Ecuador and Galapagos

CAPITAL CITY

Quito

BEST TIME TO GO

All year round for the Galapagos Islands
May – August for the Avenue of Volcanos
December – January for local festivals

TIME ZONE

GMT -5hrs

GETTING THERE

Daily flights from London Heathrow to Quito via Miami, 15hrs 35mins
Daily flights from Quito to Galapagos, 2hrs

Ecuador and GalapagosEcuador and the Galapagos Islands may be one of the smallest countries in Latin America, but there are a number of absolute musts to include in any itinerary.

Quito, the capital, sits in the high central valley, between two cordilleras, or sub-ranges, of the Andes, that form the heartland of the country.  Unsurprisingly Quito is set on a hillside with some impressive views including that of the the still-active Pichincha Volcano.  The centre of the town consists of elegant 16th Century colonial buidings, and features the oldest church in Ecuador, the Monastery of San Francisco, while the modern, lively Avenida Amazonas provides plenty of cafes from which to watch the world go by.

The central valley south of Quito, know as the ‘Avenue of the Volcanos’, is peppered with more than 30 volcanos; the largest concentration anywhere in the world.  Most measure around 5,800m high and eight are active, including Cotopaxi, which at 5,913m is the highest active volcano in the world.  The degree of activity is constantly monitored and studied, and, at times, areas may be closed or even evacuated – usually with some notice!  Around Cotopaxi lies a national park with spectacular walks, isolated Indian villages and, if you are lucky, glimpses of condors and wild horses.  For other national parks and reserves, consider visiting the coastal and marine park of Machalilla, which includes Isla de la Plata with its pre-Colombian ruins; the Sangay Wilderness Park, home to many rare species; and the Pasochoa Forest Reserve and Podocarpus National Park for incredible, varied flora.

At the southern end of the central valley lies Cuenca – a town built by the Spanish on the site of the Inca town of Pumapungo, with many of the beautiful pink marble colonial buildings set on ancient Inca stone foundations.  The city has a mild climate all year round and makes a good base for a pause in your itinerary and to explore Ingapirca, the most important Inca ruin in the country. READ MORE

Top Reasons To Visit Ecuador

Quito

Cotopaxi Volcano

Cloud Forests and National Parks

The Galapagos

Whale Watching

Travel Ideas For Ecuador And Galapagos

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