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

Top holiday deals in Ecuador

Departing Days Price USD
20 Feb 2016 Glimpse of Galapagos - Northern Islands - (Nemo III) 6 $2185
22 Feb 2016 Active Galapagos 10 $3180
23 Feb 2016 Complete Galapagos - Central Islands (Daphne) 10 $3483
23 Feb 2016 Galapagos Island Hopping 8 $2352
27 Feb 2016 Galapagos Panorama - Southern Islands - (Nemo III) 10 $3718

All our Ecuador trips

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USD $3,354
CAD $3,934
AUD $4,130
EUR €2,916
GBP £2,139
NZD $4,527
ZAR R38,839
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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FROM
USD $3,718
CAD $4,361
AUD $4,578
EUR €3,234
GBP £2,370
NZD $5,017
ZAR R43,049
CHF FR3,310
Look for green turtles nesting on the white beaches of Las Bachas, scan the water for pods of dolphins off Isla...
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USD $3,180
CAD $3,744
AUD $3,931
EUR €2,778
GBP £2,032
NZD $4,308
ZAR R36,952
CHF FR2,832
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USD $2,000
CAD $2,340
AUD $2,455
EUR €1,735
GBP £1,275
NZD $2,695
ZAR R23,100
CHF FR1,775
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USD $6,830
CAD $7,910
AUD $8,304
EUR €5,868
GBP £4,301
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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USD $4,740
CAD $5,557
AUD $5,834
EUR €4,119
GBP £3,023
NZD $6,396
ZAR R54,860
CHF FR4,216
Travel from Ecuador’s striking capital to the Galapagos Islands. Explore the archipelago’s rich history, dazzling...
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USD $2,352
CAD $2,644
AUD $2,775
EUR €1,958
GBP £1,437
NZD $3,042
ZAR R26,089
CHF FR2,007
Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito, Ecuador. Tour the Galapagos' highlights from Isla San Cristobal to Isla...
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USD $5,208
CAD $5,808
AUD $6,096
EUR €4,304
GBP £3,160
NZD $6,552
ZAR R57,300
CHF FR4,404
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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USD $3,718
CAD $4,361
AUD $4,578
EUR €3,234
GBP £2,370
NZD $5,017
ZAR R43,049
CHF FR3,310
Discover the wonders of San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana and Santa Cruz islands sailing on the Nemo III. See the...
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USD $920
CAD $1,075
AUD $1,130
EUR €800
GBP £580
NZD $1,240
ZAR R10,595
CHF FR815
Experience the Galapagos without breaking the bank. Visit the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal and...
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USD $4,208
CAD $4,935
AUD $5,180
EUR €3,399
GBP £2,685
NZD $5,682
ZAR R48,723
CHF FR3,478
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...
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USD $2,339
CAD $2,744
AUD $2,881
EUR €2,034
GBP £1,492
NZD $3,155
ZAR R27,089
CHF FR2,082
Discover the natural treasures of the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions in the waters of Santa Fe, visit the...
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CAD $4,935
AUD $5,180
EUR €3,399
GBP £2,685
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ZAR R48,723
CHF FR3,478
Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...
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USD $2,566
CAD $3,010
AUD $3,161
EUR €2,233
GBP £1,635
NZD $3,463
ZAR R29,721
CHF FR2,285
Begin this tour with a quick exploration of Quito. Travel to Isla San Cristobal, stop by the Charles Darwin Research...
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USD $2,185
CAD $2,566
AUD $2,692
EUR €1,901
GBP £1,394
NZD $2,949
ZAR R25,311
CHF FR1,945
Watch sea lions on Isla Santa Fe, explore the hidden bays and coves of Sombrero Chino and observe the peculiar...
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USD $7,376
CAD $8,228
AUD $8,636
EUR €6,104
GBP £4,476
NZD $9,472
ZAR R81,200
CHF FR6,244
Prepare yourself for the ultimate South American adventure starting in Ecuador. From the dizzying heights of the...
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USD $2,555
