Ecuador mainlandIf you’re coming to the islands, you will need some time on the mainland of Ecuador as all flights out to the islands depart from either the capital, Quito, or Guayaquil on the coast. We can arrange both international flights and flights out to the islands for you.
The Galapagos Islands are the jewel in Ecuador’s crown, but the mainland has so much to be recommended too. You will definitely need a short time on the mainland (Quito or Guayaquil) before flying to the islands, but why not stay a little longer either before or after your time in the Galapagos? Here are some suggestions of what you might consider adding to your time here. Ecuador is a fascinating and friendly country and we’d love to help you make the most of it.
We generally recommend that you have at least two days in Quito before your flight out to the islands. This is for three reasons:
- It gives you and your luggage a bit of leeway in case of international flight delays. If you, or your luggage, misses the flight out to the islands, it is quite hard to organise a catch up. Most flights from Europe arrive into Quito in the late afternoon, and flights to the islands leave early in the morning. An extra day in case of problems makes things less stressful.
- It’s rather nice to have a day to recover from any jet lag before heading off on your expensive trip of a lifetime to the islands.
- Quito is actually quite a nice place! There are also some good spots close by, such as the ‘Middle of the World’ monument.
The Ecuadorian Amazon makes a really wonderful addition to your Galapagos wildlife experience. The flora and fauna is obviously completely different, and the juxtaposition of these two diverse wilderness regions gives you a superb nature and wildlife holiday.
You really need to allow for a minimum of 4 days to visit the rainforest due to the logistics of travel here. Expect to stay in a rustic lodge on the Rio Napo, from where you can try to spot macaws, parrots, monkeys, and even giant otters. But it’s really the whole experience of being in the rainforest which is the so exciting. There are also river cruises down there if you fancy continuing the cruise theme.
The cloudforest gives yet another type of habitat to experience within this relatively small country. Existing between the Andes and the rainforest, it’s a mostly hilly landscape of mists and creeping lianas, with excellent birdlife and even some spectacled bears.
This is the best habitat for seeing lots of humming birds. Getting here is quite easy as it’s only about 2 hours drive from Quito.
With the spine of the Andes breaking through the length of the country, it would be a shame not to experience this glorious mountain scenery. Whether you choose to stay in a traditional hacienda, an inn or a top class hotel with spa, you can get out and walk in this beautiful Andean scenery or enjoy train rides through its dramatic swathes of uplands and mountains.