Galapagos cruises are one of the world's great wildlife holidays yet holidays in Ecuador can offer the wildlife enthusiast so much more from the cloudforests of the Andes to the rainforests of the Amazon basin. Furthermore, the Galapagos Islands can be readily combined with lodges in the Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu. Alternatively consider combining cruises in the Amazon & Galapagos Islands
Go to Costa Rica and use Wildlife & Wilderness!Mr. N-J. - Cambs.
Excellent itinerary, achieving just what we asked for, and faultless execution of arrangements in country.Mr. P. - Berkshire
Galapagos Cruise - Quito - Avenue of the Volcanoes to Cuenca & visit to Otavalo markets
Quito - Rainforest lodge - Banos market town - Chimborazo volcano walk - Cuenca colonial city - famous Otavalo market - haciendas
From chic to rustic there is an incredible diversity of lodges and hotels across this small country. The infrastructure is such that at each main destination there is usually a choice of lodges dependent on your preferred style and budget. We have selected some of our favourites here.
Great holiday. The trip was extremely well organised. Tailored exactly to our needs (trek, diving, etc..). We had a fantastic time. I travel a lot and this was one of my top 5 trips around the globe ever.Mrs. M. - London
Thank you so much for organizing everything so efficiently for our trip to Costa Rica. We both were so impressed with your thorough knowledge of the country and its infrastructure and as a result of your expertise and guidance we had a flawless experience, seeing the wonderful wildlife and diversity of landscapes. Your knowledge of all the lodges and hotels we stayed at was spot on and the transport links were punctual and reliable. Two very happy customers!Mr. N. - Essex
The Galapagos Islands enabled Charles Darwin to formulate the 'Origin of Species' and as a consequence, Ecuador is firmly on the world natural history map. So what can you expect from Galapagos holidays? That really depends on how long you have to spend in Ecuador and the style of holiday you are looking for. For example, if you do not like the idea of cruises it is possible to spend a few days in a hotel on Santa Cruz or Isabela and go on day trips to see some of the local wildlife.
However, most UK and European visitors cruise the Galapagos Islands and there is a wide choice in yachts from small motor cruisers to larger ships and they are rated from tourist class to luxury in standard. Each will have at least one professional naturalist guide on board. As for our the Arctic cruises, we deliberately do not tend to recommend the larger vessels but prefer small group sizes and providing you with high quality experiences, more sustainable tourism and better protection of the fragile ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. It is true that landing sites in the Galapagos Islands for tourists are restricted and that the tourist boats are on strict routing itineraries governed by the National Park authorities. This does not detract from the enjoyment of the islands rather it enhances your experience of the natural habitats and amazing wildlife found in the islands as they are not over-run with other tourists when you visit.
Most importantly if you are a keen wildlife enthusiast or a wildlife photographer then we should select your Galapagos cruise based both on your budget and the route of particular boats so that you can visit the best wildlife locations among the islands. Certain species are resident only on some islands and sometimes only during specific seasons. If your boat's route does not include a particular island then you can be left disappointed. If you wish to go diving in the Galapagos you should be aware that only certain boats can operate as dive boats in the islands. Remember too that small boats, typically carrying 8 - 16 travellers do get booked up well in advance.
Our specific wildlife knowledge and the fact that we have chartered whole motor yachts for Galapagos cruises with world famous professional wildlife photographer, Andy Rouse and negotiated our own detailed itineraries, means that we know exactly where and when you should go for Galapagos holidays. It is always best to call us to discuss your tailor made Galapagos cruises or contact us here.
As for the wildlife, it is certainly is incredible and unafraid of humans. It is possible to encounter terrestrial giant tortoises and land iguanas, numerous nesting bird species including boobies and waved albatross, marine iguanas, sally-lightfoot crabs, sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, penguins, flightless cormorants and many other species. The underwater experience around the Galapagos Islands is a totally underrated experience on Galapagos cruises and if you can swim and snorkel or dive a fantastic experience awaits. You may see shoals of rays glide effortlessly below you, turtles you can swim beside or watch grazing on seaweed, sea lions to play with, sharks, starfish of incredible colours and thousands of small fish that are often feed for penguins or other fish.
The mainland is scenically beautiful and an Ecuador tour can see you travelling from a tropical coast up through cloudforests of the Andes the p áramo and higher still to snow-capped volcanoes and then down into the rainforests of the Amazon basin where primate species and colourful macaws are often a highlight. Indeed a visit to the rainforests of the Amazon basin in combination with Galapagos cruises makes a great wildlife itinerary and if you have time we would highly recommend a stay at a cloudforest lodge, particularly if you enjoy bird watching. Here you may see many hummingbird species, toucans and with luck the Andean cock-of-the-rock. The Amazon rainforest is easily reached by a short flight from the capital, Quito, usually followed by a boat journey downstream and the Andean cloudforest can be reached within a couple of hours driving from Quito.
Above all, for the naturalist that can spare 2 weeks or more in Ecuador, it is the incredible biodiversity generated by the geography of this small country that makes Ecuador holidays so enjoyable. Your choice of accommodation is equally diverse from old haciendas built on Inca foundations to new rainforest lodges and in the cities some wonderfully restored Spanish colonial buildings.
We had a truly wonderful holiday which was quite beyond our expectations / or imagination. It really was a place for us - a complete rest when we thought of nothing but Costa Rica and its beauty for the full 16 days.Mrs. K. - Cheshire
Had a great trip to Costa Rica. All arrangements worked well. We were lucky with the weather. More detailed feedback if you want but we were delighted with the whole holiday.Mr. N. - Cheshire
TIME ZONE GMT -5 hours
Airlines: KLM, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, LAN and others
Flight time: approx. 13.5 hours
Tetanus, typhoid, polio, Hepatitis A & B is recommended together with malaria prophylaxis. You should consult your G.P. for up to date and precise details before travelling.
As the name derives from the fact that the Equator passes through the country as you might expect it is generally warm. Quito is one of the highest capitals in the world and as such temperatures here are often spring like, it being much hotter down on the coast or in the rainforest. The highest volcanic peaks are snow-capped.
The Galapagos Islands generally enjoy year round warmth. We are often asked the best time to visit the Galapagos to see young animals. The answer is around our springtime - March to May. However, as the islands are equatorial then young may be seen year round and for bird-life it is dependent on their return from the sea. The mainland tends to receive more rain during the same period of March to May and some rains often fall during January & February. The driest months are June, July and August.