This small Equatorial country offers a huge diversity of wildlife, history, culture, scenery and more in a far more concentrated way than its far larger neighbours: from the breath-taking and varied scenery of the Andes to the steamy jungle of the Amazon rainforest, with so much more in between.
Known for its orchids, the cloud forest is also home to a plethora of butterflies and over 450 species of birds, as well as waterfalls, hiking trails, adventure activities, and reserves protecting the biodiversity of the area.
Otavalo, in the northern highlands, is world famous for its huge livestock, vegetable and colourful textile market, organised by the prosperous Otavaleño Indians who attend dressed in their distinctive costumes. In the surrounding area there are snow-capped volcanoes, lake-filled craters, rolling hills, cobbled lanes, and tiny, whitewashed adobe villages. There are leather goods to inspect in Cotacachi, and a walking trail leading to the rim of Cuicocha volcanic crater lake.
The aptly named Avenue of the Volcanoes is flanked by eight soaring volcanoes, making the area perfect for hiking, with trails leading to craters harbouring turquoise volcanic lakes, usually with views of the biggest peaks, Chimborazo and Cotopaxi. In amongst this, you will find traditional indigenous and colonial settlements with their horticultural and artisan markets.
For colonial architecture, there is nowhere better than the quintessentially Spanish colonial city of Cuenca.
And then, of course, there’s the Galapagos Islands – the “Enchanted Isles” – with their stunning, volcanic scenery and abundance of native wildlife. Explore the islands from the deck of your sailing yacht, on foot and in the water. From giant tortoises to comical blue-footed boobies; from sea lions frolicking in the sea to flightless cormorants drying their wings out on the beach after diving for fish, octopi and eels. Climb a volcano, kayak to a white sand beach and swim with penguins, sea lions, rays and even sharks.
OUR ECUADOR HIGHLIGHTS
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, lies on the slopes of Pichincha volcano. Wander among ancient, colourful streets; pop into historic churches; or spend an afternoon browsing the vibrant Mercado and learning about the unique, traditional Ecuadorian culture.
Cotopaxi National Park
Established in 1975 as a protected area, Cotopaxi National Park represents the most impressive of what Ecuador has to offer by way of animals and birds, including the majestic Andean condor, as well as magnificent photographic opportunities in the form of spectacular valleys, lakes and a number of volcanoes.
Embark on an enchanting journey through Ecuador's mystical cloud forests. Explore diverse ecosystems, witness rare species, and indulge in luxury accommodations seamlessly integrated into nature.
Angochagua sits in the eastern foothills of the Cerro Imbabura, within the Protected Zuleta Forest Reserve and surrounded by the Andes Mountain Range. Bathe in freshwater springs that spurt along the canyons, hike along craggy peaks, and watch the majestic endangered Andean Condors in flight.
Build Your Tailor-Made Holiday to Ecuador
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SAMPLE ECUADOR ITINERARIES:
ECUADOR & THE GALAPAGOS
Quito / Galapagos Cruise / Angochagua
A wonderful combination of colonial architecture in Quito; the incredible wildlife and majestic beauty of the Galapagos Islands on a liveaboard boat; and a stay on a colonial, family-run, working hacienda in beautiful surroundings.
Quito / Mashpi / Angochagua / Quilotoa Loop / Riobamba / Cuenca / Guayaquil
This classic tour of Ecuador starts in Quito, and then takes you up into the Cloud Forest, followed by a stay on a beautiful colonial, family-run, working hacienda. From here, head south along the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cuenca, with its friendly people and relaxed feel.
ECUADOR: CLOUD FOREST & HIGHLANDS
Quito / Mashpi / Angochagua
After seeing the sights in Quito, this itinerary takes you north, into the Cloud Forest, for wildlife, bird watching, waterfalls, and forest walks with local naturalists. From here, head to the northern highlands, where you can visit a condor rehabilitation project; go mountain biking and horse riding; visit Otavalo’s colourful textile and food markets; and hike in the caldera of Cuicocha Crater Lake.
Adventure, culture, family, nature
GMT- 5 hours
When to go:
December to May
Ushuaia Airport (USH)
11 hours approx
Some are recommended or required by the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Tailored Journeys is about helping you explore one of the most fascinating and beautiful regions on earth, in style. Even if – especially if – you don’t know where to start, call us now to talk about creating your own Tailored Journey – and let the dream begin.