Ecuador

Wildlife is the first reason travelers are drawn to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. But this incredible country also contains barren volcanic landscapes, remnants of an ancient Incan civilization, a remote portion of the amazon and stunning white sand beaches with emerald green waters. Importantly, this is the land where chocolate was invented! An equatorial region, the Spanish Latino culture is felt immediately through colonial architecture, delicious cuisine and warm, and friendly locals. We guarantee your experience in Ecuador will be unforgettable.

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What to Expect

Ecuador’s mainland and its outer-lying Galapagos Islands are a magnet for outdoor, adventure and wildlife aficionados alike!

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Cruise the Galapagos Islands with action-packed days spent snorkeling, swimming with sea lions, hiking, kayaking, beach time, educational visits to research stations and sunsets over the ocean. Once on the mainland, picturesque scenery with Andean mountains and volcanoes will be your backdrop. Discover colonial Spanish towns filled with funky bars and eateries, and beautiful churches. Explore markets in search of colorful and intricately woven textiles and handicrafts. Head into the depths of the Amazon jungle to find rare wildlife and secluded civilizations.

Don't Miss Out

The Essence of Ecuador — Grab your snorkel mask, dive straight off your boat and into the natural Galapagos aquarium where you can swim with playful and curious sea lions. Marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and penguins may make a visit too!

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The wildlife has never been hunted or threatened so they harbor no fear of humans and can be observed at close range.

Explorations deep into the Amazon—Immerse yourself in the depths of the Amazon jungle, spattered with remote villages and ancient tribes. You’ll learn about ancient medicinal plants, and cruise the Amazon river in search of monkeys, sloths, toucans and possibly even piranhas.

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin: Ecuador & the Galapagos hosts some of the most biodiverse flora and fauna worldwide, including over 3,000 species of birds and over 300 mammals. The Galapagos was made famous by Charles Darwin who completed his ‘theory of evolution’ here, with more endemic wildlife than any archipelago on earth due to its remote isolation. Its 19 islands and more than 40 islets were created six million years ago, emerging after spectacular volcanic activity.

Channel your Inner Adventurer: There are opportunities to hike volcanic landscapes, zip line, river raft, search for ancient Incan ruins, snorkel, spot rare bird species, learn how to make chocolate according to ancient traditions, kayak with penguins and even SCUBA dive with sharks.  In Ecuador, you can push your limits and step out of your comfort zone into the adventure zone and feel truly alive!

Need to know

Direct flights are easily arranged into Quito from US gateways including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Atlanta and Houston. You can also fly into the Galapagos Islands, usually via Quito or Guayaquil.

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  • We recommend 7-14 days in Ecuador including a combination of 5-8 days in the Galapagos and 3-7 days on the mainland. It is a perfect complement to a Peru discovery – with two weeks you can cruise the Galapagos and experience the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.
  • On mainland Ecuador you will have a private driver and guide throughout your stay. Whilst visiting the Galapagos, you have the option of an all-inclusive 5-8 night cruise or to base yourself on an island and do day trips to neighboring islands.
  • Visas for Ecuador are not required for most visitors, however there is an official national park fee to pay upon arrival ($120) at the Galapagos Islands airport. Inoculations may be recommended. We suggest you see a travel medicine specialist for advice.
  • English is widely spoken throughout the country, especially in the hospitality industry. Spanish is very useful as well.
  • Ecuador has some outstanding guides with high quality training, especially in the Galapagos. Their knowledge of flora and fauna is unparalleled.

When to go

Ecuador and the Galapagos have a varied, humid and equatorial climate, with a prominent dry and wet season. Based on your dates of travel, we will design the best itinerary for you with weather in mind.

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Wildlife viewing is good year-round in the Galapagos. The best time to go to Ecuador will depend upon which areas you wish to visit.

Galapagos: October through May is the recommended time to travel; while it is the wet season with some afternoon showers, you’ll have lovely warm days, warmer ocean temperatures and smoother cruising. June through September is the cool dry season; with cooler ocean temperatures, bumpier seas, and occasional overcast skies.

Quito and Highlands: June through September provide warmer weather with sunny days and less rain. December through May is cooler, and rain is common. The altitude provides cooler temperatures, especially at night.

Amazon: Be prepared for hot and humid weather year-round, and frequent rains providing lush green jungles.

Accommodation

Indulge in an all-inclusive luxury small ship cruise of the Galapagos Islands with specialized naturalist guides, elegant cabins, and thrilling shore excursions. The array of the flora and fauna is enthralling.

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On mainland Ecuador, in Quito and larger cities we love boutique hotels with colonial architecture and a Spanish influence, whilst our favorite Amazon lodges provide a truly remote wilderness adventure; some only accessible by boat. Every property booked on a Rothschild Safari is vetted by staff and offer the highest standards in each category.

What our travelers say

Amy Lundberg

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

Betsy Robertson

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

Dawn Jacobs

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

George Kowalski

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

Jackie Smith

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

Jamie Scarlett

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Joe Moravec

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Kim Mather

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Lisa Anderson

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (and family)

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.