Ecuador may be best known for the Galapagos Islands, located 600 miles west of the mainland. A bucket list destination for many, the Galapagos archipelago is known for its topography and a number of fascinating creatures such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises, sea turtles, dolphins, penguins, sea lions, blue footed boobies, frigate birds, comorants, and albatross.
On the mainland, Ecuador promises a variety of experiences well beyond the islands. Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is an ancient colonial city founded in the 16th century and the second largest city in Ecuador. Steep, narrow streets and sidewalks wind through colorful neighborhoods, past green spaces of parks and community squares that create a lively atmosphere for exploration. Further afield are Ecuador’s jungles and cloud forests of the Chocò region, as well as haciendas scattered in the mountains and valleys offering unique wildlife and outdoor adventures.
What's To Love in Ecuador
Galapagos by Land or Sea
Aboard an expedition-style vessel or private yacht, explore the outer islands of the Galapagos archipelago with specialized naturalist guides and activities centered around interacting with the wildlife and natural habitat. Alternatively, a stay at one of the luxury lodges or tented camps on Santa Cruz Island offers an opportunity to take part in land based exploration as well as day tripping to surrounding islands.
Stay in a Hacienda
Visit the Highlands, the farming region east of Quito, where a number of haciendas built in the 16th and 17th centuries have been renovated as hotels to welcome quests seeking the solitude and pristine countryside just two hours from the city.
Explore the Cloud Forest
Explore the biodiversity of the Chocò cloud forest region northwest of Quito. At an elevation of 3,000 feet, this area is a dense jungle filled with waterfalls, hiking trails, streams and rivers. A number of small, intimate lodges welcome visitors with expert naturalist guides who lead explorations and provide information on the flora and fauna of this jungle paradise
Quito's Guayasamin Museum
Visit Quito’s Guayasamin Museum and tour Ecuador’s most famous artist’s home and studio. With an unusual combination of colors in his intense, emotional expressions, Oswaldo Guayasamin used art to speak out on social injustice, political oppression and human suffering. A visit to the museum gives great pause to reflect on society and government and have a better understanding of Latin American culture and history from the viewpoint of an artist who loved mankind.
Visit the Markets
Ecuador is known for its colorful textiles, particularly woven items and embroidery. A famous market that is a must see in the Highlands area is Otavalo where you can visit a workshop of a Master Weaver whose bright designs are based on Inca patterns, only using pure wool and Alpaca; the weavers card and spin the wool themselves and then dye it with natural inks, such as those made from mosses (for yellow) or seeds such as 'Achiote'(for red).
Ecuador’s mainland is best visited during the dry season between May and October; Christmas is also a popular time, although the weather can be rainy. The Galapagos Islands are a year round destination; located on the Equator, the temperature is in the high 60s to mid 70s year round, and the water temperature varies only a couple degrees. There may be more clouds in July and August and the seas a little less calm in the channel crossing, but the animals and sealife you are seeking are present year round. Bookings for the period December through March may require a year in
advance or more.
Typically for the type of Custom Itineraries we build, prices in Ecuador can run from $600-1500+ per person per day. Galapagos is the big factor on the tour price, and depending on whether you do a land based vacation or a cruise. We strive to work within your budget and provide guidance on how you can achieve your goal. Quoted Tour prices include hotels, required regional flights, guides, excursions, entrance fees, equipment rental, drivers and ground transfers, and daily breakfast. Depending on the itinerary many of the meals and beverages including alcoholic beverages may be built in as well.
Tour proposals exclude international flights, travel insurance, and gratuities. Each proposal will detail all inclusions and exclusions for clarity.