From Andean highlands to Pacific islands and the Amazon basin, Ecuador teams unique traditions and warm-hearted people, with exceptional scenery and biodiversity. In the shadow of menacing volcanoes, colonial towns focus on colourful markets.
When Darwin arrived at the Galapagos Islands, he discovered animal species found nowhere else on Earth. The descendants of those birds and beasts are there to enthral today’s travellers; most of whom team this other-worldly place with exploration on the mainland.From Andean foothills to Amazon waterways, via valley towns and mountain villages, rainforest, cloud-forest and glacier landscapes, a tour of Ecuador is the journey of a lifetime.
The delightful capital, Quito, is flanked by mountains and filled with the façades of Moorish, Spanish, and indigenous architecture; its Old Town built on Incan remains and UNESCO listed as “the best- preserved and least altered in Latin America”; its colonial churches and palaces now nestled at the foot of the city’s soaring gondola lift, which climbs to 3,945m on the side of Pichincha Volcano.
While traditional crafts and culture are on show in the market of nearby Otavalo, natural wonders are also within reach, including the volcano, lagoon and landscape of Antisana Ecological Reserve, where condors are sighted in flight; and La Mitad del Mundo (‘The Middle of the World’), with a sundial set precisely on the Equator, in the only place on earth where its line crosses a glacier.
The largest city in Ecuador is coastal Guayaquil, hemming its port with history from the sky-piercing spires of its iconic cathedral to the spread of Simón Bolivar Park, named for the man who battled for the country’s independence, and famed for the iguanas which have made the park their home.
Cuenca is the third-largest and arguably most beguiling city, its 16th-century centre a UNESCO World Heritage enclave of cobbled streets, colonial cathedrals, lively streams and lovely squares. The Inca ruins of Ingapirca mark its highland surrounds; and in a river valley, Riobamba nestles on the Avenue of Volcanos.
Circled by hot springs and waterfalls, Baños is tucked at the foot of Tungurahua volcano, the last town of the mountains before entering the untamed Ecuadorian Amazon, where the basin’s astounding biodiversity boasts thousands of species of flora, forming the habitats for hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, and fish, with many macaws and toucans among 1,600 bird types.
Between here and the capital, Papallecta is a highlands haven of peaceful seclusion, set amid thermal springs and cloud-forest mountains, at an altitude of 3,200metres.
600 miles off Ecuador’s coast, the Galápagos Islands are an isolated, awe-inspiring, and UNESCO protected archipelago of rocks, islets and nineteen islands. Many are arid moonscapes, a few are cloaked in greenery, and just four are inhabited by humans. Collectively, they are home to giant tortoises, frigate birds, and colonies of blue- and red-footed boobies; with flightless cormorants and marine iguanas suggesting the Darwinian evolutionary link between land and sea life.
Ecuador is, as its name suggests, bisected by the Equator, with a year-round temperate climate in the mountain valleys, more heat and humidity in subtropical lowland rainforests, far less rainfall in coastal areas, and notably cooling, the higher you climb, in the altitudes of the Andes. In very general terms, average daytime temperatures hover around 26-29° (20° in the mountains), and there is no dry season, though January and February have the least rain.
The Galapagos Islands reach 30° in their relatively rainy season from December to May, cooling to an average of 26° in the dry and cloudy months of June to November.
Jules Verne journeys cover the country’s very varied climatic regions, with departures between February and November.
Enthralling, exciting and intriguing, in fairly equal measure, this is a place to come face to face with fantastic creatures, in the Amazon and Galapagos Islands; and to experience the country’s customs and culture in colonial towns and country miles.
On a Jules Verne tour, you can be confident that you will be travelling in a small group of singles, couples, friends or families who share your interest, enthusiasm, and adventurous spirit.
With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne takes you to iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and show you hidden gems. Our journeys in Ecuador include a catamaran cruise of the Galapagos Islands, a guided walk and canoe ride in the Amazon, and visits to a chocolate workshop, a cacao plantation, an artisan workshop for Panama hats, a village experience of Quechua culture, and a hummingbird paradise in the highlands.
Our guided tours to Ecuador are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.
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