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Ecuador packs a lot into its compact borders: colourful indigenous markets, charming haciendas, pretty colonial towns, the highest active volcano in the world and the vast Amazon Rainforest. All this and one of the world's greatest wildlife destinations, the Galapagos Islands, is just a short flight away. For many, Ecuador is simply the gateway to reach the celebrated Galapagos Islands, Darwin's 'living laboratory', but we think you should take the time to explore this fascinating country while you are there. Ecuador will not fail to impress even the most well-travelled;this region has incredible riches and influence far beyond its physical size. From the Amazon –the world's deepest and densest rainforest –in the east, to mountain landscapes patch-worked into tiny fields by indigenous Indians and the world's second-highest volcano. Overlaying this natural beauty, Ecuador also has a cultural depth unequalled elsewhere in South America: thriving Indian communities throng local markets and proudly maintain their ancient cultures. At over 3,000m, Quito is breath-taking in more ways than one. You might expect it to be insufferably hot due to its location 35km from the Equator, but because of its high altitude, temperatures are spring-like all year round. Quito's historic centre has been transformed and restored in recent years. About an hour south of Quito is a world of volcanoes and mountains: the Avenue of Volcanoes. At 5,900m, Cotopaxi volcano –an almost perfect conical shape –is the highest active volcano in the world, dominating the area and providing an incredible backdrop for several haciendas and Cotopaxi National Park.

Ecuador with A&K
Ecuador and Galapagos Islands holidays will not fail to impress even the most well travelled; and this region has incredible riches, and influence and reputation far beyond its physical size.  With so much variety, there is huge scope for breathtaking tailor-made Ecuador holidays and Galapagos cruises. Natural beauties range from the world's deepest and densest rainforest in the east, across mountain landscapes patch-worked into tiny fields by indigenous Indians, over the world's second-highest volcano and skim Pacific waters to Darwin's 'Natural Laboratory' of the Galapagos.

Ecuador and Galapagos Islands holidays with Abercrombie & Kent will get you closer to the remarkable people, places and wildlife that make the country such a rich travel destination.

Offering the best of Latin America in miniature, within its compact borders, Ecuador has everything a traveller could wish for in abundance. Its national parks and wildlife reserves include some of the richest Amazon jungle to the east of the Andes and the high-altitude forests of Cotopaxi's volcanic flanks. Overlaying this natural beauty, Ecuador also has a cultural depth unequalled elsewhere in South America, with stately colonial buildings in the world's highest capital, Quito, with its dramatic mountainous backdrop, where thriving Indian communities throng local markets and proudly maintain their ancient cultures - a must see for every Ecuador holiday.

However the highlight of many Ecuador holidays, more often than not, is the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of national parks nearly a thousand kilometres off the coast of Ecuador. Darwin's living laboratory is a world apart, exceptional for its fearless and unique wildlife.

The Galapagos Archipelago lies 1,000 kilometres from Ecuador's coastline in the Pacific Ocean. Each of the thirteen islands and countless smaller islets has a unique ecosystem of its own, a living laboratory that inspired Darwin to write his Theory of Evolution while on the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Never connected with the continent, the islands contain many endemic species - only here will you see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas, and the giant tortoises that give the archipelago its name. Most expeditions with your expert naturalist guide are by panga - inflatable rubber craft with outboard motor. Snorkels are available for you to explore the fascinating underwater world, a myriad of colourful fish, playful sea lions, dolphins and sunken volcanic craters.

Any visitor to the islands on a Galapagos cruise can swim with sea lions, paddle alongside penguins, be entertained by the 'fool' booby birds and watch 200 kg giant tortoises wallowing in the swamps of Santa Cruz Island. The wildlife is quite literally unique and the landscape barren, volcanic and markedly beautiful. These are the compelling features that define the Galapagos cruise experience. Never connected with the continent, the islands contain many endemic (only found in the Galapagos) species.  A quarter of the shore fish, half of the plants and almost all of the reptiles are exclusive to the Galapagos Islands.  The Galapagos Islands are a two-hour flight from Quito or Guayaquil.  Whilst there are seasonal variations, the islands are a year-round destination.

You may wish to end your Ecuador holiday with a visit to Cuenca, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site this city is the third largest in Ecuador and was one of the first cities listed in the Inca Empire.

You may also wish to consider our Galapagos family holidays, Galapagos family cruises or a Galapagos honeymoon.

Pricing
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. However, as a guide, a 15 day holiday to Ecuador including the option from our selection of Galapagos Islands cruises will cost from £4,495 per person based on two adults sharing with flights from the UK and subject to availability.


Ecuador Offers

Cormorant, Galapagos Islands

Cormorant, Galapagos Islands

Save up to £930 per adult on Galapagos Cormorant
Observe the amazing wildlife and get up close and personal with the Galapagos' many amazing creatures when staying on the elegant and stylish Cormorant. Valid for travel from now until 31st August 2015. Subject to availability, excludes international flights and any additional touring.

