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Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Ecuador

A world of natural wonders

Ecuador tailor-made holidays

Introduction

Ecuador is small by South American standards, but nonetheless rich in treasures – perfect for a tailor-made holiday packed with adventure. In one trip you could watch the dawn break over the Amazon, go hiking in the high Andes, and watch the sun slip into the Pacific Ocean. And, that's not mentioning the Galápagos – an archipelago of such incredible biodiversity that its inhabitants helped inspire and inform Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. 

Quito and surrounds

Surrounded by soaring peaks, Quito is a colonial feast with a spring-like climate year-round, situated 2,850m above sea level in Ecuador's Andean foothills. Its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town hosts the city's greatest treasures, from its cobblestone streets framed by impressive Spanish-era façades to the picturesque squares overlooked by grand churches filled with precious works of art. Meanwhile, to the north, Otavalo is an Andean Highland gem where bustling markets sell indigenous textiles and crafts. And, to the south, the impressive 'Avenue of Volcanoes', a region of rolling greenery, perfect for gentle hike and horseback rides under the watchful gaze of snow-dusted mountains, including the perfect cone of Cotopaxi.  


The Amazon & Mindo Cloudforest

To the west of the capital, the unspoiled expanse of the Amazon jungle offers expert-led exploration in one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. Float through a network of tributaries in search of toucans, sloths, monkeys and river dolphins on a river cruise, or stay in a jungle lodge to spot rare birds from tree-high towers. Whichever way you choose to explore, you'll be treated to a truly incredible array of excursions, from dug-out canoe trips to catch-and-release fishing and trips out to village communities located deep in the jungle. If you don't want to head as far as the Amazon, then between Quito and the Pacific Coast is the Mindo Cloud Forest – a haven for bird life. Take it all in with a stay at Mashpi Lodge – a luxury gem surrounded by nature.


The Galápagos

A trip to the Galápagos Islands – 1,000km west of mainland Ecuador – is an unforgettable experience. Fly out from Guayaquil to explore this stunning island chain, home to several endemic species, including Darwin's finches, the Galápagos iguana and Galápagos penguin. A trip here is filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from sharing sandy beaches with colonies of seals to swimming with sharks, dolphins and turtles in crystalline seas. The most popular way to explore is on a cruise, but there are also several lodges which offer the option for island-hopping adventures if you'd rather remain on land.


 

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At a glance

Flying time from UK
12 hours

Time zone
GMT -5 (-6 Galapagos Islands)

Currency
US Dollar (USD) = 100 cents

Language
Spanish

Travel advice
(UK/US) None

See Ecuador travel guide

Special offers in Ecuador

Blue-footed Booby, Galapagos Islands

Luxury Quito & Galapagos Cruise

15-day tailor-made journey from £8,140 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

3 free nights at Casa Gangotena in September – Save up to £400 pp
Book by: 31 August 2019

Enjoy the stunning beauty of the Galapagos aboard a luxury yacht with fore and aft observation decks, a glass-bottom boat, daily excursions and quality service.

Silver Galápagos

Ecuador Train and Galápagos Voyage on Silversea

16-day fly, rail and cruise from £9,140 pp incl. flights

Exclusive
offer

Exclusive tailor-made fly, rail and cruise holiday
Book by: 31 December 2019

Combining two unique experiences – a mountain rail journey through the Andes and an island-hopping, luxury cruise through the Galápagos – this is your chance to see the natural wonders of Ecuador in style. Spot marine iguanas on snorkel trips before returning to all-inclusive fine dining.

Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Cruises

Galápagos Island Adventure on Celebrity Flora

12-day tailor-made expedition cruise from £9,215 pp incl. flights

Special
cruise offer

Fly Cruise Offer
Book by: 30 November 2019

Sail the Galápagos in its most luxurious ship, pairing all-inclusive drinks and fine dining with shore excursions that bring you right among its natural wonders. Think snorkelling with sea lions and hikes with giant turtles.

Top itineraries in Ecuador

Tren Crucero, Ecuador

Ecuador by Train & Galápagos Islands stay

13-day tailor-made rail & stay journey from £4,825 pp incl. flights

Explore some of Ecuador's most impressive landscapes aboard the award-winning Tren Crucero (Cruise Train) as you travel through the high Andes to the coastal city of Guayaquil.

