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Top Trip Memories

  • Walking among frigate birds, blue footed boobies, colorful iguanas, sea lions, giant tortoises and other creatures in the Galapagos who have no fear of humans.
  • Riding a dugout canoe through the rivers of the Amazon basin en route to a jungle lodge.
  • Swimming with piranhas, coming face to face with a giant golden orb spider and his web, and encountering a 20-foot-long boa constrictor – all within feet of your jungle lodge. 
  • Hiking to the base of Cotopaxi volcano, gazing at the summit and wondering how far you climb up with hiking boots and a stick.
  • Touring colonial Quito and its architectural treasures, including a Baroque church (La Compania) whose nave is covered in gold leaf and ornate carvings.
  • Wandering the huge Otavalo marketplace in search of handmade woven goods, wood carvings, Ecuadorian foods and lots of local color.
  • Standing astride the line that marks the Equator at the Middle of the World Monument, with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere, the other in the Southern (a great photo op even if the actual Equator may be several hundred feet away.)
  • Visiting colonial Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site high in the Andes, wandering its cobbled streets and enjoying its public parks and handicraft shops. 
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Tour Tips

  • Ecuador is so rich in touring treasures – the Galapagos, the Andes, the Amazon, the colonial cities, the Pacific coast -- that you may need several visits to do it justice.
  • Taking a week-long Galapagos cruise allows you to see more of the islands and their diverse wildlife than simply staying on one of the two populated islands.
  • Many visitors combine Galapagos tours with tours to Machu Picchu in Peru, and many tour operators offer such combinations.
  • If your tour takes you to the Amazon basin, look to stay at least three days if possible in a jungle lodge, to be able to get a good taste of the region.
  • Even though Ecuador is on the Equator, pack a jacket if your tour includes high-elevation cities like Quito and Cuenca.  You might consider bringing high-altitude medication if you’re really bothered by the rarefied air, but discuss possible side effects with your doctor.
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Ecuador Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5

100%

recommend

430 Reviews

  • Excellent 302
  • Great 124
  • Average 3
  • Disappointing 1
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.7
  • Guide
    4.7
  • Activities
    4.7
  • Lodging
    4.7
  • Transportation
    4.7
  • Meals
    4.7

Tour Reviews

Impeccable trip with Allie's handling.

Classic Galapagos: Cruising Darwin’s Enchanted Islands

5.0
December 2016
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Even with the minor hiccups, this entire adventure was impeccable and that is an understatement.

We had a fantastic time, everyone was great, helpful and the guides were exceptional.

Galápagos — South & East Islands aboard the Queen of Galápagos

5.0
December 2016
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: No
Galapagos was something unique, the value and the price were a good match. All of the people were friendly and helpful. The experience was once in a lifetime.

Myths & Mountains team were fantastic in helping us with all the planning.

Classic Galapagos: Cruising Darwin’s Enchanted Islands

5.0
November 2016
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Years ago my wife and I took an amazing trip to Peru that was planned by Myths and Mountains. So, when we decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to see the Galapagos Islands, we again turned to the “adventure travel experts”, Myths and Mountains, and were not disappointed. Life conspired to make the planning difficult; we had to cancel and reschedule the trip more than once. Finally, we saw the Galapagos in October, 2016. Allie, Jen and their team couldn’t have been better to work with. They were fantastic in helping us with all the planning. They know the islands, companies, the venues, the facilities and the cruise companies.


They were terrific about working with us through the cancellations, and they were always there for us. We would contact them with the silliest questions, and they always had time for us and had the right answers. They spent enough time with us to understand exactly what our needs were, and they accommodated them perfectly. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted to see. A couple of weeks before departure, they initiated a conference call with us to go through the trip in infinite detail. When we headed for the airport, we knew exactly what to expect every step of the way.

Upon arrival at the airport in Washington, DC, we determined that our flight was very late and that we would miss the connecting flight to Ecuador from Miami. After working with American Airlines, we called Allie to let her know the new flight arrangements. Effortlessly, she had our transfer guide waiting at the airport when we landed at 2:00AM. She had also rescheduled our ½ day city tour for the next day to the afternoon so that we could sleep in.

The hotel choices were excellent, as was the ship. We thoroughly enjoyed everything about the “Eric”, from the boat itself to the terrific crew and naturalists, who absolutely made the trip. We are both vegans, and as Allie & Jen assured us, that was no problem. In fact the food was terrific. They even made sure that the birthday cake prepared for me was vegan!