CAD $3,002
AUD $3,149
EUR €2,224
GBP £1,628
NZD $3,451
ZAR R29,615
CHF FR2,276
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, myriad birdlife of Isla Española and...
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CAD $4,935
AUD $5,180
EUR €3,399
GBP £2,685
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ZAR R48,723
CHF FR3,478
Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...
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CAD $3,010
AUD $3,161
EUR €2,233
GBP £1,635
NZD $3,463
ZAR R29,721
CHF FR2,285
Visit the Galapagos Islands for the adventure of a lifetime onboard the stylish Nemo III. Discover the history of...
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USD $2,857
CAD $3,353
AUD $3,518
EUR €2,352
GBP £1,821
NZD $3,859
ZAR R33,106
CHF FR2,407
Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...
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USD $2,185
CAD $2,566
AUD $2,692
EUR €1,901
GBP £1,394
NZD $2,949
ZAR R25,311
CHF FR1,945
Fly to the Galapagos where the Nemo III catamaran is waiting to take you on an amazing adventure. Take in Genovesa,...
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USD $2,684
CAD $2,988
AUD $3,136
EUR €2,216
GBP £1,628
NZD $3,436
ZAR R29,488
CHF FR2,268
Experience the best of Ecuador and Peru: the Amazon Jungle, street food in Cusco, Andean family homestays at Lake...
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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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USD $2,465
CAD $2,891
AUD $3,000
EUR €2,030
GBP £1,572
NZD $3,327
ZAR R28,545
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 $495
CAD $555
AUD $581
EUR €412
GBP £296
NZD $637
ZAR R5,467
CHF FR420
Set off on an adventure through stunning Ecuador. Travel through the Amazon Jungle, visit laidback Banos and discover...
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USD $1,596
CAD $1,899
AUD $1,996
EUR €1,400
GBP £1,024
NZD $2,145
ZAR R18,775
CHF FR1,443
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Quito to Cartagena, visiting Los Nevados NP, Cali,...
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112
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USD $11,690
CAD $13,915
AUD $14,596
EUR €10,230
GBP £7,508
NZD $15,701
ZAR R134,276
CHF FR10,870
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...
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FROM
USD $1,920
CAD $2,282
AUD $774
EUR €1,676
GBP £1,231
NZD $2,572
ZAR R22,409
CHF FR1,819
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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112
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USD $11,600
CAD $13,805
AUD $14,486
EUR €10,150
GBP £7,448
NZD $15,581
ZAR R134,906
CHF FR10,925
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...
DAYS
19
FROM
USD $1,820
CAD $2,159
AUD $2,270
EUR €1,590
GBP £1,166
NZD $2,438
ZAR R35,330
CHF FR2,901
Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Cartagena to Quito visiting Mompos, Medellin, Manizales,...
DAYS
4
FROM
USD $1,120
CAD $1,295
AUD $1,375
EUR €970
GBP £715
NZD $1,495
ZAR R18,190
CHF FR995
Embark on an unforgettable journey into Ecuador's Amazon Jungle. Search for local wildlife, float downriver by raft...
DAYS
20
FROM
USD $1,870
CAD $2,215
AUD $2,321
EUR €1,627
GBP £1,195
NZD $2,498
ZAR R21,378
CHF FR1,737
Travel Overland from Lima, Peru, to Quito, Ecuador. Hit the beach in Punta Sal, get daring in Banos and go camping in...
DAYS
7
FROM
USD $2,172
CAD $2,542
AUD $2,670
EUR €1,885
GBP £1,385
NZD $2,870
ZAR R18,371
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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Spend over five weeks travelling through the delights of South America – from the elegant capital of Ecuador, through...

Ecuador trip reviews

Our Ecuador trips score an average of 4.52 out of 5 based on 746 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos on a shoestring , February 2016

Linda Khalfi

Galapagos Venture , February 2016

Linda Khalfi

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