One of Latin America’s smallest countries, Ecuador makes up for its diminutive size with plenty of character. Sandwiched between Peru and Colombia on the Pacific Coast, Ecuador’s biodiversity extends to diverse microclimates such as volcanoes, jungle, verdant highlands and the wildlife-rich archipelago of the Galapagos Islands.
Ecuador’s mainland is split between three distinct regions: the Andean highlands (the Sierra) running down the spine, the Amazon rainforest (the Oriente) to the East and the Pacific coastal area (La Costa) to the West. Ecuador is a great year-round holiday destination; due to its proximity to the Equator, there is little temperature variation. The only notable seasonal variation is that of the rainy season; more evidently in the highlands from October through to May. The highlands usually offer a fresher, cool temperate climate whereas the coast can be sultrily humid, with dense mists clinging to the cliffs, similar to the trees of the Amazon.
Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is the second-highest capital city in the world (after La Paz, Bolivia), set at an altitude of 2,850 metres on the side of an active volcano. Surprisingly green, Quito is ringed by soaring mountain peaks often concealed from view by dense afternoon mists. On a clear day spot the snow-capped cone of Cotopaxi, one of the Andes highest volcanoes, from a variety of viewpoints around the city. Though modern tower blocks, concrete suburbs and tangled traffic show Quito’s contemporary side, the city has a firm grasp on its traditional past, with markets, healers, hat makers and food stalls emphasising Ecuadorian Sierra culture.
Outside of the capital, the most popular destination for Ecuador holidays is the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands. Known as ‘Darwin’s living laboratory’ thanks to the naturalist’s extensive research here, the islands are home to many endemic species, some found only in the archipelago. Because the human footprint is kept to a minimum, it’s possible to swim with Galapagos penguins, sea lions and seals, and get tantalisingly close to the islands’ giant tortoises.
Mainland Ecuador has plenty to see too, from colonial towns to the incredible Avenue of Volcanoes, where rugged cones graze the clouds. The best way to see the interior is on a train journey through the spectacular Andes, cloud forest and jungle. Tren Crucero is such a journey, a four-day expedition through the country’s most incredible landscapes.
For first-hand inspiration and travel advice on holidays to Ecuador, call our Travel Specialists today.
A newly restored historic mansion situated in Quito’s historic centre overlooking the Plaza San Francisco, Casa Gangotena is the best-in-town boutique hotel. Said to stand where an Incan temple once stood, Casa Gangotena sits on the corner of the capital’s most iconic square. The hotel showcases eye-catching style, contemporary design furnished with antiques, modern technologies and quintessentia...
- Highest quality accommodation option in Ecuador's cloud forest region.
- Unique hotel design in the heart of the cloud forest with panoramic, floor to ceiling glass windows for total immersion with the environment.
- 400 species of endemic wildlife can be found from the lodge.
- Positive community impact with huge emphasis on employing local people.
- The hotel is the perfect blend between luxury and comfort alongside engagement with the local environment.
Set amidst the lush gardens of Guayaquil’s Historical Park, the Hotel del Parque is a relaxing oasis in the city of Guayaquil. The hotel - just ten minutes from the airport - is a perfect stop for anyone travelling onto the Galapagos, or flying home after their travels in Ecuador. One of the only boutique properties in Guayaquil, the luxurious Hotel del Parque is a beautifully restored 19th-centu...
Superbly located in a picturesque valley, this family-run hacienda offers guests plenty of history, authentic Andean culture and comfortable accommodation. Hacienda Zuleta is a working farm that produces dairy, wheat and a variety of fresh ingredients; almost everything used in the delicious Ecuadorian cuisine at the hacienda is grown in the organic gardens or on the farm. The 15 guestrooms, with ...
A first-class expedition catamaran, the M/C Seaman Journey carries up to 16 passengers and boasts elegant, contemporary décor. Featuring just eight comfortable cabins with private bathrooms, the Seaman Journey feels spacious yet intimate. Relax on the large sundeck where al fresco dining is also available, or sip a cocktail watching the sunset from the onboard bar. There is a small library for tho...
- Cruise around Galapagos onboard the M/C Seaman Journey
- Observe Galapagos tortoises at Galapaguera
- Spot sea lions as you kayak around Gardner Bay
- See flamingos at Cormorant Point
- Discover the preserved architectural treasures of Quito
- Ride aerial bikes through the treetops in Mashpi
- Join a horse riding tour in Otavalo
- Experience the diverse wildlife of the Galapagos Islands
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