressive production of the traditional Panama hats, because of which Cuenca is also known as the city of the Panama hat. We also recommend a trip to the nearby El Cajas National Park, which impresses with picturesque mountain landscapes, idyllic lakes, lagoons and exotic animal species.
In Cuenca, an overnight stay in a hostel costs seven euros in a dorm room.
From the mountain town, a bus takes you to Montañita for around 13 euros.
The coastal town attracts visitors with its relaxed hippie flair and white sandy beaches. Here, you can sunbathe, rent a surfboard or drink delicious cocktails in one of the numerous beach bars. If you have had enough of the serenity of the seaside resort, you can plunge into the legendary nightlife after sunset - Montañita is considered the party metropolis of Ecuador.
In the surroundings of Montañita, there are untouched nature reserves, mountain landscapes and dream beaches like Playa de Olón to discover. Near the beach, you can stay in one of the hostels for six euros per night in a 4-bed dorm.
Just north of Montañita is the coastal town of Puerto López. A bus ride to the small seaside town will cost you two euros.
Here, you’ll find the perfect mix of relaxation, action, and South American culture. Relax on the picturesque sandy beaches, visit traditional salsa bars, and enjoy fresh local specialities. We also recommend an excursion to Playa de los Frailes, the most beautiful beach in the area, and a boat trip to Isla de la Plata, where you can watch humpback whales, giant turtles, and blue-footed boobies.
Stay overnight in Puerto López in a seven-bed dorm for 15 euros per night.
From Puerto López, you’ll be driven back to Quito for 20 euros. Spend a few more days in the city to finish off your South America trip.
After three unforgettable weeks at the Navel of the World, fly from Quito via Miami back home.