From the towering Andes to volcanic Galápagos, uncover the best of South America in Ecuador
The soundtrack to Ecuador is like a collection of South America's greatest hits; the crunch of leaves under foot as an exotic animal wakes from its afternoon slumber, the piercing cries of colourful birds in the misty Amazon, the bellows of far-off smoldering volcanoes and the rhythmic clatter of sluggish trains rumbling along rickety mountain-side tracks. There's the gentle ripple of Pacific coast waves lapping a tranquil golden beach, the flutter of pigeon wings in a leafy colonial era square, the hauntingly beautiful harmonies of traditional Andean music and the hustle and bustle of markets in sleepy hillside villages. Ecuador brings together everything the continent does best into one neat little package, teeming with wildlife, decorated with colonial gems and packed with miles upon miles of verdant rainforest. Best of all though, are the magnificent Galápagos Islands waiting to be discovered offshore, taking you closer to nature than you ever thought possible.
For nature lovers and birdwatchers, there are few better places in the world to indulge your passion than Ecuador, and in particular the Galapagos Island archipelago, home to a bizarre collection of colourful creatures...Learn More
For nature lovers and birdwatchers, there are few better places in the world to indulge your passion than Ecuador, and in particular the Galapagos Island archipelago, home to a bizarre collection of colourful creatures...
The Galápagos Islands have many weird and wonderful inhabitants, including multi-coloured marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs, the blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, as well as flamingos, penguins, pelicans and many more bird species. The most emblematic of all Galapagos animals though are the endangered and often reclusive giant Galápagos tortoises.
What makes the islands so special though isn't just the sheer number of animals that inhabit them and their often extraordinary aspect, but also how astonishingly tame just about all are, completely comfortable in the presence of humans and sometimes seemingly oblivious to their presence. This makes the Galapagos one of the very best places on earth in which to observe and photograph wildlife.
Back on the mainland, the Amazon is home to jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, monkeys, dolphins, macaws and toucans, whilst the lesser-known coastal Machalilla National Park is a fantastic place for birdwatching and sealife, earning it a reputation as a mini-Galapagos.
Primavera - Take an unforgettable trip across Ecuador, from the mysterious Amazon and its colourful birds to the Galapagos Islands to get closer to nature than you ever thought possible
The high altitude Andean highland region runs right through the heart of the country, charactarised by snowcapped mountain peaks, immense volcanoes and traditional agriculture. It is also home to the country’s capital Quito...Learn More
The high altitude Andean highland region runs right through the heart of the country, charactarised by snowcapped mountain peaks, immense volcanoes and traditional agriculture. It is also home to the country’s capital Quito...
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 road South of Quito is known as the Avenue of Volcanoes, and passes through the highlands between towering peaks, past the Cotopaxi National Park and indigenous villages and towns. 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 cobbled 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.
Bellavista - Travel from Quito to Cuenca, via the Avenue of Volcanoes and ride the Devil's Nose Railway
The world’s largest rainforest dominates the Eastern half of Ecuador, but despite its immense scale, it is easily accessed from the capital Quito...Learn More
The world’s largest rainforest dominates the Eastern half of Ecuador, but despite its immense scale, it is easily accessed from the capital Quito...
Upon arrival, visitors canoe along narrow creeks to their eco-lodges or cabins within the heart of the Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve, perhaps the most bio-diverse place on earth. Here there are hundreds of varieties of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals, plus thousands of different plant and tree species.
Days are spent visiting local Amazonian tribes to learn about their traditions and lifestyle and exploring the jungle with expert guides, helping to place this enormous place into context as they lead you on jungle hikes and identify the resident bird-life in the thick forest canopies. For those looking for a more relaxing experience, you can drift down the Napo river on a beautiful riverboat.
Manatee Cruise - Cruise the Amazon at a slow pace aboard this magnificent riverboat, stopping to hike and canoe en-route along the Napo river
The perfect starting point for planning your trip
" White-fronted spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth), Amazon, Ecuador " by Dallas Krentzel - licensed under CC BY
The Esmeralda Tour
13 Day Itinerary from £2162
Explore the distinct Amazon, Andean Mountains and Pacific coast with unique island wildlife
Quito - Amazon River Cruise - Machalilla - GuayaquilView Tour
Explore Ecuador's popular location and hidden gems for
Where to Visit
White-fronted spider monkey (Ateles belzebuth), Amazon, Ecuador by Dallas Krentzel - licensed under CC
Trips here are offer combination a combination of wildlife spotting, endless beautiful scenery and cultural discoveries.Learn More
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