SPEAK TO A TRAVEL CONSULTANT ON 01242 858 188


Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:

Quintessential Peru & Galapagos

Nights: 14 | from £6,295

See Peru's spectacular Inca citadel, the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador's fascinating capital city on this action-packed 14... Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Highlights of Ecuador

Nights: 9 | from £3,050

A thrilling exploration of the UNESCO-listed city of Quito and a cruise to the Galapagos Islands in search of owls, land iguanas and sea lions. Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Voyages & Cruising

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Classic Ecuador & Galapagos

Nights: 13 | from £5,735

Discover the iconic Galapagos Islands on a 7 night luxury cruise aboard before staying in a boutique hotel in the grounds of a working hacienda. Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made Set departure

Classic Journeys

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Quintessential Galapagos & Ecuador

Nights: 14 | from £4,995

Dugout canoes, Parrot clay clicks, volcanos, geothermal pools, local markets, historic towns, rafting, hiking and horseback riding only make up a portion... Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Family Luxury Small Group Journey - Family Galápagos

Nights: 9 | from £10,080

Cruise the Galápagos aboard eco-friendly Eclipse, where you’ll walk among giant tortoises, marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies, and share child-friendly... Find out more

Holiday type: Group departure

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

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Below are some of our suggested places to stay:

Mansion Alcazar

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Located a short walk from the famous Parque Calderon square, Mansión Alcázar Hotel is an ideal base from which to explore this vibrant area of Cuenca,...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Eclipse

Galapagos

MV Eclipse allows discerning travellers to experience one of the world's greatest natural treasures in the comfort of a vessel with generous accommodation,...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Grand Odyssey

Galapagos

This new cruise vessel has been introduced to Galapagos waters as of spring 2011. With an exclusive small yacht feel and a combination of privacy and...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

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Casa Gangotena

Quito

Spanish chroniclers told of grand Inca palaces built around the Plaza San Francisco in Quito's historic quarter. This part of the city was once a huge...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

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La Pinta

Galapagos

La Pinta is named after Abingdon Island in the north west of the Galápagos Archipelago, home to the famous Lonesome George giant tortoise, the last surviving...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

Hacienda Zuleta

Dating from the late XVI century, Hacienda Zuleta lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range, 9,600 feet (2,800 meters) above the sea level and only...Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

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View a selection of our top offers:

Cormorant, Galapagos Islands

Ecuador & Galápagos, Ecuador, Galápagos

Save up to £930 per adult on Galapagos Cormorant
Observe the amazing wildlife and get up close and personal with the Galapagos' many amazing creatures when staying on the elegant and stylish Cormorant. Valid for travel from now until 31st August 2015. Subject to availability, excludes international flights and any additional touring.

Call 01242 547 701 Enquire

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Graeme, Charlie, Melissa, Dave, Kerry and Kelly are experts in designing the perfect holiday in Latin America to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of our hotels and resorts featured in our portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout the region, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.

Read about our lastest experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean in our Travel Blog pages.

To find out more about our Latin America team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 701 or enquire online

 

Get in touch

Terms & Conditions

A winner will be selected at random at the end of each month. The winner will be notified within 10 days of being selected using the contact details supplied on the enquiry form. The winner will receive a £500 holiday voucher to use against travel with Abercrombie & Kent Limited in the UK. The voucher will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue. Entries are limited to one per household, not per enquiry. Prizes must not be sold or auctioned. Prizes are non-transferable and no substitutions or cash equivalents are permitted. The voucher can only be used against a new booking and cannot be used to amend or book additional tours or excursions on current bookings. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over. Prize winners are responsible for paying the outstanding amount of the booking within the usual booking terms and conditions. Abercrombie & Kent Limited reserve the right to withdraw or otherwise amend this promotion at our discretion.

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Guest Testimonial

The Galapagos. After Mashpi we were somewhat apprehensive and hoping that the luxury and diversity of the Lodge would not deter from the different experience that was awaiting us on the MV Eclipse. Wow! The whole job lot with the crew, the guides, the food, the other guests and the islands and wildlife . . . . just blew us away. An American lady and her husband that we teamed up with on some trips said to us "How are we going to explain to friends and family back home about this place?" We all agreed that you couldn't! Thanks for organising the holiday Eleanor and thanks to A&K

- RY, Berkshire


Useful info

ecuadorandgalapagosislands map

Best time to be there

June to September is the best time to enjoy the Andes whilst the Galapagos are best from April to August - not too warm and plenty of animals in their breeding seasons.

Fly to

Quito - LAN Airlines, daily via Madrid

flying time

13 hours

time difference

GMT -5 hours

Visas

Not required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

Yellow fever certificate required if arriving from an infected area

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