Ecuador and Galapagos Overview

Our Ecuador and Galapagos holidays are a unique opportunity to get up close to wildlife. They inspired Darwin’s evolution theory and continue to be well preserved and protected despite their popularity. However travel to Ecuador need not mean you only visit the Galapagos islands. The mainland offers colonial towns, jungle and volcanoes and because it is much smaller than the other South American countries is easier to get around. Our tailor-made Ecuador and Galapagos holidays have huge scope to show you more than just the obvious highlights.

Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Highlights

World class wildlife and volcanic scenery of the Galapagos islands, Waterfalls and countless birds in the dense cloud forest and Amazon jungle. Indigenous culture and life of the Andes.

Tailor Your Trip

  • Add a night or 2 in a hotel after your Galapagos island cruise to soak it all in and get back to reality more gently
  • Visit a farm to learn about the chocolate making process
  • Immerse yourself in the traditional markets of the Andes north of Quito. Otavalo is the famous one and rightly so but spend a bit longer and see smaller towns and community projects

Combines well with

Peru – it’s less than a 2 hour flight from Guayaquil to Lima. Or go overland and see lesser explored northern Peru. There are also direct flights to Santiago de Chile.

Essential Information

  • Time zone   - UTC -5
  • Currency   - US Dollar
  • Capital   - Quito
  • International Airports   - Quito, Guayaquil

When to Visit

  • Jan  
  • Feb  
  • Mar  
  • Apr  
  • May  
  • Jun  
  • Jul  
  • Aug  
  • Sept  
  • Oct  
  • Nov  
  • Dec  

Ecuador and Galapagos Facts

When to go

Both the mainland and Galapagos islands can be visited year round. January to April is the wetter season on the mainland but a good time for the islands. Even during this time showers are usually isolated and in the afternoons. Ecuador is a mountainous country so if in doubt be prepared for all weathers.

Galapagos islands is a year round destination but January to May is the drier time. Seas can be rougher in August than at other times of the year.


Spanish, Quechua


The local currency is the US dollar (USD $)

ATMs are only available in larger towns. Make sure that you exchange bigger notes for smaller ones when you can, i.e. in a bank, as it is often difficult to find change.


You should visit your family doctor and check that you are up to date with your immunisations for typhoid, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A.

There are no compulsory vaccinations for Ecuador at the current time but vaccination for yellow fever as well as medication for malaria may be recommended for Amazon regions. Vaccination requirements are subject to change. Check with your doctor or local travel clinic.


Visa and entry requirements are subject to change and you should check with your consulate for the latest rules before you travel.

Make sure you have 6 months validity left on your passport before traveling to Ecuador.

UK, US, Canadian and Australian citizens do not currently require a visa to enter Ecuador as a tourist and are granted a 3 month stay upon arrival.

Time Difference

GMT – 5 hours

Getting There

Average flight time to Quito is 15 hours. There are no direct flights from the UK to Ecuador; you can fly via Europe, the USA or Bogota.

Ecuador and Galapagos Holiday Ideas

Browse our ideas for tailor-made Chile holidays including multi-country itineraries. Pick a standard itinerary or tell us about your likes, dislikes and must-dos and we will create your perfect trip. We don’t do set group departure dates, all of our trips can start on whichever date suits you best.

Special Offer!
From $5200 pp

Get up close to the iconic birds and animals of the Galapagos islands on this week long small boat cruise.

From $3895 pp

An adventurous off beat trip exploring mainland Ecuador. Stay in a remote Amazon lodge and hike through mountains and traditional villages.

From $5440 pp

Combine some of the best wildlife and iconic South American sites that the continent has to offer.

From $6370 pp

Explore the enchanted islands on an 8 day cruise on board this traditional 3 mast barquentine sailing ship.

Ecuador and Galapagos Hotels

Prices start based on 3 star hotels. Browse our collection for more options and upgrade ideas.

SS Mary-Anne Galapagos islands cruise ship

A traditional sailing boat with ample social areas for a boat of this type. One of few sailing ships in the Galapagos islands.

Eric and Letty Galapagos cruise ship

Comfortable Galapagos cruise ship carrying 20 passengers. There are 3 decks with pleasant social spaces.


A characterful colonial style hotel along one of Quito’s most interesting streets.

Huaorani Ecolodge Yasuni National Park

A remote Amazon ecolodge at the headwaters of the Amazon. It is run by the Huaorani people, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth.


A traditional working farm dating back to the 16th Century.

Finch Bay Eco Hotel Puerto Ayora, Galapagos islands

A beautiful, peaceful beachfront hotel to either relax in or use as a base to explore the Galapagos islands.

Mashpi Lodge Choco

A luxury cocoon in pristine cloud forest.


1920s grandeur and colonial architecture combine in this converted family mansion. It overlooks a plaza in the heart of the colonial district.


This hotel is in a converted colonial building.

Hotel Oro Verde Guayaquil

This popular hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, spa with hydromassage a gym and 4 restaurants.



Let us create your perfect version of this trip.

Call us on 1-855-6421-611 or contact us online.

Recent Review

This really was the holiday of a lifetime and thanks to expedition leader Hannah and her fantastic team was  it was a magical experience. The scenery and wildlife were breathtaking and  the history of polar exportation, and my hero Sir Ernest Shackleton in particular was vividly, brought to life. To be able to follow his journey and pay my respects to him at his graveside in South Georgia was very emotional and something I will never forget.

Lorraine traveled on Hebridean Sky. Find out more here.

lorraine kelly antarctica
Lorraine Kelly Antarctica, , Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands March 2017

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