Ecuador Holidays and Ecuador Tours
Ecuador sits astride the equator, from which it takes its name, and is bordered by Columbia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean. The country also includes the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. Although it is one of the smallest countries in South America, it has so much natural diversity that a trip to Ecuador will astound you.
In just one day’s drive, an Ecuador holiday can take you from the Amazon basin, across Andean mountains and down through the cloud forest in time to enjoy the sunset on the Pacific Coast. When planning a trip to Ecuador bear in mind that there is a great variety in climate which is largely determined by altitude. A holiday in Ecuador will be mild year-round in the mountain valleys, tropical on the coast and temperate and relatively dry in the Andean highlands.
Ecuador is one of the 17 mega diverse countries in the world, those on holiday in Ecuador can enjoy an incredible array of bird, plant and butterfly species as well as many endemic amphibians and reptiles.
There are a great variety of Ecuador tours to choose from; as well as nature tours to Ecuador you can choose a more active and adrenalin-filled holiday. There are numerous mountaineering and trekking tours to Ecuador which traverse the striking blend of landscapes and explore the beautiful colonial towns. Or you can also choose a more cultural tour which will reveal Ecuador’s indigenous heritage of traditional costumes and highland markets.
If you cannot decide what sort of holiday you’d like, contact an Ecuador travel agent who will soon find you a suitable tour in Ecuador – be it volunteering, over-landing or horse riding. Travel agents in Ecuador can recommend a trip to suit your budget and the great thing about this destination is that all areas are highly accessible so you can visit everything on your list.
Ecuador Andes Holidays
Ecuador’s region of the Andes has over 30 volcanic cones and one of these, the conical, snow-capped Cotopaxi, is the world’s highest active volcano. There are many Mount Cotopaxi trekking and climbing holidays to choose from, they usually include a visit to the Limpiopungo Lake which also resides in Cotopaxi National Park. As well as choosing to go trekking and climbing around Mount Cotopaxi, you can also climb the slopes of Chimborazo, the highest volcano in Ecuador whose summit is the closest place on earth to the sun. Mountain lovers will be astounded by the quality of Ecuador Andes holidays - you are constantly surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of green mountains and majestic volcanoes that reach out to the crystal sky.
Ecuador Amazon Holidays
The Amazon jungle is located to the east of the Andes and is one of the most accessible and traveller-friendly areas of the upper Amazon basin, which is the most biologically rich area anywhere on earth. An Ecuador Amazon holiday would not be complete without a visit to the green and lush Cloud Forest. Ecuador’s Cloud Forest is full of wonders, including spectacular orchids, crystal clear streams and exotic birds like the hummingbird. Ecuador Amazon holidays also offer a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, animal spotting and local jungle community visits.
Galapagos Holidays and Galapagos Cruises
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of 13 major volcanic islands located 1,000 km from Ecuadorian mainland, of which 5 are inhabited. Galapagos holidays are very popular amongst nature and wildlife lovers because of the island’s interesting volcanic geology, rich flora and fauna and multitude of wild animals. Scientists are still mystified by how this large diversity of species can develop in such a remote location.
A Galapagos holiday can be taken at any time; the climate is subtropical and is regulated by the warm El Nino current and the cold Humboldt Current. There are two seasons, with the warmest being December to May. Many people take Galapagos trips at this time as the sky is always clear and the sun shines strongly. However, if you are more interested in dive holidays to the Galapagos Islands, the best time to visit is from June to November when the weather is colder but allows you to enjoy the best from the Galapagos’s famous marine reserve.
Those planning a Galapagos trip often opt to explore on a Galapagos Islands cruise. It is worth considering a Galapagos cruise on a small yacht if you prefer a more intimate experience onboard. With fewer people you’re more likely to get to know your shipmates and ask the guide detailed questions. Also Galapagos cruises on small boats generally have less impact on the fragile environment and can access hard to reach parts if the island. For those looking for a more sociable, stable Galapagos Islands cruise, there are large cruise ships which offer more amenities and comfort. This type of Galapagos cruise will often have a buffet style breakfast and more formal dinner. The Galapagos National Park sets a limit of 100 passengers on ships, with Galapagos tour groups limited to roughly 20 people.
If you choose to tour the Galapagos Islands on a 2 week cruise you will allow time to explore the main sites among the eastern Islands as well as the Western Islands, including the largest island Isabela. There are designated visitor sites on each of the islands where boats land for Galapagos tours and there are defined trails to follow.
Tours to the Galapagos Islands and Ecotourism in the Galapagos Islands
There are many Galapagos tours to choose from. Outdoor adventure-lovers will be in their element – you can take a carefully planned multi-activity Galapagos tour that combines snorkelling, kayaking, horse riding, biking and diving.
Or you can document your visit and take one of the many photography trips to the Galapagos Islands. The complete lack of timidity of the wildlife on the Galapagos means you can capture dancing boobies, sun-bathing iguanas, playful sea lions and giant turtles on film.
There are some very good Galapagos trips that are designed for the family – the haunting beauty of these barren islands and extraordinary tameness of the animal population will create a unique memorable experience for you all to share.
For those who prefer exploring on foot, you can choose a Galapagos holiday which focuses on trekking. Isabela is a good place to do this; as the largest island it contains 60% of the flora and fauna of the archipelago.
Like other isolated island groups, the Galapagos Islands face serious challenges in maintaining their marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecotourism in the Galapagos is the only practical way of supporting the Galapagos National Park. It is worth asking the right questions and choosing a responsible Galapagos trip which has a low-impact on its environment.
There are a variety of conservation and volunteering holidays to the Galapagos Islands which work with projects designed to help repair the natural habitat so that endemic species can thrive. Ecotourism in the Galapagos also focuses on the local communities, setting up enterprises to help the indigenous communities improve their living conditions through education and co-operative ventures.
If you choose an eco-holiday to the Galapagos, you are already contributing to ecotourism in the Galapagos Islands and becoming part of the solution. The money you spend on trips to the Galapagos Islands encourages the local population to seek sustainable employment and sends a message to the Ecuadorian government that the preservation of the Galapagos Islands is a high priority.
Want to know more about Ecuador before going on holiday?
Find out more about going on Ecuador holidays & tours by reading these Ecuador articles.
"During that hour we swam with turtles, rays, penguins, sharks and a multitude of fish. I had never experienced anything like this before and it was something which will remain with me forever." Find out about the Galapagos Islands from soneone who has been. Read this Galapagos travel article