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

Galapagos Panorama - Northern Islands - (Nemo III)

10 days from
USD $5,155
CAD $5,325
AUD $5,327
EUR €3,522
GBP £3,019
NZD $5,811
ZAR R51,276
CHF FR4,266

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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Complete Galapagos - (Daphne)

10 days from
USD $3,434
CAD $3,553
AUD $3,587
EUR €2,373
GBP £2,018
NZD $3,876
ZAR R34,869
CHF FR2,871

Travel from Ecuador’s striking capital to the Galapagos Islands. Explore the archipelago’s rich history, dazzling...

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Galapagos Panorama - Southern Islands - (Nemo III)

10 days from
USD $5,055
CAD $5,225
AUD $5,127
EUR €3,522
GBP £2,964
NZD $5,701
ZAR R51,276
CHF FR4,266

Discover the wonders of San Cristobal, Espanola, Floreana and Santa Cruz islands sailing on the Nemo III. See the...

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Galapagos Escapade - Southern Islands - (Nemo III)

7 days from
USD $3,475
CAD $3,590
AUD $3,527
EUR €2,422
GBP £2,039
NZD $3,921
ZAR R35,261
CHF FR2,936

Begin this tour with a quick exploration of Quito. Travel to Isla San Cristobal, stop by the Charles Darwin Research...

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Glimpse of Galapagos - Central Islands - (Nemo III)

6 days from
USD $2,377
CAD $2,464
AUD $2,488
EUR €1,645
GBP £1,402
NZD $2,686
ZAR R24,169
CHF FR1,992

Watch sea lions on Isla Santa Fe, explore the hidden bays and coves of Sombrero Chino and observe the peculiar...

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Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $5,355
CAD $5,530
AUD $5,532
EUR €3,662
GBP £3,134
NZD $6,041
ZAR R54,316
CHF FR4,431

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...

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Classic Galapagos - Central Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $5,355
CAD $5,530
AUD $5,532
EUR €3,662
GBP £3,139
NZD $6,041
ZAR R54,316
CHF FR4,431

Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...

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Galapagos Adventure - Northern Islands (Daphne)

7 days from
USD $2,370
CAD $2,447
AUD $2,407
EUR €1,592
GBP £1,395
NZD $2,679
ZAR R24,061
CHF FR1,922

Discover the natural treasures of the Galapagos Islands. Snorkel with sea lions in the waters of Santa Fe, visit the...

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Active Galapagos

10 days from
USD $3,315
CAD $3,596
AUD $3,534
EUR €2,358
GBP £1,969
NZD $3,929
ZAR R35,300
CHF FR2,854

Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito, Ecuador. Tour the Galapagos' highlights from Isla San Cristobal to Isla...

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Galapagos Escapade - Northern Islands - (Nemo III)

7 days from
USD $3,540
CAD $3,660
AUD $3,662
EUR €2,422
GBP £2,079
NZD $3,996
ZAR R35,261
CHF FR2,936

Visit the Galapagos Islands for the adventure of a lifetime onboard the stylish Nemo III. Discover the history of...

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Glimpse of Galapagos - Northern Islands - (Nemo III)

6 days from
USD $3,140
CAD $3,245
AUD $3,247
EUR €2,147
GBP £1,844
NZD $3,541
ZAR R31,256
CHF FR2,601

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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Classic Galapagos - Central Eastern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $3,931
CAD $4,057
AUD $3,986
EUR €2,590
GBP £2,305
NZD $4,432
ZAR R39,860
CHF FR3,133

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...

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Galapagos at a Glance - Southern Islands - (Daphne)

6 days from
USD $1,999
CAD $2,072
AUD $2,092
EUR €1,386
GBP £1,178
NZD $2,262
ZAR R20,347
CHF FR1,677

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, myriad birdlife of Isla Española and...

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Galapagos Explorer - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)

7 days from
USD $2,587
CAD $2,674
AUD $2,677
EUR €1,771
GBP £1,521
NZD $2,917
ZAR R26,255
CHF FR2,143

Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...

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Ecuador Amazon Extension - 4d (Sacha Lodge)

4 days from
USD $1,775
CAD $1,830
AUD $1,795
EUR €1,235
GBP £1,037
NZD $2,000
ZAR R17,967
CHF FR1,495

Journey deep into the Amazon and spend three days in the jungle searching for wildlife, walking around Pilchicocha...

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Ecuador Amazon Extension - 5d (Sacha Lodge)

5 days from
USD $2,100
CAD $2,167
AUD $2,125
EUR €1,462
GBP £1,227
NZD $2,367
ZAR R21,270
CHF FR1,770

Venture into Ecuador's lush Amazon rainforest in search of monkeys, caimans, pumas, sloths and birdlife. Stay in a...

