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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

438 Reviews

  • Excellent 336
  • Great 138
  • 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

Galapagos, in Darwin's Footsteps - Amazing!

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was to be our "holiday of a lifetime" - I was slightly concerned it might not live up to my expectations as I had wanted to visit Galapagos for many years. However I was not disappointed! Every day I thought it couldn't get any better, but it did. The wildlife was all fantastic. I didn't expect to do so much snorkelling, but it meant we were swimming with turtles, sealions, sharks and many colourful fishes :)
Highlights for me were Floreana (especially meeting the Wittmer family), camping and walking up Sierra Negra, and swimming with turtles.

Fabian was excellent! He pulled a very diverse group of people together and made sure no-one was left out. His knowledge of the islands and the wildlife was great.

Read the book "Floreana" by Wittmer before you visit the Island of Floreana. It is a fascinating story and you will look at the island in a different light!
Buy a wildlife guide book before you go. I expected there to be a wider choice of guides on the islands, but there is in fact very little choice.

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5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
I travelled in november 2016 to the galapagos. I had a great trip. There were fourteen in the group. It was a mixture of couples and singles. The days were spent either travelling by boat , swimming/ snorkelling . Or some walking. The snorkelling was amazing. It was more difficult than i had anticipated. The snorkelling at kicker rock was really cold and not for the faint hearted. The walking was easy. It was very dry and dusty on the hike. It wouldn't have taken much rain for the trail to become very muddy.
Loved all the snorkelling. My favourites were santa fe and floreana. There was a mix up with bookings - at the end of the trip we went to santa fe instead of bartholome.

Fabian was knowledgable and very patient. There were also galapagos guides who were good. You just had to turn up and everything happened.

I took my own snorkel and mask. I was glad i did as i could make sure it fitted properly before i went. You can hire them though. The water was cold and some days you did need a wet suit. I hired one. For the hike i had walking boots and a walking pole. I carried the pole like an ornament most of time. However i think it could get very muddy on the trail. If it is muddy, A walking pole would be handy. The trail down to the suphur mine was steep.
You don't need to buy much water. All the hotels had water fountains with filtered water.
Souvenirs were more expensive than i thought they would be. I waited until santa cruz to buy things. I got a few bits from darwin research centre.
The bus ride from the airport to the hotel can take ages. Sometimes the traffic was horrendous.

No

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Galapagos in Darwins footsteps

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A few days spent on each of four slightly different islands allowing you to see lots of wildlife and some interesting geological features.
Snorkelling with sea turtles ( never seen so many) rays and sea lions and the trek up to the rim of Sierra Negra. View of the caldera was amazing.

Fabian was very knowledgeable , had a great sense of humour and the patience of a saint.

With hindsight I wouldn't have bothered to take my own snorkel gear - there was plenty available to hire .

A trip to Galapagos had been on my bucket list for years - I'm not a good sea traveller so opted for this land based trip - it didn't disappoint.

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Galapagos In Darwin' Steps

Galapagos, In Darwin's Footsteps 2017

5.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Simply the best trip I have ever been on. I did not want to come home! The leader made everything happen with no hitches - and encouragement for a slightly trepidatious snorkeller! As for the Galapagos - Wow! I think that that the trip, being landbased, allowed us to experience so much more, meet more locals and eat local food and just soak up the atmosphere - on the beaches or in the bar!!
Two inspirational moments - playing with the sea lions in the surf and snorkelling with turtles.

Our Leader was fantastic - ensured all arrangements just happened, was passionate, deeply knowledgeable and inspirational about The Galapagos, found us great places to eat and was encouraging and caring on the more difficult parts of the trip.

Take a reasonable camera, an underwater camera and lots of memory power. The sea was surprisingly cold - a wet suit would be a great addition to the packing.

When can I go back?

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Galapagos trip

Galapagos Islands 2017

4.0
February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
If you enjoy watching wildlife - go!
I cannot swim so snorkelling was something I thought I would never do - wrong!! The group leader guided me, for which I was really grateful. Never thought I would be able to say I had snorkelled with Penguins, sea lions, turtles, iguanas, sting rays, gorgeous fish and sharks!

Excellent - his knowledge was superb it really enhanced the trip.

Go - do not worry, easy walking and brilliant once in a lifetime experience (unless decide to go again!)

Just do it!

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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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