Ecuador & The Galapagos

Ecuador & The Galapagos

Andean Beauty and Darwin's Inspiration

Discover wildlife like nowhere else on earth, and the beauty of the volcanoes

 

Situated on the Equator from which it takes its name, Ecuador is a small yet fascinating country, while the natural abundance of the Galapagos has drawn people for decades.

One of South America’s biggest attraction the wildlife viewing opportunities of the Galapagos Islands are like nothing else you can find from earth. Accessible only from Ecuador, this small Latin nation is well worth taking the time to explore as well.

Quito is the Ecuadorean capital and where nearly all trips to the country will begin, boasting a beautiful colonial old town, and impressive vistas of towering volcanoes the city is well worth dedicated a couple of days to. The city boast numerous museums and picturesque plazas as well as some lovely boutique hotels from which to enjoy your stay. A short distance from the capital are a number of Hacienda’s – traditional ranches brimming in colonial history, boasting rooms visited by such historic luminaries as Simon Bolivar.

Outside of the capital, the main draws of the mainland include the beautiful Andean Cloud Forest where birdwatching and the natural world play centre stage as you discover a unique eco system shrouded in cloud. Also well worth the visit is the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ a stunning area dominated by the evocatively named volcanoes of Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, this is a land of sublime altiplanic scenery. A well-established tourist route winds a path through this region and includes visiting the famous market at Otavalo and the picturesque colonial town of Cuenca, before ending at the port town of Guayaquil.

Guayaquil, is perhaps best known as the gateway to the Galapagos, being one of two places (Quito the other) from which flights to the Galapagos depart, and visiting the Galapagos is a must do on any Ecuadorean and indeed global bucket lists. This archipelago sits some 500 miles west of the mainland and comprises 21 islands of varying sizes, all of which possess many endemic species. The islands became world famous mainly thanks to the work of Charles Darwin who visited on the Beagle, the observations made on the Galapagos contributed to his theory of evolution from which our understanding of the natural world today was formed.

The entire archipelago is today a national park, and the range of species found across them is still incredible. The small human footprint means species are yet to be overrun by human activities and this creates an area unlike anywhere on earth with the opportunity to see diverse species up close in their natural habitat. The isolation of the islands has also meant that the islands are home to unique species seen nowhere else on earth. There’s almost no end to the discoveries you can make during your holiday in the Galapagos. Snorkel with white-tipped sharks and manta rays and come face-to-face with sea lions, turtles, and pelicans. Trek the circumference of the Volcán Sierra Negra, or visit the famous giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

What is important to remember that each island within the archipelago has different species present, and not all species are present on all islands. It is for this reason that we highly recommend taking a cruise as the best way to experience the islands, this allows you to visit as many islands as possible. Itineraries are heavily regulated by the Ecuadorean authorities to preserve the wildlife and islands, so make sure you fully discuss with us how best to create you perfect trip.

To find out more about our luxury Ecuador and Galapagos holidays, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced and helpful team. We can be reached by phone or our online enquiry form and will be more than happy to help you create the perfect holiday itinerary.

What's here?

 

Highlights

  • 1

    Two quite distinct destinations but with a similar feel, these are wonderful destinations for those keen on wildlife and in particular bird life. The Cloud Forest is a unique region possessing a range of species that may or may not be fond in the Amazon, while experiences into the Amazon itself allow you to discover a unique world and the people who inhabit it, be it by staying in a lodge or on a river cruise.

  • 2

    Explore and area of outstanding natural beauty, this prime example of classic Andean Altiplano is home to numerous volcanoes such as the legendary Cotopaxi, they form the backdrop to a range of national parks. The greater region is also home to some fascinating towns and cities such Cuenca, as well as highly traditional markets such as Otavalo which draws visitors from across the globe

  • 3

    Haciendas are the Ecuadorean version of ranches, and there are numerous historical versions of these which provide a relaxing place to stay for a few days. They are often still working ranches and often have been owned by the same family for years, which creates a truly historic accommodation option. Usually not far outside Quito these are ideal for a few days rest and relaxation before the excitement of a Galapagos cruise

  • 4

    Quito is the Ecuadorean Capital and also the entrance point for the vast majority of visitors to the country, rightly so many spend a couple of days here exploring the picturesque nature of its colonial heart. Expect bustling plazas and pretty cobbled streets. Its also right on the equator meaning a visit to the middle of the world is a must

Our Destination Specialists

 

our destination specialist

Jessica Jones Specialist area: Caribbean & Indian Ocean 19 years in travel industry
Paul Jones Specialist area: Asia & Indo-China 20 years in travel industry
Julie Crump Specialist area: Africa 32 years in travel industry

Have you ever wondered about the team behind your holiday? Our expert team are always on hand and invite you to give them a call to discuss your perfect holiday with Azure.


We are passionate about travel and that passion drives our desire to ensure you have your perfect holiday every time. Our promise to you is your best ever tailor-made holiday

01244 322770
Opening Hours
  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday 9:30 am to 1pm
  • Sunday Closed

travel information

Find out the essentials before you go.

  •  
    Destination

    Ecuador & The Galapagos

  •  
    Time Difference

    GMT - 5

  •  
    Flight Duration

    16 hours (indirect)

  •  
    Language(s)

    Spanish

  •  
    Capital

    Quito

  •  
    Currency

    US Dollar

  •  
    Best Time To Travel

    Ecuador: May – September, Galapagos: Year Round

  •  
    Visa Needed

    UK passport holders do not require a visa

  •  
    Combines Well With

    Peru

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