Ecuador

Ecuador might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but this audacious land stakes a legitimate claim as the continent's most complete package. Blessed with a bonanza of perfect beaches and the remarkable Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s wealth of natural riches make it a one-stop shop for incredible real life experiences. Come and indulge in a scoopful of the Amazon rainforest, a generous helping of the Andes and a refreshing glass of colonial Quito - Ecuador makes for a scrumptious serving of South America’s best.

Ecuador Tours & Travel

All our Ecuador trips

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CAD $4,378
AUD $4,686
EUR €3,248
GBP £2,396
NZD $5,038
ZAR R43,206
CHF FR3,311
Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater, is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Tour the Galapagos'...
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CAD $4,085
AUD $4,368
EUR €2,916
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ZAR R40,333
CHF FR2,985
Come face-to-face with the extraordinary central islands of the Galapagos. Snorkel with sharks off Isla Bartolome,...
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USD $2,055
CAD $2,395
AUD $2,525
EUR €1,778
GBP £1,310
NZD $2,752
ZAR R23,637
CHF FR1,815
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USD $7,025
CAD $7,910
AUD $8,464
EUR €5,868
GBP £4,341
NZD $9,103
ZAR R78,081
CHF FR6,003
Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...
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CAD $4,235
AUD $4,533
EUR €3,140
GBP £2,325
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ZAR R41,828
CHF FR3,216
Travel from Ecuador’s striking capital to the Galapagos Islands. Explore the archipelago’s rich history, dazzling...
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USD $2,695
CAD $3,083
AUD $3,296
EUR €2,283
GBP £1,691
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ZAR R30,426
CHF FR2,341
Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito, Ecuador. Tour the Galapagos' highlights from Isla San Cristobal to Isla...
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USD $6,375
CAD $6,980
AUD $7,470
EUR €5,175
GBP £3,840
NZD $7,875
ZAR R68,870
CHF FR5,295
Discover the lush beauty of the Amazon, the elegance of Buenos Aires and the awe-inspiring history of the Incas in...
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CAD $1,105
AUD $1,160
EUR €820
GBP £600
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ZAR R10,895
CHF FR835
Experience the Galapagos without breaking the bank. Visit the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal and...
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CAD $2,951
AUD $3,157
EUR €2,111
GBP £1,618
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ZAR R29,140
CHF FR2,159
Discover the natural treasures of the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions in the waters of Santa Fe, visit the...
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USD $4,411
CAD $5,079
AUD $5,331
EUR €3,661
GBP £2,762
NZD $5,847
ZAR R50,140
CHF FR3,748
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...
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USD $4,253
CAD $4,897
AUD $5,138
EUR €3,532
GBP £2,664
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ZAR R48,338
CHF FR3,611
Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...
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USD $9,035
CAD $9,890
AUD $10,585
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GBP £5,435
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ZAR R97,595
CHF FR7,505
Prepare yourself for the ultimate South American adventure starting in Ecuador. From the dizzying heights of the...
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USD $3,018
CAD $3,511
AUD $3,682
EUR €2,443
GBP £1,908
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ZAR R34,667
CHF FR2,498
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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USD $4,372
CAD $5,128
AUD $5,383
EUR €3,532
GBP £2,790
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ZAR R50,613
CHF FR3,611
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...
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CAD $3,735
AUD $4,000
EUR €2,770
GBP £2,055
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ZAR R36,860
CHF FR2,835
Experience the best of Ecuador and Peru: the Amazon Jungle, street food in Cusco, Andean family homestays at Lake...
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USD $2,090
CAD $2,307
AUD $2,464
EUR €1,708
GBP £1,261
NZD $2,648
ZAR R22,742
CHF FR1,749
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, myriad birdlife of Isla Española and...
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USD $1,995
CAD $2,355
AUD $2,470
EUR €1,745
GBP £1,280
NZD $2,695
ZAR R8,420
CHF FR1,795
Venture into Ecuador's lush Amazon rainforest in search of monkeys, caimans, pumas, sloths and birdlife. Stay in a...
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USD $1,720
CAD $2,015
AUD $2,115
EUR €1,495
GBP £1,095
NZD $2,320
ZAR R33,290
CHF FR1,530
Journey deep into the Amazon and spend three days in the jungle searching for wildlife, walking around Pilchicocha...
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CAD $2,944
AUD $3,052
EUR €2,030
GBP £1,600
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ZAR R29,056
CHF FR2,078
Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of the San...
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USD $630
CAD $740
AUD $775
EUR €545
GBP £400
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ZAR R7,285
CHF FR560
Set off on an Digital Detox adventure through Ecuador. See the Amazon, visit Banos and discover historic Quito on...
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USD $675
CAD $740
AUD $790
EUR €550
GBP £400
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ZAR R7,290
CHF FR560
Set off on an adventure through stunning Ecuador. Travel through the Amazon Jungle, visit laidback Banos and discover...
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CAD $6,528
AUD $6,851
EUR €4,838
GBP £3,551
NZD $7,513
ZAR R64,371
CHF FR4,956
Travel to Ecuador and the wildlife-rich shores of the Galapagos Islands. Then visit Peru and embark on an Inca Trail...
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USD $1,548
CAD $2,023
AUD $1,992
EUR €1,396
GBP £1,024
NZD $2,141
ZAR R18,735
CHF FR1,439
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Quito to Cartagena, visiting Los Nevados NP, Cali,...
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USD $9,956
CAD $12,943
AUD $12,835
EUR €9,004
GBP £6,589
NZD $13,803
ZAR R120,253
CHF FR9,687
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...
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USD $1,622
CAD $2,118
AUD $2,081
EUR €1,462
GBP £1,073
NZD $2,242
ZAR R19,548
CHF FR1,583
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador and Peru on a tour from Quito to Lima. Explore the Amazon Jungle, Rio...
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USD $6,601
CAD $8,821
AUD $8,507
EUR €5,948
GBP £4,399
NZD $9,147
ZAR R79,548
CHF FR6,558
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...
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USD $1,508
CAD $1,974
AUD $1,945
EUR €1,363
GBP £998
NZD $2,089
ZAR R29,477
CHF FR2,414
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Cartagena to Quito visiting Mompos, Medellin, Manizales,...
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USD $1,032
CAD $1,210
AUD $1,270
EUR €897
GBP £657
NZD $1,392
ZAR R11,940
CHF FR917
Embark on an unforgettable journey into Ecuador's Amazon Jungle. Search for local wildlife, float downriver by raft...
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CAD $2,085
AUD $2,057
EUR €1,441
GBP £1,057
NZD $2,210
ZAR R18,461
CHF FR1,494
Travel Overland from Lima, Peru, to Quito, Ecuador. Hit the beach in Punta Sal, get daring in Banos and go camping in...
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CAD $2,542
AUD $2,670
EUR €1,885
GBP £1,385
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ZAR R18,407
CHF FR1,930
Travel from Quito out to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands. Sail pristine waters, be awed by the friendly wildlife and...
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USD $3,985
CAD $4,597
AUD $4,824
EUR €3,314
GBP £2,498
NZD $5,291
ZAR R45,390
CHF FR3,391
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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USD $2,573
CAD $2,993
AUD $3,140
EUR €2,083
GBP £1,628
NZD $3,439
ZAR R29,532
CHF FR2,131
Explore the Islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of Isabela, Floreana and...
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USD $525
CAD $615
AUD $645
EUR €455
GBP £335
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ZAR R8,930
CHF FR465
Get way out of town and head into the Amazon on this unique Ecuador community experience. Learn about local life, see...
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USD $2,840
CAD $3,154
AUD $3,312
EUR €2,200
GBP £1,784
NZD $3,565
ZAR R29,285
CHF FR2,371
Take your family on a holiday with a difference to the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions at Isla san...
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Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...
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USD $7,599
CAD $8,733
AUD $9,170
EUR €6,293
GBP £4,754
NZD $10,054
ZAR R86,232
CHF FR6,443
Take an in depth cruise through the beautiful Galapagos Islands, exploring islas Isabella, Floreana and Espanola,...
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USD $5,840
CAD $6,840
AUD $7,180
EUR €4,999
GBP £3,725
NZD $7,880
ZAR R67,525
CHF FR5,111
Sail through the clear waters, meet the unique animals and soak in the beautiful and unusual landscapes of the...

