Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
Ecuador is most famous for the fascinating Galapagos Islands – and for good reason. This isolated group of volcanic islands is home to dramatic landscapes and creatures found nowhere else in the world. But the mainland has its own share of must-see sights and experiences, too, from train rides to rainforest treks.
Our Favourite Itineraries
In our Client's Words...
Family highlights included visiting Otovalo market and staying at Sani Lodge in the rain forest - with an abundance of life and 24 hour sound track! Our children also loved the luxurious and activity packed tour of the Galapagos onboard MV Eric. Bushbaby planned a brilliant itinerary for us. This is the second time we have used them and on both occasions the holidays have been fantastic and memorable.
Oli B, Ecuador and The Galapagos
100% of our clients leaving feedback on AITO.com (the Trip Advisor of Tour Operators) have rated us 'excellent'
Arrive in Mainland Ecuador and dive into a host of family-friendly activities. Discover ancient Inca heritage and stock up on authentic handicrafts at vibrant local markets. Take in the impressive sight of snow-capped volcanoes in the high Andes at Cotopaxi National Park by train and explore the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon. With an increasing number of boutique hotels and characterful small lodges, there is no shortage of charming places to stay. Some accommodation options are aimed more at couples, while others will appeal to families looking for a warm welcome for younger visitors.
Nothing prepares you for the Galapagos Islands. In a region rich in natural beauty, cultural history, and incredible wildlife, these 13 volcanic islands, scattered across the ocean 960km from the mainland, still stand out. From swimming with turtles and sea lions to seeing wildlife that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet or simply immersing yourself in the dramatic landscape, the magic of these islands will be etched in your memory long after you depart.
A luxury expedition cruise is undoubtedly the best and most relaxing way to explore the islands, but for those who prefer to sleep on dry land, there are now some equally captivating land-based options that offer as much time on the water as you wish.
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When to go
The warmest months (December-June) coincide with the rainy season and showers tend to be strong, followed by clear skies and long, sunny periods. The water temperature is pleasant and the sea calm. It’s a great time of year for snorkelling and diving, although there is less marine life to observe and underwater visibility is best from January-March. This is the mating season for land birds and sea lions, and the nesting season for turtles. Flowers blossom from February-May. New-born sea lion pups start crawling around the islands from March.
June-December is considered to be the cool season even though the average daily afternoon temperature is only 5℃ less than the rest of the year. There is little rain during this period, but you can expect drizzle and overcast skies with sunny spells; water temperature is at its lowest. The seas are rougher, especially from July-September when the Humboldt Current brings cold water rich in plankton and other nutrients. This attracts fish and birds, making it what many consider to be the best time of the year for snorkelling and spotting albatross or penguins. Blue-footed boobies also mate during this time of year. Costs come down out of season but expect to pay a premium if you visit over Christmas, Easter and August when there is less availability.
Flights: There aren't any direct flights currently from the UK to Quito, but several European airlines offer connections including Iberia via Madrid. Alternately American Airlines offers connecting flights via Miami. The primary airport serving Ecuador, Mariscal Sucre International Airport is conveniently located 11 miles (18km) from central Quito. It is also possible to fly direct from Europe into Guayaquil, which makes a cruise in the Galapagos relatively straightforward. Flying time with connections is approximately 15 hours.
Typical carbon emissions for a return flight (Economy) per person: 640 kg.
FCDO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador
Time Zone: GMT-5 hours
Capital City: Quito
Where to Stay in Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
Yacht La Pinta - Galapagos Islands
MV Theory/ MV Origin/ MV Evolve - Galapagos Islands
MV Letty - Galapagos Islands
MC Endemic - Galapagos Islands
MC Elite - Galapagos Islands
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel - Galapagos Islands
Sacha Lodge - Mainland Ecuador
Mashpi Lodge - Mainland Ecuador
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