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Ecuador on a shoestring

8 days from
USD $590
CAD $595
AUD $595
EUR €420
GBP £345
NZD $660
ZAR R5,955
CHF FR495

Set off on an adventure through stunning Ecuador. Travel through the Amazon Jungle, visit laidback Banos and discover...

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Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)

6 days from
USD $2,433
CAD $2,513
AUD $2,470
EUR €1,578
GBP £1,434
NZD $2,745
ZAR R24,698
CHF FR1,912

Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of the San...

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Galapagos & Peru Adventure

24 days from
USD $6,400
CAD $6,616
AUD $6,494
EUR €4,378
GBP £3,754
NZD $7,224
ZAR R64,940
CHF FR5,299

Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...

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Ecuador and Peru Explorer

16 days from
USD $1,305
CAD $1,355
AUD $1,350
EUR €895
GBP £765
NZD $1,480
ZAR R13,290
CHF FR1,095

Travel from captivating Quito through the jungles of the Amazon, to the spa town of Banos, the seaside of Zorritos...

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Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure

17 days from
USD $4,595
CAD $4,746
AUD $4,664
EUR €3,143
GBP £2,694
NZD $5,189
ZAR R46,615
CHF FR3,804

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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Galapagos Venture

9 days from
USD $1,965
CAD $2,131
AUD $2,094
EUR €1,373
GBP £1,169
NZD $2,314
ZAR R20,560
CHF FR1,664

Discover the Galapagos Islands on this enchanting adventure visiting the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San...

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Highlights of Ecuador

9 days from
USD $915
CAD $985
AUD $970
EUR €720
GBP £585
NZD $1,080
ZAR R10,510
CHF FR875

Get to know the culture, people, towns and countryside of Ecuador on this best of Ecuador tour. Visit Banos, Otavalo,...

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Quito to Cartagena

19 days from
USD $1,925
CAD $2,086
AUD $2,067
EUR €1,410
GBP £1,171
NZD $2,281
ZAR R20,481
CHF FR1,702

Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Quito to Cartagena, visiting Los Nevados NP, Cali,...

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Quito to Lima

20 days from
USD $1,593
CAD $1,726
AUD $1,717
EUR €1,166
GBP £982
NZD $1,887
ZAR R16,914
CHF FR1,408

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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Rio to Quito via Ushuaia

112 days from
USD $12,170
CAD $13,187
AUD $13,107
EUR €8,900
GBP £7,478
NZD $14,426
ZAR R129,421
CHF FR10,768

Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...

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Quito to Rio via Ushuaia

112 days from
USD $8,642
CAD $9,362
AUD $9,220
EUR €6,320
GBP £5,162
NZD $10,251
ZAR R91,888
CHF FR7,645

Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...

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Cartagena to Quito

19 days from
USD $1,600
CAD $1,733
AUD $1,720
EUR €1,169
GBP £979
NZD $1,895
ZAR R16,984
CHF FR1,414

Take an exciting overland trip through Colombia. Travel from Cartagena to Quito visiting Mompos, Medellin, Manizales,...

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Ecuador Amazon Jungle - 4 days

4 days from
USD $1,092
CAD $1,127
AUD $1,105
EUR €760
GBP £637
NZD $1,230
ZAR R11,060
CHF FR920

Embark on an unforgettable journey into Ecuador's Amazon Jungle. Search for local wildlife, float downriver by raft...

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Lima to Quito

20 days from
USD $1,965
CAD $2,129
AUD $2,112
EUR €1,436
GBP £1,200
NZD $2,328
ZAR R20,858
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...

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Galapagos Santa Cruz and around

7 days from
USD $2,535
CAD $2,620
AUD $2,571
EUR €1,767
GBP £1,488
NZD $2,861
ZAR R25,716
CHF FR2,140

Travel from Quito out to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands. Sail pristine waters, be awed by the friendly wildlife and...

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Ecuador Community Stay

6 days from
USD $582
CAD $602
AUD $590
EUR €405
GBP £340
NZD $657
ZAR R5,905
CHF FR490

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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Galapagos Discovery- Hotel Based

11 days from
USD $4,295
CAD $4,655
AUD $4,565
EUR €3,080
GBP £2,535
NZD $5,085
ZAR R45,690
CHF FR3,725

From Quito to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands, discover dramatic island scenery, thriving wildlife, intriguing...

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Ecuador trip reviews

Our Ecuador trips score an average of 4.59 out of 5 based on 208 reviews in the last year.

Classic Galapagos - Central Eastern Islands (Queen Beatriz) Standard Twin, July 2015

Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz) Deluxe Double, July 2015

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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Ecuador, the Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

The Charles Darwin Foundation

This vital centre represents and protects fragile species in the Galapagos area by restoring natural environments and increasing habitats for endangered species. Conservation projects work to restore degraded areas, protect precious ecosystems and garner community involvement and support for this important part of the world.

Image supplied by Jane Crouch.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

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