Ecuador trip reviews

Our Ecuador trips score an average of 4.52 out of 5 based on 980 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos on a shoestring , April 2016

Angela Hidalgo Pascual

Galapagos Venture , April 2016

Angela Hidalgo Pascual

Articles on Ecuador

The best (and worst) times to visit the Galapagos Islands – infographic

Posted on Wed, 6 May 2015

When to go and what to see in the Galapagos Islands.

Read more

He thinks the Galapagos Islands are a model for the rest of us. He might be right. (video)

Posted on Fri, 10 Apr 2015

"It's possible for the Galapagos Islands to be a model for the rest of the world," says Galapagos guide Oswaldo Noboa as he gazes over the side of his boat.

Read more

20 photos that prove how incredible the Galapagos Islands are

Posted on Fri, 10 Apr 2015

The Galapagos Islands: the most photogenic place on earth?

Read more

We sent a filmmaker to the Galapagos Islands. What he came back with left us speechless.

Posted on Fri, 10 Apr 2015

The Galapagos video to end all Galapagos videos.

Read more

About Ecuador

At a glance

Capital city: Quito (population 1.5 million)
Population: 14.7 million
Language: Spanish
Currency: USD
Time zone: (GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code: +593

Best time to visit Ecuador

There are two seasons in Ecuador, wet and dry, and they vary depending on the region you are travelling in. For the most part, Ecuador is a sunny, warm country, and even the wet season will bring its fair share of sunny days. The best time to visit is largely dependent on your itinerary, although it should be noted that the Christmas period (December - January) is often the busiest, so be prepared for large crowds. In the Amazon, August and December through March are the driest seasons and April to June are the wettest. In the highlands, the dry season is from June to September as well as December. The Galapagos and coastal regions are mainly influenced by ocean currents. The hot and rainy season runs from January to April. It doesn't rain much, but you can expect some downpours at times. From May to December it can be a bit cooler, with more overcast days. High seasons in the Galapagos (June through August, December and January) are generally determined by holiday trends and not by weather conditions.

