An eco-paradise, Ecuador’s biodiversity is so abundant it’s easy to see why Charles Darwin was obsessed with this part of the world. The otherworldly Galápagos islands, located 600 miles west of Ecuador remains a draw for those wanting to get close to untouched nature. Here you can encounter exotic wildlife that has never been afraid of man. Swim with doe-eyed sea lions, see giant Galápagos tortoises and watch prehistoric-looking marine iguanas dive in to feed on the rocks below. Children will be spellbound on a family holiday to the Galápagos.
Add the Amazon to your Ecuador itinerary and wildlife watching couldn’t be more different, as you search for river dolphins, toucans, sloths, mountain lions and monkeys. Binoculars at the ready for when you visit the cloud forest in Mindo which is a bird lover’s paradise with over five hundred species.
Ecuador’s cultural heritage is also bountiful. You can spend days exploring the UNESCO-listed capital, Quito with picturesque plazas, impressive cathedrals and a charming old town filled with hidden treasures. Explore one of Latin America’s most famous markets, dating back to pre-Incan times, in Otavalo where you can see artisans creating woollen tapestries and snap up a genuine alpaca wool souvenir.
Whilst it may be one of the smaller countries in Latin America, there’s no chance of running out of awe-inspiring experiences. A tailor-made holiday to Ecuador is the perfect choice for those looking to tick off their bucket-list of natural beauties and encounter indigenous culture. Get in touch with our Travel Designers to discuss your personalised Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands itinerary.
Let us inspire you with our luxury Ecuador & The Galápagos holidays & honeymoons. All our holidays are tailor-made, this means you can completely customise your itinerary to suit your interests and preferences. If you have a specific idea in mind or just want to chat through your options, we’d love to hear from you so please get in touch.
Not long after landing in Ecuador, most people rush off to the Galápagos. Admittedly, it’s an archipelago of otherworldly proportions but why should it have all the fun? This sixteen-day adventure shows you mainland Ecuador also has plenty of jewels of its own.VIEW EXPERIENCE
This thrilling rail journey is as much a staggering feat of engineering as it is a breathtaking experience, with several dramatic switchbacks carved directly into Andean rockfaces for a train ride you won’t forget.
Experience close encounters with Galápagos wildlife and enjoy entertaining lectures from expert guides on the untouched Fernandina island, where you can spy basking sea lions and the largest colony of marine iguanas in the archipelago.
Housed in a Spanish colonial-style building, Hotel Otavalo was originally a set of apartments for indigenous Otavaleños and it stays true to its roots. It’s only a honey-coloured stone’s throw from the town’s famous market, while the rooms, all of which are situated around a bare-brick courtyard, feature hand-carved headboards and exposed stone. Even the hotel’s restaurant Sarance is named after the moniker the native population once gave Otavalo, with its menu taking you on a culinary journey through Ecuador’s seven provinces.
Hacienda Manteles promises everything you’d want from a hotel in the rugged heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its burgundy brickwork, artisan-weaved rugs and hardwood floors offer a traditional and supremely cosy setting without distracting you from the wild scenery outside. Not everywhere can say they’ve got a steamy volcano at the end of their garden – but Hacienda Manteles can. You can soak up views of Tungurahua volcano from your room’s floor-to-ceiling, along with the sweeping cloud forest and páramo of Llanganates National Park.
Hotel Cruz del Vado sits in a grand mansion in Cuenca’s oldest neighbourhood and the peach-hued marble it’s dressed in evokes the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the city in its 1930s pomp. The hotel has kept its lavish features and the rooms are decorated with artwork created by distinguished local artists. The restaurant serves up cuisine representing all seven of Ecuador’s provinces while Hotel Cruz del Vado’s rooftop bar is the place to be for citywide views and Cuenca’s amber sunsets.
Inspired by the traditional manors and old farmhouses you’d find sprinkled among the Ecuadorian highlands, Hacienda Abraspungo is very much in the style of an authentic ranch. The Riobamba’s rich history is illustrated in the antiques, Andean artwork and photographs bedecking the rooms, while a mix of colonial and pre-Columbian artefacts adorn the restaurant and the hotel’s other communal areas. Its lush gardens open up to views of the mountains every room is named after and Chimborazo volcano – Ecuador’s highest peak.
Right in the heart of Quito’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, Hotel Mama Cuchara is a historic monument of its own. This whitewashed villa was once the home of Juanita Terraza Monsalve and was in its gardens that he, along with several other liberal conspirators, plotted the assassination of president Gabriel García Moreno around 150 years ago. Today, it showcases a wealth of extraordinary native art in revolving galleries as a way to support local artists, while rooms are furnished with Ecuadorian artefacts, artisan-crafted headboards and classic furniture.
A pair of zero-emission ships operated by Relais & Chateaux, there isn’t a more luxurious way to explore the Galápagos Islands than aboard either Origin or Theory. Holding just twenty passengers, you’re guaranteed intimate guided excursions to the islands’ most otherworldly treasures. The diverse activities Origin and Theory provide is staggering, from glass-bottom kayaking to nature walks in search of marine iguanas. Onboard, you’re treated to engaging expert-led talks, gourmet dinners and caipirinhas on deck at sundown, so you’re recharged for the next day.
Simply Guayaquil’s finest bolthole, Hotel de Parque is a tranquil retreat that serves as perfect prep (or some much-needed downtime) before or after any Galápagos adventure. Hidden in the Parque Historico botanical gardens, this elegant 19th-century building has preserved many of its opulent colonial features, with stylish furniture, illustrious artwork and an open-air patio with fountains and exotic foliage. Guests are also granted an access-all-areas pass to the botanical gardens so you can explore its wildlife-filled grounds – even after hours.
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