Ecuador holidays : introduction
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At the northernmost reach of the ancient Inca Empire, Ecuador is small, accessible, and epitomises the best of Latin America from magnificent scenery to elegant old Spanish towns and wonderful wildlife.
High in the Andean sierra, two great chains of volcanic mountains run from north to south. The fertile valley between them - Humboldt’s ‘avenue of the volcanoes’ - is dotted with beautiful haciendas. If you’re feeling intrepid, you can ride a rickety steam train that descends through the Andes in a series of zigzags and switchbacks known as ‘the devil’s nose’, crossing dramatic gorges on the way.
Both Quito and Cuenca’s cobbled streets have some of the best-preserved colonial architecture anywhere in the Americas. Ubiquitous hats, ponchos and woven rugs are sold in colourful craft markets. You can combine a trip to hot springs or rose gardens with a night at a historic hacienda, or saddle up with the chagras for some superb riding.
East of the Andes the terrain drops through cloud forest - teeming with exotic bird life - into the Amazon basin. Nearly half the country is covered in humid jungle, best explored by dugout canoe. Here indigenous people still live as they have for thousands of years, scarcely touched by the outside world.
Climate and when to go
The Ecuadorean highlands have cool nights and warmer days year round. The north has a wet season from January to May and the south from October to early May, but almost always with several hours of sunshine in the morning. The coast has a hot rainy season from January to May whilst the wettest months in the Amazon are from April to September.
“What a fantastic holiday we have had and thank you for your excellent organisation of the trip. Everything went exceptionally smoothly and our drivers, guides and accommodation were excellent. It was great to see Sally again and the horses were magnificent. Napo was wonderful too.” - JL
“We had a fabulous time on our Ecuador trip - it was one of our best holidays ever! Thank you SO MUCH for the recommended itinerary. We loved everywhere that we stayed - there were so many highlights, and we would have enjoyed staying several more days in each place. The haciendas, hotels, and lodges were all great, and all special in their own way. All the on-the-ground arrangements were perfect - everyone was so knowledgeable, in addition to being warm and friendly - especially Marco and Douglas, who made us feel so welcome and really looked after us; we felt that we had friends in Ecuador by the time we left.” - NC
“Thanks for everything, it really was fantastic. We have over 1,700 photographs. Every day was different, it is impossible to say which place we liked best.” - MT
“Thanks so much for organising such a fantastic holiday for us. It all went incredibly well and even exceeded expectations!! Our guide Alex, who was assigned to us for the whole holiday was delightful. He was always punctual, genuinely interested in us and what made us tick and very knowledgeable and caring of the environment. As we got to know him better, the relationship went from strength to strength. We need to return to Ecuador, to all the places we didnít go to this time.” - SH