Ecuador weather chart

Geography and environment

Pristine beach in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries, tucked away on the continent’s Pacific coastline. Bordering Colombia in the north and Peru in the south, Ecuador contains its own segments of some of South America’s most famous landmarks, such as the Amazon rainforest and the Andes. Adding to Ecuador’s list of natural wonders are the incredible Galapagos Islands, which lie about 1000 km west of the mainland. These volcanic islands are famed for their association with botanist Charles Darwin, who spent considerable time studying their incredible biodiversity. Like many other South American countries, Ecuador’s coastline boasts a large number of pristine beaches. Mantra, Crucita, Canoa and Montanita are among the famous spots, however there are many other national parks and small coastal towns that offer their own variations of beachside bliss. Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is located in the north of the country, and is renowned for its colonial architecture. To the west of the city is Pichincha, one of Ecuador’s many spectacular volcanoes.

Top Picks

Galagagos Island boats Iguana

Top 5 Natural Marvels of Ecuador

1. Volcanoes

Ecuador is a climbing and mountaineering paradise, with some of the grandest (and most active) volcanoes in the world. Just south of Quito lies the ‘Avenue of Volcanos’, which includes the country's highest peak, and no less than nine awe-inspiring volcanos.

2. Beaches

Ecuador is a beach lover’s haven, with a well-earned reputation for supplying some of the most gorgeous spots on South America’s Pacific coast. While there are no shortage of backpacker havens and crowded Ecuadorian holiday spots, those seeking a little more privacy should check out the beautiful Manta and the gorgeous Machalilla National Park.

3. The Andes

Hard to ignore, the Andes form Ecuador’s rocky spine and are home to breathtaking tropical valleys, snow-capped peaks and fresh mountain lakes. A welcome escape from Ecuador’s hot summers, the Andes offer an unforgettable array of high-altitude adventures.

4. The Amazon

Rich in colour and natural diversity, Ecuador is blessed with a sizeable portion of the famous Amazon rainforest. Lying to the west of the Andes, this incredible jungle is home to some of the world’s most fascinating and unique species, as well as being an ideal place to enjoy activities such as canoeing, trekking and bird watching.

5. Galapagos Islands

Journey to a lost world and discover a wildlife sanctuary that continues to inspire visitors and scientists alike. Relatively untouched by human life, the Galapagos is an ecological Disneyland, the jewel in Ecuador’s already glistening crown.

FAQs on Ecuador

ECUADOR TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required

Citizens of the Republic of China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia, require an appropriate visa to enter Ecuador..
Tipping isn't mandatory in Ecuador, but feel free to round up the bill or leave spare change at restaurants and cafes. Some restaurants may already include a 10% service charge, in which case, an extra tip isn't required.
Ecuador's cities and tourist centres have internet access available in internet cafes and hotels. Less internet access is available in rural and remote areas, so prepare to disconnect when leaving the city.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Ecuador's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote, mountainous and isolated areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your carrier if you wish to use your phone while in Ecuador.
Ecuador's toilets are a mixture of flushable toilets and squat toilets, so be prepared to encounter both. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these aren't always provided.
Short bus ride = US$0.20
Juice = US$1
Street food snack = US$1.50
Simple lunch = US$3-5
Sit down dinner at a cafe or restaurant = US$10
Travellers should avoid drinking tap water in Ecuador. For environmental reasons, try to avoid bottled water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found as some hotels provide this. Remember to peel fruit and vegetables before eating and avoid ice in drinks.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops, hotels and restaurants, although smaller vendors and market stalls often only accept cash. Be sure to carry multiple methods of payment as credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Ecuador.
ATMs are easily found in the large cities and airports, although are less common in rural and remote areas. When travelling out of the city, be prepared by having enough cash, as ATMs aren't always available.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
May 24 Battle of Pichincha
Aug 10 Independence Day
Oct 9 Guayaquil Independence Day
Nov 2 All Souls' Day
Nov 3 Cuenca Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/ecuador/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Ecuador Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Ecuador

1. Be considerate of Ecuador’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!

5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

9. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

10. If travelling in the Galapagos, respect the biodiversity of this area by not removing anything from the island - except rubbish!

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Ecuador EffectDavid E Stuart
Galapagos at the CrossroadsCarol Ann Bassett
The Queen of WaterLaura Resau and Maria Virginia Farinango
Living Poor: A Peace Corps ChronicleMoritz Thomsen
The Panama Hat TrailTom Miller
Darwin in Galapagos: Footsteps to a New WorldK Thalia Grant and Gregory C Estes
GalapagosKurt Vonnegut

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