Information about Ecuador
Ecuador is a land of beautiful contrasts and endless possibilities. Would you like to deep into the untouched rainforest? What about climbing a volcanic crater? How about coming face to face with extraordinary wildlife of the Galapagos islands, that you can’t find anywhere else on Earth?
All of this is possible in Ecuador, and with Viventura you can explore this stunning country in comfort and ease. From the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site that is colonial Quito (one of the highest capitals in the world at 9,350ft) to the stunning cloud forests, the Andean highlands to the Amazon Basin, mainland Ecuador is rich in possibilities for adventure and stunning landscapes.
600 miles off the coast lies the unique volcanic archipelago of the Galapagos. Nowhere else on Earth has such a concentration of unique species, including the iconic giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and Darwin’s Finches - the birds who helped the famous naturalist develop his realization about evolution and the origin of species.
Our two versions Explore and Comfort have been thought to suit every taste and travel style. Our South America specialists can advise you on all aspects of a visit to this delightful country.
With a range of trips to every part of this fascinating country, why not book an Ecuador & Galapagos vacation with us today?
Our trips to Ecuador
Pictures of Ecuador
Destinations you will visit in Ecuador
Time to travel in Ecuador
Thanks to its diverse geography, Ecuador has many microclimates - and most people will experience all of them on a trip to this fascinating country! From intense heat and high humidity to the cold, thin air of the mountains. From the windy plains of the dry regions to the rains and temperate conditions of the central areas. Add in the Pacific coast - and the maritime climate of the Galapagos - and you can see that although this country lies directly on the equator, its climate is far from mundane!
Being equatorial, there are only two seasons in Ecuador - the rainy season and the dry season, although the timing of their change varies depending on where in the country you visit. However, even during the rainy season, Ecuador is generally a warm and sunny place.
Here are our top tips for when to visit Ecuador depending on the region you want to see:
Amazon basin and rainforest August, December, and March are the driest times here, and therefore the least humid. If you visit between April and June you will encounter very high humidity which might take some time to acclimatize to.
Ecuadorian Mountains The dry season here runs from June to September, and is generally the best time to explore the mountains. There will usually be far more opportunities for hikes and exploration and no concerns with flash floods or heavy rainfall that can reduce the number of excursions possible.
Galapagos and Ecuador Coast These regions are most affected by ocean currents, rather than inland seasons. The warm season here is usually between January and April. Although temperatures are at their highest, it’s also rather rainier during these months. From May to December it’s drier, but also cooler - around 77F or so - with more cloud cover. This can make exploring the volcanic Galapagos, in particular, more comfortable.
One thing that you have to be prepared for in any of these regions though is change! It’s not uncommon for a day to start out bright and sunny, but turn quite chilly by the afternoon if you are at altitude. It can also happen the other way round - a disappointingly cool and wet morning can give way to a hot and sunny afternoon!
When packing for your trip to Ecuador, bring layers of clothing and a day pack to put it in - you might find yourself adding or removing those layers more than once in a day!
Eat in Ecuador
There isn’t one standout dish from Ecuador. We don’t mean that in a bad way! We mean that there are so many delicious specialties and regional dishes that there’s just no such thing as the “national dish”!
With influences ranging from indigenous peoples and native species to the tastes and ingredients brought by Spanish and European settlers, Ecuadorian food is the place where many cultures collide. Here are a few of our favorite things to eat when we are in Ecuador.
Hornado Hornado is a specialty of the Ecuadorian Andean region. Pork is marinated for up to three days to infuse it full of flavor. It’s then roasted and served with mote (made from boiled and peeled corn kernels), tostado (roasted corn kernels), avocado, potato biscuits, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and of course a piece of the crispy pork rind!
Cuy It’s considered to be the finest food the Andes can offer, but as the main ingredient is most often a pet in the northern hemisphere, it’s can be a challenge for some! A roast guinea pig is served in peanut sauce with boiled potatoes, green lettuce and tomatoes. Although the look might put you off, do try it - the meat is delicious and it makes for a uniquely South American experience.
Ceviche One of our favorites, ceviche is made all along the northern Pacific coast of South America, as well as Peru and Colombia. Each region has it’s own little twist on the idea, so ceviche in Ecuador will be subtly different from others you may experience.
Depending on the region and season, the dish is served with either shrimp or mussels, fish or squid. A dressing is made with lemon, tomato, onion, and spices. The citrus juice cures the seafood as it marinates. This cheap dish is usually delicious, no matter where you eat it - and according to the locals it’s a great hangover cure!
Caldo de Gallina This is a tasty and filling chicken soup prepared with rice, carrots, onions, peas, parsley, and coriander. You’ll find this on the menu virtually everywhere in Ecuador.
Chugchucara This is a specialty of Latacunga, a town close to the Cotopaxi volcano. Be warned - this is not a dish for those who aren’t very hungry! This is a very hearty stew made with a selection of fried pork cuts served with tostado (roasted corn kernels), canguil (popcorn), small cheese empanadas, whole fried potatoes, and fried bananas. You also get a plate of mote and some fried pork rind on the side!
