Ecuador is small by South American standards, but nonetheless rich in treasures - perfect for an adventure or luxury holiday. In a day you could watch the dawn break over jungle, have lunch in the high Andes, then watch the sun slip into the Pacific Ocean.
The capital city, Quito, is a colonial feast with a spring-like climate year-round, while Otavalo in the north is gem, full of indigenous textiles and crafts. To the south is the impressive mountain spine of the 'Avenue of Volcanoes', to the west the unspoiled expanse of the Amazon jungle, full of jungle lodges and the opportunity for river cruises and wildlife spotting.
A trip to the Galapagos Islands - 1,000km west of the mainland - is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers, as are the lush cloud forests closer to the capital.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Ecuador, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.
In the highlands the dry season is between June and September and around Christmas, although the wet season is not particularly rainy. The central valley is spring-like all year. The Oriente has rain all year round with the wettest months in July and August, September to December is the driest. On the coast the wet season is January to May but the afternoon downpours mean it is still good beach weather. Galapá¡gos is cool and dry all year round.
Major festivals are based around the Roman Catholic calendar and are celebrated with a combination of great pageantry and elements of traditional Indian fiestas. Celebrations in the rural areas have a real party atmosphere. All Soul’s Day on 2 November is especially colourful. Other holidays of historical interest are Simón Bolívar’s Birthday on 24 July and Columbus Day on 12 October. The pre-Easter Carnival includes water fights, together with fruit and flower festivals. Corpus Christi is a movable feast in June and runs in conjunction with harvest fiestas in many highland towns.
Specialities include llapingachos (pancakes mashed potato and cheese), shrimp or lobster ceviche, locro (stew of potatoes and cheese), humitas (flavoured sweetcorn tamale), and baked guinea pig. Pilsner is the most popular beer, naranjilla is an unique fruit juice and a Ecuadorian speciality tasting somewhere between peaches and citrus. Canelazo is regarded as the best drink - a mix of sugar cane, alcohol, lemon, and cinnamon.
It is best to ask permission before taking a photograph of somebody. They may also ask for a tip for the privilege. Although English may be spoken in business circles in Quito and Guayaquil, any attempts at speaking Spanish will be warmly welcomed.
Quito-Mariscal Sucre (UIO) 5 km from the city, Guayaquil-Simon BolÃvar (GYE) 5 km from the city.
Flying is the usual mode of transport between cities. Limited passenger services to the Galapagos Islands. Railways operate between Quito and El Boliche and Riobamba to Sibambe, a hair-raising ride over the Devil’s Nose. Variable Road conditions on account of earthquakes and flooding. Car hire is available in main cities. Camionetas (pick-ups) and rancheras (trucks) and taxis can be hired for long journeys. Buses are good value and journeys often take in stunning Andean scenery.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Ecuador. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Ecuador. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Ecuador, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0623.
Alex Brossler - South America Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0623