Enthralling Ecuador holidays
With its colourful Andean culture and fascinating wildlife, Ecuador is a delight to discover. Nestled between Colombia and Peru on South America’s Atlantic coast, Ecuador is named after the equatorial line it straddles. It’s relatively small on the South American scale – but don’t let size deceive you. Holidays to Ecuador are as varied as they come, wrapping snow-capped Andean peaks, brooding volcanoes, remote Amazon rainforest and the wildlife-rich islands of the Galapagos into one incredible adventure.
Our Ecuador tours give you a real flavour of the country’s distinctive culture, too. Wander the colonial streets of high-altitude Quito, take a trip to the centre of the world at the Equatorial Monument and museums, and travel through the Andes to the indigenous market town of Otavalo (save space in your suitcase to bring home some of the vibrant handwoven textiles.
Floating nearly 1,000 kilometres off the coast of mainland Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands. collection string of isolated volcanic isles is the ultimate destination for wildlife lovers. With human intervention kept to a minimum, the animals here have evolved over the centuries, many of them becoming entirely unique to the islands. Among the cast of quirky characters you’ll meet on the islands are blue-footed boobies, giant Galapagos tortoises and sun-basking iguanas.
Expect incredible wildlife experiences at every turn when you’re in the world’s largest rainforest. Kayak along waterways and you might spot parrots, macaws and parakeets. Head out on a hike and look for howler monkeys and sloths hanging in the trees. Board a boat trip and giant river otters and caimans might swim alongside you. Don’t stay in after dark – night hikes reveal how the forest comes to life with a host of nocturnal creatures.
Sitting loftily in the Andes, Quito is the world's second-highest capital city, and where we begin our Ecuador tours. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, laced with colourful cobblestone streets. Sightseeing highlights include the neo-Gothic Basilica del Voto Nacional, the Cathedral of Quito, Compañia Church, and Plaza de San Francisco. A drive to the top of El Panecillo hill rewards you with panoramic views over this sky-high city.
Quito enjoys a temperate climate year-round. Most days can feel like a warm spring day, though there’s often a shower in the afternoon and temperatures can drop in the evenings. Temperatures in the Ecuadorian Amazon also stay similar year-round. Expect some rain whenever you visit, though the drier season falls from May-November. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate regulated by the Humboldt Current from Antarctica and warm El Niño currents. December to May enjoys temperatures around 25-33°C, with possibilities of rain. From June to September temperatures are lower, around 15-26°C - this is the garua season with mist in the mornings and more overcast skies. From October to December, temperatures reach around 20-26°C and this is the dry season.
Spanish is the official language; Quichua is also spoken by many of the country’s indigenous people.
Mainland Ecuador is five hours behind GMT. The Galapagos Islands are six hours behind, though some ships operate to the same time zone as the mainland. Daylight saving changes will affect these at certain times of year.
There are no direct flights from the UK to Ecuador – routes go via the US, taking around 15 hours in total. Flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands (Baltra Airport) take around 2 hours from Guayaquil or 3 hours 45 minutes from Quito.
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