Ecuador offers a wide range of experiences beyond the world famous Galapagos Islands. This country allows you to explore natural wonders of the Amazon, volcanoes and hot springs at Papallacta and colonial cities such as Quito and Cuenca just to name a few.
Quito – The Capital
Start in Quito, the capital, and be stunned by the views of the Pinchicha volcano from most areas of the city. On a clear day, you can also see Cotopaxi – the second highest peak in Ecuador which is south of the city. The capital has traditional markets you can explore, delicious cuisine and easy access to the surrounding mountains. The capital has a range of opportunities nearby for outdoor exploration.
Galapagos Islands – World Famous Natural Beauty
The Galapagos Islands, while not the only incredible experience in Ecuador, are definitely the top draw to the country. The islands have an abundance of unique flora and fauna that are on many travellers’ bucket list. These volcanic islands are off the coast of Ecuador and there are two key ways to travel here. You can visit onboard a cruise ship or you can base yourself on an island and take day trips to explore the others.
If you decide to include the Galapagos in your South America itinerary, you’ll see a range of wildlife on your journey. Charles Darwin Station has different species of giant tortoise to see up close. You can swim and snorkel with sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, penguins, rays and different species of tropical fishes. In addition to the many marine animals, there is incredible bird watching opportunities. On the islands you’ll have the chance to see Darwin’s finches, blue-footed boobies, pelicans and frigate birds among others.
You can experience the Amazon from a variety of countries in South America including Ecuador. The Amazon is biologically abundant and this part of the rainforest is home to more than 600 species of bird, 170 species of mammals as well as 120 species of amphibians and reptiles.