Within a tiny country we find a wealth of diversity: Andean Market towns and the Avenue of Volcanoes, the Amazon Rainforest & The Magnificent Galapagos Islands
Ecuador, named for its location on the Equator, seems to have it all, despite its diminutive size. With stunning Spanish colonial cities, indigenous villages with weekly local markets, the dense jungle of the Amazon rainforest, breathtaking peaks of the Andes, and the ecological marvel of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is almost a microcosm of South America. The volcanic archipelago of the Galapagos Islands is truly its greatest treasure, with a huge diversity of unique wildlife that remains friendly to humans. While the Galapagos may be a big attraction for visitors, mainland Ecuador is also worth exploring with its stunning mountain vistas, colonial history, traditional communities and vibrant local culture.
Ecuador has its own section of the legendary Amazon rainforest, home to hundreds species of mammals, thousands of birds and insects, many endemic to Ecuador. Ancient trees, some over 400 years old, tower above, entangled with thick lianas and supporting a huge variety of bromeliads. Wildlife apart, this is also a cultural experience, where we meet local communities who share their intricate knowledge of their surroundings, the medicinal properties of plants and their unique relationship with the jungle. There are a selection of Amazon Lodges and River Cruises which will allow you to get deep into this unique ecosystem.
Remote villages and colourful Indigenous markets rest among the soaring cones of snowcapped volcanoes, such as the famous town of Otavalo to the north of Quito, whose weekly Saturday market is one of the largest in Ecuador. Visitors can observe the hustle and bustle of the town as farmers and country workers flock in to sell vegetables, meat, livestock or beautifully woven or wood-carved handicrafts. The towns and people retain a distinctive identity with fascinating blends of Inca and colonial influences, and many can be visited as a day-trip from Quito.
The road South of Quito is known as the 'Avenue of Volcanoes', and passes through the highlands between towering snow-capped peaks, past the Cotopaxi National Park, indigenous villages and towns such as Ambato, Latacunga and Riobamba. At Alausi you can ride on the 'Devil's Nose' railway, an incredible feat of engineering providing an amazing journey descending the steep mountainsides on a series of switchbacks.
The Avenue of Volcanoes ends with Cuenca, a beautiful colonial city founded in 1557. Its cobbles streets, towering cathedrals, magnificent churches and wide plazas are second only to Quito's, while its year-round spring climate make it the perfect places to spend a few days strolling and enjoying the city's more relaxed ambience.
This stunning archipelago, Darwin's living laboratory of evolution, provides unique opportunities for viewing wildlife at close range. We offer a wide range of Cruises to suit all tastes and budgets, and which offer the best way of seeing the different islands.
The Galapagos Islands have inspired botanists and nature-lovers alike. Charles Darwin visited in 1835 and declared "remarkable; it seems to be a little world within itself." The islands are made up of the tops of volcanoes and flourishing with endemic species of plant, fish and reptile. During July, August and September the sea is cooler and possibly choppy and the weather more likely to be windy. The Galapagos National Park is dedicated to the preservation of this unique habitat and visits are carefully co-ordinated with fixed itineraries (licensed by the park authorities) for each boats so that the number of visitors at each site is carefully controlled.
Itineraries of Ecuador
Find inspiration from these pre-fabricated itineraries, all of which are 100% tailorable to match your personal interests and travel preferences. Start planning your journey with our expert advisors, for first-hand advice and specialist inspiration.
The Pichincha Tour - Ecuador
Private - 14 Nights from £4197
This tour includes the Amazon rainforest, a Galapagos cruise to experience the stunning friendly wildlife and an insight into the colonial charm of Quito, high in the mountains.
Quito - Amazon Lodge - Quito - Galápagos Cruise
The Primavera Tour - Ecuador
Private - 21 Nights from £5267
Close encounters with friendly wildlife on the Galapagos Islands cruise and experience fascitating cultures in the exuberant rainforest and by the volcanoes on the Andean mountains.
Quito - Amazon Lodge - Quito - Riobamba - Cuenca - Quito - Galápagos Cruise
The Bellavista Tour - Ecuador
Private - 14 Nights from £4191
Visit the colonial villages with local markets, along the Avenue of Volcanoes, in the Andean mountains. Take a cruise in the Galapagos Islands to observe the abundant friendly wildlife.
Quito - Galapagos Cruise - Quito - Riobamba - Cuenca - Quito
The Esmeralda Tour - Ecuador
Private - 13 Nights from £2890
We explore the exuberant rainforest from the comfort of a boat travelling on the Napo River. admire Andean landscapes and the Pacific coast with Isla Plata teeming with wildlife.
Quito - Amazon River Cruise - Machalilla - Guayaquil
The Ninos Galapagos - Ecuador
Private - 11 Nights from £3,116
Quito - Galapagos Cruise
The Darwin Tour - Ecuador
Private - 9 Nights from £3646
Visit local markets in colonial villages along the Avenue of Volcanoes amongst the majestic in the Andean mountains before embarking on a cruise in the Galapagos Islands to observe the fearless wildlife.
Quito - Galapagos Cruise
The Encantada Tour
Landmark - 17 Nights from £4,984
Countries: Ecuador Peru
Quito - Galapagos Cruise - Lima - Cusco - Machu Picchu -
Quito - Galapagos Cruise - Lima - Cusco - Machu Picchu - Cusco
The Libertador Tour
Landmark - 16 Nights from £5059
Countries: Peru Ecuador
Lima - Lake Titicaca/Puno - Cusco - Machu Picchu - Cusco - Quito
- Galapagos Cruise
Lima - Lake Titicaca/Puno - Cusco - Machu Picchu - Cusco - Quito - Galapagos Cruise
Where to Visit in Ecuador
Select a location to find out more about where to stay and what to do in each of these fascinating places. If where you are looking to visit is not mentioned please contact a specialist advisor as these are only some of the hand-picked places we have visitied.