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Mashpi Lodge & the Galápagos Islands

12-day itinerary from £5,910 pp incl. flights

Combine the history of Quito and the unique biodiversity of the Amazon with perhaps the ultimate in wildlife-watching experiences – a luxury Galápagos cruise.

Isabela Island

Quito, Otavalo & Galápagos Island Hopping‬‬

12-day tailor-made journey from £4,895 pp incl. flights

This tailor-made tour is a comprehensive appreciation of the Galápagos’ alien natural world, taking in its spectacular scenery and philosophy-inspiring wildlife on a range of guided excursions. You’ll also have time to explore Ecuador’s colonial heritage and indigenous culture.

Eagle Ray, the Galápagos

Wonders of Peru and the Galápagos

15-day tailor-made journey from £6,915 pp incl. flights

Take in the unique history of Peru's archaeological treasures before flying out across the Pacific for a four-night cruise exploring the wildlife-rich islands of Ecuador's Galápagos.

See all itinerary ideas

Top places to stay in Ecuador

Terrace, Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador

Casa Gangotena, Quito

Historic hotel

Forming part of Quito's cultural inventory, Casa Gangotena is a historic hotel situated on Plaza San Francisco – Quito's main square, once home to several Inca temples.

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Contemporary lodge

The stunning lodge in Ecuador's cloud forest is part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity and excellence.

Pool, Finch-Bay Eco Hotel, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Galapagos

Contemporary hotel

Based on the south of Santa Cruz island, this eco-friendly hotel is provides private, spacious terraces with fabulous views of the bay. Activities include kayaking, mountain biking, surfing, guided walks and sea excursions on board the hotel's own yacht.

La Selva

La Selva Lodge, the Ecuadorian Amazon

Traditional safari lodge

Billing itself as the lodge's finest eco-lodge, La Salva offers everything from spa treatments and gorgeous accommodation to gourmet full-board dining and a list of included activities. It's all set deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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Featuring Latin America & beyond…

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Where to go in Ecuador

Sea Lions, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos

The Galápagos Islands lie more than 1,000km from mainland Ecuador but have a reputation and place in the history of science and evolution that far exceeds their small size.

Ecuador Amazon

Ecuador Amazon

Ecuador's El Oriente jungle region is beautifully unspoiled wilderness region of indigenous settlements dotted along various tributaries of the Amazon.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito & Northern Highlands

Explore Quito, a colonial gem set high in the Ecuadorian Andes. It's the perfect counterpoint to the highland region to the north, where colourful market towns are framed by towering volcanic peaks.

Ecuador cloud forest

Ecuador's Cloud Forest

The western slopes of the Pichincha Volcano near Quito are covered in beautiful cloud forests, perfect for nature lovers wanting to indulge their sense of adventure.

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When to go to Ecuador

Ecuador is situated on the equator and hence, there are only two seasons: winter (rainy season) and summer (dry season). Due to the varied geographical structure of the country it is best to divide the climate information in accordance to these areas: The Galápagos Islands: The weather in the Galápagos Islands is largely determined by ocean currents. June to December is cool and dry and in December, there's a definable climate pattern of hot sunny mornings followed by clouds and sparse showers in the afternoons. January to May is generally hot, humid and wet. The Andes: There is a varied range in temperature and weather, which depends on …

See regional weather

Ecuador articles

  • Introducing Silversea's Silver Origin

    Introducing Silver Origin. Arriving in summer 2020 Silversea’s newest addition is designed specifically with the Galápagos Islands in mind.

  • Why book a cruise to Latin America?

    Latin America is spectacularly varied and unimaginably vast, from rainforests in the Amazon to glaciers in Patagonia. We explore why cruises are of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the dramatic landscapes of the region.

  • Just back from Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands

    Galapagos specialist Janet Welsh recently visited the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador's capital, Quito. Read her review of both for some honest insight into the accommodation, facilities and overall experience, as well as her advice for anybody thinking about going to visit.

  • Top 10 wildlife travel experiences

    We've wracked our brains and debated long and hard to narrow down our wildlife wishlist to just ten extraordinary experiences; see where we'd go, and if you agree, talk to one of our destination specialists about tailoring your own trip to where the wild things are.

See all articles

Meet our Ecuador experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0692

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0692 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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