Where to go

Ecuador

An overview of where to go and what's on offer in Ecuador...

Blue-footed Boobies' courtship dance
Blue-footed Boobies' courtship dance

Ecuador is undoubtedly one of South America’s most remarkable countries. Nestled between Peru and Colombia, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Amazon rainforest to the east, Ecuador offers a breathtaking range of year-round destinations. For such a small country (Ecuador would fit inside Texas twice, with room to spare), it is home to staggering diversity.

Over 8% of all the animal species on Earth can be found in Ecuador. Indeed, the country is a twitcher’s paradise, boasting nearly a fifth of the world’s bird species – double the amount found across Europe and accounting for nearly half the species found in South America. Of all the plant species found on our entire planet, 10% can be found in Ecuador, with over 3,000 species of orchid alone. Without going crazy on the statistics, it is hard to overstate Ecuador’s diversity!

Ecuador’s wondrous flora and fauna is illustrated nowhere better than the enchanting Galapagos Islands. Lying nearly 1,000km off Ecuador’s west coast, this volcanic archipelago is a unique marvel of wildlife and geology. Click here to read more on the Galapagos Islands.

Yet you don’t have to fly to the Galapagos Islands to enjoy Ecuador’s biodiversity. North of the beguiling capital city of Quito, are the enchanting cloud forests that sprawl across the Andean slopes. On the eastern borders are Ecuador’s share of the single largest tropical rainforest in the world – the Amazon.

The lure of Ecuador doesn’t stop with its biota. The natural landscapes and history of civilisation offer further fascination. Ecuador also contains 47 volcanoes, many of which remain active. Soak in the geothermal springs of Baños; or take an epic train journey through the avenue of volcanoes or the switchbacks of the Devils Nose crossing. Why not mooch the expansive Otavalo markets, hand-pick a Panama hat from their true home, in Cuenca; or explore the Incan ruins of Ingapirca. Last but by no means least, visit Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, and head up to relax on the beautiful Pacific beaches.

Further reading...

When to go to Ecuador:

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    At a glance... Ecuador

  • Size: 283,560 km2
  • Population: 17 million
  • Time zone: GMT -5 / GMT -6 in the Galapagos
  • Time to visit: Year round
  • Go here for: The Galapagos Islands, wildlife, outdoor activities, beaches, culture
  • Top destinations in Ecuador:

    Our top five hotel recommendations for Ecuador:

    1. Albemarle Galapagos Boutique Hotel - Exterior

      Albemarle Galapagos Boutique Hotel

      A boutique hotel in Isla Isabela’s Puerto Villamil, the Albemarle is a bright and welcoming property – with an entrance that spills right on to soft sands and palm trees! We recommend one of the balcony rooms, so you can count the marine iguanas and sea lions sunning themselves on the beach…and go... More...

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    2. Angermeyer Waterfront Inn - Exterior

      Angermeyer Waterfront Inn

      Built on the site of Gus Angermeyer’s cave, one of the first European settlers on Santa Cruz, the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn embraces the spirit of this pioneering family and combines it with the comfort of today’s mod-cons. The result is a stylish property built out of local materials, such as... More...

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    3. Casa Gangotena - Plaza view room

      Casa Gangotena

      This lavish hotel have prime location on Plaza de San Francisco, overlooking the bustling square and imposing Baroque church of the same name. Whilst most the original colonial mansion was destroyed in a fire in 1914, the property was gloriously rebuilt over the next decade by Quito’s esteemed... More...

      Our rating:
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    4. Casa Natura Galapagos Lodge - Exterior

      Casa Natura Galapagos Lodge

      Hidden in the peaceful setting of Santa Cruz’s lower highlands, yet only 10 minutes from Puerto Ayora, Casa Natura is a great ‘middle ground’ between town and rural location. The property proudly seeks to offer a sanctuary where you can unwind with nature, rather than opulent indulgence. It was... More...

      Our rating:
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    5. Finch bay Galapagos Hotel - Exterior

      Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

      The luxurious Finch Bay Hotel is rightfully listed on the prestigious National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, and is certainly one of our favourite properties found in the Galapagos. There are countless reasons choose this hotel for your stay in the Enchanted Islands, especially for... More...

      Our rating:
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    Our recommended top travel itineraries for Torres del Paine:

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