Tucked in on the west coast of South America between Peru and Colombia, Ecuador is one of the smallest countries on the continent but has no less choice of diverse micro-climates and fascinating regions to discover. Famous of course for its off-shore island achipelago, the Galapagos, the mainland is also worthy of more in-depth exploration for an Ecuador holiday or a combined trip.
Ecuador consists of three regions: the coast, the Andes and the Amazon. The climate is tropically humid in the coastal region and the Amazon, but fresh and temperate in the highlands year-round, where, due to the proximity with the equator, there is little seasonal variation.
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, has a sensitively restored historic area, and is a great base from which to take excursions. Many nearby villages produce a wealth of crafts such as paintings, leatherware, ceramics, baskets, woodcarvings and even bread-dough carvings. Markets throughout the country - the most famous of which is at Otavalo - display the workmanship of Ecuadorian artisans.
Not far from Quito is the Equatorial Monument, which contains a museum that covers many aspects of Ecuadorian history and present day life, and you are also within easy reach of cloud forests, lakes, mountains and volcanoes. South of Quito, you can enjoy magnificent scenery along the Avenue of the Volcanoes leading towards Riobamba and the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca, where Panama hats come from. Close to this area, you can also visit Inca ruins at Ingapirca, Ecuador’s most important archaeological site.
A stay at a jungle lodge deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon is a must for wildlife and bird-watching enthusiasts. Moreover, in our opinion, Ecuador is the best country in which to visit the Amazon and gain an understanding of the indigenous communities living in the rainforest.
While the Galapagos Islands are likely to be the highlight of any trip, encounters with friendly people in the small towns and villages on the mainland are what makes Ecuador holidays really memorable.
See a selection of Ecuador holidays and tours.