Equador and the Galapagos Islands
situated on the
equator between Colombia and Peru, is an ideal vacation destination
with its wide diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures.
This small South American country packs in mountains,
snow-capped volcanoes, beaches, cloudforests, rainforests and dry
forests. Equador even has a snow-topped mountain
right on the
than anywhere else on earth. Its diverse wildlife
includes hummingbirds, condors, toucans, spectacled bears, jaguars and
monkeys, and the famous Galapagos Islands are home to Galapagos
penguins, giant tortoises, turtles, iguanas, sea lions, sharks, and a
wide variety of birds. The lush rainforests contain
orchids, bromeliads and clouds of brightly coloured butterflies.
Over 20 different ethnic groups live in Equador, including
remote rainforest tribes who still hunt with blowpipes, hill tribes
with their colourful traditional costumes, and the Afro-Equadorian
population of the north coast and the Chota Valley, the homeland of
many members of Equador’s football team.
eco-tourism, is an important part of the economy in Equador and could
be the key to saving the various habitats and ecosystems that are under
threat from over-development. Equador hotels are very
affordable. As an eco-tourist, your
spending power can make a difference and ensure that Equador's
amazing biodiversity survives to be enjoyed by future generations of
tourists. Use your spending power wisely to show the locals
that ecotourism works: buy local products rather than
imported goods; support community ecotourism projects offering local
tours; travel by public transport when possible; and employ local
guides to get the most from your ecotourism experience.
For hands-on conservation, why not visit
Equador and plant a
Equador will help plan your trip - remember that because of the
mountainous terrain, bus journeys make take longer than you
expect. Places that appear close together on your Equador map
have a passable road between them if they are on opposite sides of one
of the many mountains. Travel in South
not usually fast, but the wonderful views make the scenic journeys
the capital of
is a beautiful city high in the Andes Mountains. The altitude
may leave you breathless for a day or two, so take it easy and
make time to sit and admire the mountain scenery or enjoy some of the
many restaurants in La Mariscal, Quito’s central tourist
area. You should also visit the Historical Centre,
Quito’s ‘old town’ with its colonial
architecture and attractive churches, all part of Quito’s
the capital city,
accommodation costs a little more than in rural areas, but the wide
choice of hotels and hostels ranges from economical budget lodging to
comfortable, luxury, international-standard hotels. You
will find the La Mariscal tourist area marked on any Quito city map and
much of the tourist accommodation is located there.
is a beautiful
city and many people investigating retiring in Equador start exploring
there after flying into one of the two main Equador airports.
Not many airlines offer direct flights to Equador, but the
efforts required to get to this beautiful country make it worthwhile.
farmstay ecotourism project
is great for single
Living with a local family means you have company at
mealtimes or to explore the farm, and you can fill your days with
guided tours, nature walks and visits to projects, markets and other
attractions. Of course, there may also be other visitors
travelling solo who would be glad of some company and the locals are
friendly and hospitable. Don’t let the
lack of a travel companion put you off – Equador can be
enjoyed solo or in a group.
destination is perhaps the Galapagos Islands, a province of Equador,
nearly 1000km off the
coast. They are best enjoyed on a cruise, and
although cruises are never cheap, some options are more
economic than others. Hotel-based Galapagos tours with day
trips to different islands are the budget Galapagos vacation option,
though you will not see as many of the islands this way.
Diving in the Galapagos Islands is a real treat for
experienced divers who relish the chance to dive with friendly
Galapagos sea lions, fearless turtles and curious iguanas.
Look out for a reliable cruise operator and make sure you
know what is included in your Galapagos Islands cruise or diving tour.
Check there will be a qualified Galapagos guide who speaks
your language and understand which of the islands are on your
itinerary. CRACYP include a high-class Galapagos
cruise in our new luxury
you are a
out for specialist birdwatching tours or at least make sure that your
guide is knowledgeable about the birds of the Galapagos and can help
you to spot the species that interest you most, such as
Darwin’s finches, Galapagos penguins and the Galapagos hawk.
The mainland of Equador is home to many species of birds
including condors, hummingbirds, toucans, motmots, tanagers and, in the
protected forest in Mindo, the famous Andean cock-of-the-rock.
For the great variety of bird species that can be seen, Mindo
is famous amongst birdwatchers as one of the best destinations in
Equador or indeed worldwide. See Equador
hummingbird photos & Equador birdwatching tours.
was in the Galapagos
that Charles Darwin saw the differences between what are now known as
Darwin’s finches, which helped him to develop his theory of
evolution. This changed the history of science and created
great controversy because of its perceived incompatibility with the
religious explanation of life on earth. Whether or not you
agree with him, Darwin changed humanity’s view of its origins
and made the Galapagos Islands famous. His legacy lives on in
many ways – the Charles Darwin Foundation and Research
Station in the Galapagos Islands bear his name, as do many young men in
Equador – Darwin is a popular Christian name for boys.
The cold Humboldt Current flows though the Galapagos Island
group and it is believed that this current brought both penguins and
fur seals to the Galapagos.
of the key holiday
attractions of Equador is, of course, the equator. You can
visit the equatorial line itself at the Mitad del
(‘middle of the world’), just outside Quito,
Equador’s capital city. There you can see
Ecuador’s Equator monument commemorating
Condamine’s 1736 expedition to find the location of the
news from Equador
found on the internet. For example keep an eye out for news
of any volcanic activity
– Equador is home to what the explorer Alexander von Humboldt
(the Humboldt Current is named after him) called the “avenue
of the volcanoes”. The volcano Tungurahua, close to
the village of Banos, exploded in August 2006 and mild volcanic
activity is ongoing. At the time of writing, there are
spectacular views at night of the volcano crater belching sparks and
ash, but of course you will want to check the latest news before
deciding to include this in your tour of Equador. El
Reventador volcano made the news in 2002 when it erupted suddenly and
showered the capital city, Quito, with ash, but it has been quiet
since. Equador’s volcanoes are fascinating to
students of geology but are easily avoided if you are at all concerned
– the tourist board will be happy to offer advice on your
Equador holiday itinerary.
flag of Equador
is one of
the world’s oldest – the design has been in use
since 1860. There are various different opinions about the
symbolism of the Equador flag: yellow for abundance and fertility, or
to recall the Federation of Greater Colombia (of which Equador was a
part); blue to symbolize independence from Spain, or the sea and sky;
and red to represent the blood shed in the fight for independence for
Equador, or for courage. Equador’s coat of arms
shows the nation protected under a condor’s wings, Chimborazo
Mountain (Equador’s highest peak), the River Guayas and South
America’s first steamboat.
– wildlife, history and culture on the equator in South
Equador, Latin America eco-tourism
holiday destination: Galapagos Islands cruises, Equador rainforest
tours, flights to Equador, hotels in Equador, animal and bird-watching
Equador vacations, the Equator,
volcanoes and much more...