We’re sure we could have put together an enjoyable trip to the Galapagos “on our own”, but we are also sure it would have been much more work, and we are certain that we could not have done nearly as good a job as was done by Myths and Mountains. They have our hearty endorsement, and we encourage you to contact them and say hi from Barry & Rita.
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Tour Leader & M/M are super awesome!

Classic Galapagos: Cruising Darwin’s Enchanted Islands

5.0
November 2016
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
Allie & M/M are the best. Allie couldn’t have been more professional, friendly and extremely helpful. We wanted to take an adventurous honeymoon to the Galapagos but we wanted to make sure that we had a first class trip as well. Allie arranged all of our accommodations on land & abroad the luxury yacht M/Y Grace and she got us an upgraded cabin too. Since there are only 9 cabins it took a little magic to get us a bigger one for the same price. That was only the beginning of the magic, the drivers, guides and crew aboard the M/Y Grace were fantastic, friendly , knowledgeable always accessible and approachable - you can tell that they loved what they were doing. We took Allie’s all recommendations without question - and we were happy that we did. She made our trip of a lifetime a reality. Allie got all the big things right from logistics and restaurant recommendations while adding very special touches of thoughtfulness. After a long flight from San Francisco to Guayaquil Ecuador, we were taken to our beautiful room at the Wyndham Hotel. Champagne and rose petals on our bed with a nice note from Allie congratulating us for our honeymoon were waiting for us as we arrived. The little things were not forgotten. We loved every minute of our time on board the Grace. What sets Allie & M/M apart form any other tour companies that we’ve used is that we knew that Allie was checking on us routinely with the hotels, the Grace and with us directly when we had email or cell coverage. We would come to appreciate how important these check ins were. On April 16th, our travel day home, Allie had arranged for a hotel room in Guayaquil for about 6 hours for our layover on our return trip home to San Francisco. Our flight was delayed in the Galapagos for about 3 hours, we landed in Guayaquil at a little after 6pm local time, we were met by our M/M driver, waiting patiently for us. It was only a 15 min drive from the airport to our hotel. Our driver told us that he would return at 8pm to collect us for the return to the airport. At 6:58 pm local time a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador with the epicenter 200 miles north on the coastline. The tremors lasted for almost 60 seconds. We were on the 6th floor of the hotel when we felt our room sway back and forth as if we were still on bard the Grace. We had never been in an earthquake before and this was a harrowing experience, We left the hotel with the help of a security guard who was very calmly checking every room on our floor. Luckily there was no damage to the hotel as it was “antisesmic” as the guard kept telling us. The hotel structure did its job - not even a broken window. Can’t say the same for the older infrastructure surrounding the hotel. An overpass next to the hotel collapsed killing two people in a a car below. There were several immediate aftershocks that were very noticeable but not as strong as the initial shock. Shortly after a headcount of all guests & staff at the hotel was completed we were allowed back into our rooms. We retrieved our bags and made a decision to head to the airport assuming that it might be the safest place to stay during the aftermath of a earthquake. The airline was reporting that our flight was still “on time”. At 8pm, just as he said he would, our driver found us in a fairly chaotic hotel lobby. He grabbed our bags and we drove to the airport, seeing first hand the damage done to the city of Guayaquil. Power outage, collapsed overpass and road closures - including the road to the airport. The airport itself appeared to be open so we continued, with his local knowledge, we were able to take an alternative route to the airport and pulled up to an open gate were were able to walk to the terminal. Our driver took us to an airport official would said that the airport was damaged and was closed, but may reopen soon. He told us to stay near the official and that she would signal when the doors would open. About an hour later that is what happened. We were first in line at the unmanned American Airline counter waiting to get the next flight out. We made our calls to the airlines as we waited. While waiting we heard our names being called. Javier from M/M identified himself and said that Allie had called them to go find us at the airport…… truly above and beyond! Javier confirmed that there would be no flights that night but had us wait to check in with American anyway. We did and booked the first flight out in the morning to New York. Javier then arranged a room at the Hilton not for from the airport. He drove us there , made sure that we were checked in and arrived safely in our room. All this during a historic earthquake which we would learn would claim 650+ lives and cause a state of emergency in Ecuador for weeks to come. I offered Javier some money for his help; he declined. We made it back to San Francisco about 24 hours later. First call that we received was fro Allie making sure we were alright. I think we’ll use Allie & M/M again not to mention recommend them, highly. A trip of a lifetime to say the least. THANK YOU ALLIE!








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Fantastic trip!

