... & the Galapagos Islands
Ecuador is a country with a rich history, culture, amazing landscapes, friendly people & delicious food. Ecuador highlights are the lush green foothills, dense rainforests, age-old cities, indigenous markets, verdant jungle with its diverse flora and fauna, and of course the unique and World Heritage Galapagos Islands.
One of Ecuador’s favourite attractions is its food. You can taste and enjoy the freshest and most complete variety of common and exotic fruits and vegetables, many of which are available only at these latitudes.
Hotels range from privately owned boutique hotels and traditional colonial haciendas to international hotels.
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Where to go in Ecuador
Quito, capital city and UNESCO heritage site, is situated in the highlands of Ecuador and surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. Quito, is actually two distinct cities; the old city which contains all the historic buildings and the new city which boasts many varied hotels, bars, cafes and excellent restaurants that offer not only typical but also international and ethnic cuisine.
On the outskirts of Quito, you will find the "Middle of the Earth" equatorial monument, located precisely at latitude 0º 0’ 0".
Colonial Cities and Markets
The impressive Andean highlands are home to historical colonial towns of Riobamba and Ingapirca and the beautiful city of Cuenca, rich in history and filled with elegant reminders of its colonial past through its beautiful churches and architecture.
With a market for every day of the week, one cannot miss the opportunity to experience the colourful and fascinating Indian markets. The most important markets can be found in Otavalo, Saquisilí, Pujilí, Ambato and Salasaca. Traditional offerings include weavings, thick wool sweaters, handmade tagua jewelry and other one-of-a-kind items.
Drive along the Avenue of the Volcanoes with its 11 snowy peaks , including the Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo volcanoes.
Stay in a colonial hacienda in the highlands from where you can climb Cotopaxi volcano (or just admire it from afar), go trekking, cycling, horse riding or simply enjoy the beauty of the surrounding scenery.
Ecuador boasts some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities and comfortable lodges in the Amazon. Take a jungle trip to see butterflies, sloths, monkeys, parrots and many other species of birds, and lots of other wildlife… not to mention beautiful orchids.
The Galapagos Islands
Experience the marvellous wonders of the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, where you can walk amongst incredibly tame birds and swim and snorkel with sea lions.
Choose between intimate small yachts, cruise ships for larger groups or one of the islands’ hotels for a few days of island hopping.
When to go
Quito and the highlands have lovely spring-like weather most of the year round although the nights can be cold.
The dry season runs from July to September with temperatures around 20ºC during the day dropping to around 8ºC at night. It is more humid and hotter on the coast with the dry season running from May to December and average temperatures of 32ºC.
The weather in the Amazon jungle is hot and humid throughout the year.
The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination, with wildlife to be seen throughout the year and different bird species breeding at different times. The rainy season is from January to May but it is also the sunniest time of year and the ocean is at its warmest and calmest, ideal for snorkelling.
Where to go next
Ecuador and Peru combine well together and it is just a 2.5 hour flight between Quito and Lima.
On a typical 12-14 day itinerary you can experience Quito and the Galapagos Islands as well as Lima, Cusco and the famous ruins of Machu Picchu.
Map of Ecuador
Valid passport required.
For the latest visa info, see: www.VisaHQ.co.uk
Always check with your doctor or medical centre in advance of travelling.
For current vaccination recommendations see: