From alpine lakes to Incan ruins to the pulse of the big city, Cuenca - Salinas has something for everyone.
Take a note on this, guys. There are actually two routes west from Cuenca, but the one you want for more scenic beauty is through Las Cajas, a park of alpine trails amid stunning lagoons and lakes. Continue further west and you come to Molleturo, a small community with some quiet and lonely Inca ruins, including vestiges of a pyramid, two complexes, temple grounds, and a plaza.
Duran, just on the other side of the bridge from Guayaquil, is the place where you want to catch the train to Yaguachi, which is a feast for the eyes for bird lovers. Yaguachi is also an important local shrine for pilgrimages.
Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil, holds much in store, but the best bets are the Riverfront (Malecón Simón Bolívar), the playful and colorful Barrio Las Peñas district, and the sprawling Parque Histórico de Guayaquil which is a world of its own urban and forest reserves. A second boardwalk (Malecon del Salado) is less touristed and popular with the university crowd. Hang out with iguanas at a park in front of the Cathedral.
PUCON - PUYEHUE
This is one of many routes you can take through Chile's enchanting woodlands and alpine forests that intentionally transport you to scenes straight out Bavaria and Switzerland, because those are the very persons who have immigrated here and their cultural icons with them to blend in with Chilean culture.
Pucon is a great place to start, and you may never leave. It is hugely popular, and beause of that, makes sure to provide an endless amount of entertainment, adventures, hikes
Too often I hear of travelers not even thinking there is a Bolivia east of La Paz, or a Bolivia that has a jungle. Bolivia is a HUGE country with many different climates and histories and cultures, and this route will treat you to some rich and exotic experiences that are very different from the routes of the high Andes.
This route I'm recommending is also a bit unusual in that it's neither the most straight or efficient way to get from A to B, and there are many different ways to get to Trinidad.
TALTAL - LA SERENA
Start your journey in Taltal, a quaint seaside town that is home to several national monuments from its 19th-century railroad days, giving the town a preserved European flair. Particularly interesting are the old buildings made from Oregon Pine that were built starting in 1882 for the Taltal Railway Company. Visit the Club Taltal to see old historical letters and photos of the region.
Head south for some extraordinary outdoor hiking and/or camping, first hitting Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar
This is a great bus trip for day trips if you're staying on the beach in Ilo and looking for things to do, or coming across the border from Argentina to get a feel for Peru without going very far. The general climate is desert with wide open skies, and it is also known for its immense wetlands (birding) and vineyards.
In and around Ilo, I would recommend the museum of the Chiribaya people at El Algarrobal just outside of town to the northeast, as this was the foundational culture that inhabited the area