Ecuador and the Galapagos
The central region of the Andes Mountains run straight down the middle from north to south, forming a string of some thirty volcanoes which include Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. It is with this impressive backdrop that you will find Quito, the capital city, where pretty cobblestone streets, colonial-era architecture and huge plazas are all overlooked by the Virgin of Quito, a statue atop the Panecillo Hill. It isn’t hard to see why this attractive city was the first in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
North of the city, visitors flock to pick up souvenirs at the colourful market of Otovalo and to stand with one foot in each hemisphere at the Mitad del Mundo. Beautifully restored traditional haciendas make the perfect place from which to explore it all, and we particularly recommend this region for anyone interested in riding.
A short flight to the east of Quito brings you down into the Amazon basin. The Amazon boasts of the highest concentration of plant and animal life of any region on the planet, and while Ecuador's borders contain a small slice of the Amazon, the Ecuadorian rainforest is highly diverse, with quiet blackwater lagoons, raging chocolately rivers, dense tree canopies and flooded forests. The wildlife here is both plentiful and diverse and with a number of comfortable lodges to stay at, guests can enjoy the unspoilt wonders of the forest.
An exclusive luxury cruise has also recently been launched, allowing guests to explore deeper into Ecuador’s unique slice of the Amazon. With top naturalist guides and highly experienced crews and excellent chefs, these cruises are the best options for those who want to experience the Amazon in style.
Some 1,000 km off the west coast of the mainland lie the Galapagos Islands, inspiration for Charles Darwin’s pioneering work on the theory of evolution and Ecuador’s piece de resistance. The sheer volume of endemic species here will have you enraptured and there are few places on earth you can get so close to such magnificent species in their natural habitat.
There is no better way to explore all there is to see than from the comfort of a week-long small cruise around the Galapagos, where the experienced guides will introduce you to the archipelago's unique wildlife - both on land and in the water. The Galapagos is also a snorkeler's and diver's paradise!
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.