Andes to Amazon

5.0
October 2016
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
This was one of my best ever trips. Ecuador is a beautiful country with many different kinds of scenery, interesting cities, fabulous bird life, fascinating indigenous people, colourful markets and much more.
Impossible to pick just one! Our whole time in the jungle was great but practising with a blowpipe certainly has to be high up on the list. Also walking down Chimborazo volcano at 4,800m in the snow just 24 hours later was pretty special. Making chocolate on a farm, from caco bean to a hot drink, was really good fun and the boat trip in the mangroves at the coast was amazing - we saw so many beautiful birds. Oh yes, and the hummingbirds in the cloud forest....I could go on for ever!

Pablo is a great tour leader. He is friendly, great fun and very informative. It is clear that he loves his country and he is passionate about Ecuador's wildlife and people. He was very much part of the group, interested in finding out about us as well as answering all our endless questions about Ecuador. He always made sure everything ran smoothly and quickly sorted out any little problems that occurred. He made a great holiday very special.

Take some warm clothes! Within a 24 hour period we went from steaming in the jungle to freezing near the top of a snow-capped volcano! Waterproof trousers are a good way of keeping your legs warm and a hat and gloves are a good idea. Don't forget a swimming costume for tubing in the jungle and the hot springs elsewhere.

All in all this is a trip for those who want a slice of all that mainland Ecuador has to offer. It's a busy two weeks with perhaps not long enough in each place, but Ecuador has so much variety with so many different landscapes and this trip will offer you a taste of everything.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Ecuador Trips & Tour Advice

Ecuador may pack more attractions per square mile into its Wyoming-sized borders than any other country in the Americas.

If you like mountains, Ecuador serves up the Andes. If you like tropical rainforest, exotic flora and fauna, and isolated rivers where the only noises are birds chirping and monkeys chattering, Ecuador offers the Amazon basin for your enjoyment. If you like remarkable Spanish colonial architecture, history and charm, Ecuador is home to beautiful (and beautifully situated) cities like Quito and Cuenca.

If tropical coastlines are your preferred scene, Ecuador lays the Pacific coast at your feet. If shopping is your passion, Ecuador presents a dizzying array of colorful hand-woven textiles, hand-made carvings –- and ranks as the real home of the Panama hat.

The Incomparable Galapagos

And if you like wildlife, the Galapagos Islands may be the top location outside of Africa to view it – and is certainly the best place in the world to get up close and personal with a variety of birds, reptiles, and sea mammals.

 You can walk, photograph, dive, and snorkel among them without frightening them or causing them to scatter – as long as you stay on the trails, don’t reach out to touch them and obey all the other rules of the land and sea that your trained guides lay out.

Extending Your Visit

Keep in mind that the Galapagos are almost 800 miles (1200 kilometers) from mainland Ecuador, so except for a stay in coastal Guayaquil or the capital, Quito –- the two cities from which Galapagos flights depart -- you may not see much more of Ecuador on a Galapagos tour than the islands themselves. 

However, many tour operators offer extensions to Galapagos tours that will take you to other destinations in Ecuador or nearby Peru; Galapagos-Machu Picchu combinations are especially popular.

Quito and Cuenca

The old section of Quito – which sits at more than 9,300 feet (2,800 meters) in the Andes, the world’s highest capital city – and Cuenca, which sits at 8,400 feet (2,500 meters) in the mountains, are both UNESCO World Heritage sites, filled with remarkable examples of Spanish colonial architecture. And both warrant a visit.

Quito is larger, noisier, and prone to petty crime like pickpocketing, but old town Quito is a trove of colonial architectural treasures such as the Jesuit church known as La Compania, with its ornate Baroque carvings and nave gilded with gold leaf.

Quito is also a good base for trips to the 19,000-foot (5,800 meters) high Cotopaxi volcano, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of the city, and to the famous Otavalo Market, about 50 miles north, where you can shop for woolen goods and other hand-made textiles and carvings, or just take in the colorful scene. The popular Middle of the World Monument, with its yellow stripe that supposedly marks the Equator, is on the way to Otavalo.

Cuenca is smaller, quieter, and also enjoys a spectacular mountain setting. The old city is filled with colonial churches, plazas, parks and museums.

Wherever you choose to go in Ecuador, Stride can help you find the perfect guided group tour or tours that best suit your needs. And chances are, you’ll want to return again and again.

Related Guides

Continent:             

South America

Local Attraction:  

Galapagos Island, Otavalo Market, Montanita, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Cotopaxi, Quilotoa and Many More

Top Activities:      

Exploring Culture, Wildlife Sightseeing & Nature Sightseeing

Similar Destinations:                    

BrazilChile, Peru

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