Maito This is not a dish so much as a way of preparation that’s found in eastern Ecuador, particularly in the Amazon region. Maito means food that is cooked wrapped in the large leaves of the yaki panga or bijao trees. The tasty juices inside the leaves infuse the food as it cooks. One of the most popular dishes cooked in this way is tilapia maito, where the fish is fried in the leaves and served with yuka and lemon.
Highlights in Ecuador
Ecuador is a wonderfully diverse country. Lying between Colombia and Peru in the northwestern part of South America, it is named after the equator - the notional line that divides the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres.
If you are unable to spend a long time exploring this fascinating country - and if you can, we highly recommend you do - here are just a few of the remarkable highlights of Ecuador that could experience on a standard vacation.
Galapagos Islands A “bucket list” destination for travelers from all over the world, the Galapagos is one of the world’s standout destinations for anyone interested in wildlife and nature. Because of their isolated location 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos is home to more unique species than anywhere else on Earth.
Whether on the land or in the ocean, one-of-a-kind creatures and plants are around every corner. From the iconic giant tortoises and marine iguanas, to the comical Blue-Footed Boobies, and even the rather ordinary-looking Darwin’s Finches that played a vital role inspiring the famous naturalist they are named to develop the principles of evolution.
Visit uninhabited and pristine islands, snorkel with penguins and rays, and enjoy the busy old-world charm of the port town of Puerto Ayora where the sea lions wait to be fed scraps at the fish market.
Amazonian rainforest and cloud forest Ecuador is one of a few South American countries that is actively protecting the Amazon rainforest that lies within its borders. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most biodiverse habitats on the planet. Just within the protected Ecuador region, there are more than 1,400 different animal species (including 200 mammals), 121 reptiles, and almost 600 bird species. That’s a lot of biodiversity! And we haven’t even counted the 70,000 different insects and almost 1,000 species of trees. You are able to head off the beaten track and stay with local families who have lived within the rainforest for generations and will share their way of life with you during your stay.
Ecuador is also home to the sub-tropical forest that grows high on the Andean slopes, known as cloud forest. Cloud forest is easily accessible just a couple of hours drive from the capital Quito, and there are many lodges that offer wonderful accommodation in this cooler jungle landscape.
Quito’s Colonial Splendour Quito is not only the second-highest capital city in the world at 9,350ft above sea level, but its entire old town was the first city to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Full of remarkable 16th-century buildings from the height of the Spanish Conquest, Quito Old Town has jaw-dropping architecture on every corner.
With rambling, narrow streets, beautiful open plazas, and towering churches, Quito Old Town is somewhere you can spend many hours exploring on foot. If you are feeling energetic, a climb up to the twin towers of the basilica will reward you with a fantastic panorama across the entire city.
Cotopaxi volcano climb This is not to be attempted lightly! Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano on Earth - it beats Kilimanjaro by just over 6 feet. You can drive by car to around 15,280ft altitude but from there you’ll have to hike on foot to make the summit at 19,350ft. It’s usually done as a 2-day excursion. You’ll need to be physically very fit, well acclimatized to the altitude, an experienced mountain walker, and be accompanied by guides.
If you are up for the challenge, this is a fantastic organized excursion that will see you climb the glaciated cone of an active volcano and enjoy remarkable views of the Andes from above the clouds.
Reviews of Ecuador
Voyage très riche en découvertes variées
Après une attente d'un an, ravie de ce voyage. Le circuit est bien équilibré entre culture et nature. Pays petit par sa superficie mais grand par sa diversité. Difficile de dire ce que j'ai le plus aimé : les Andes avec ses volcans, l'Amazonie ou les Galapagos et ses animaux emblématiques. Les hôtels et les restaurants sont à taille humaine (loin des grandes chaines hôtelières). Et surtout un TRES GRAND MERCI à "Charito" pour son sourire et sa conduite impeccable et Daniel pour sa bonne humeur et qui nous a communiqué l'amour de son pays et surtout des oiseaux.
Michèle D de Saint Germain en Laye
Voyage de découvertes complet et varié Hébergement et restauration au top, sauf pour le restaurant de l'hotel de Guyaquil. Un peu trop de temps libre à Isabela, ce ne sont que des détails Paul notre guide est un puits de sciences et de patience. Au final, un excellent voyage et la chance d'avoir pu en profiter pleinement.
Circuit et séjour très complet ! Nature, culture, gastronomie …. Des points tels que les paysages du Cotopaxi à cheval, la faune et la flore en général. Un guide très à l’écoute et passionné.
Florent L de NICE
Le voyage était très bien, il m'a permis de découvrir les 4 parties du pays: les Andes, l'Amazonie, la côte et les îles Galapagos. Le programme était très riche et varié. Mon coup de coeur était la sortie à cheval devant le volcan Cotopaxi, j'ai également apprécié les lodges en Amazonie notamment à San Isidro où on était très proche des colibris ainsi que la sortie en immersion totale dans la jungle amazonienne avec le guide Saul ; sans oublier bien sûr la faune terrestre et marine des îles Galapagos. Ce voyage n'aurait pas été aussi complet et magnifique sans les commentaires, les avis, la gentillesse et la disponibilité de notre excellent guide Daniel Arias, expert en ornithologie.