Hacienda

Ecuador, Nature's Playground

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Introduction

This small Andean country hosts a wonderful array of exciting destinations. Situated in the heart of the Andes, the capital city Quito is the perfect starting point for any itinerary in this diverse country. From Quito, there are easy day trips to explore the haciendas and Andean market towns of Otavalo and Cotacachi to the north, or the dramatic volcanoes such as Cotopaxi and the imposing Chimborazo to the south, while further south Cuenca is a World Heritage city renowned for its architecture and for being the birthplace of the Panama hat.

Leaving the Andean landscape behind, the Amazon rainforest displays one of the world’s highest biodiversity rates allowing for, amongst many others, the discovery of giant otters, dolphins and 13 species of monkey. The Amazon rainforest’s interest does not stop at just wildlife, however, with the region presenting immense human interest in the form of the Cofani, Shuar, Secoya and Huarani tribes to name but a few.

Not withstanding the natural beauty throughout the country, surely Ecuador’s most famous destination is the Galapagos Islands. Located 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) off the mainland at the meeting point of three major oceanic currents, the archipelago, made up of 13 major islands, six minor islands and 40 islets, is a true natural wonder. Boasting unique wildlife such as land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises, and abundant marine and bird life, the archipelago has the highest rate of endemic species anywhere in the world. Historically the islands have shaped the way in which we now see the natural world with the roots of Darwin’s theory of evolution found here and later published in his groundbreaking book The Origin of Species. First discovered by boat, this continues to be the most effective means of exploring the islands, both on land and under water.

For those looking to combine fascinating history, breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary wildlife in one country, Ecuador is without doubt an informed choice.

Best time to go to Ecuador 

With the enormous range of destinations found in Ecuador comes a varied climate driven by a number of factors. Below is a description for each major destination.

Coast (San Lorenzo, Manta, Salinas, Guayaquil):

From January to April, the warm central Pacific current causes a hot, humid season with frequent torrential downpours. Daytime temperatures can average up to 30°C/86°F. From May to December, cool Pacific currents from the south lower the temperature by a few degrees although precipitation also lessens.


Highlands (Otavalo, Quito, Ambato, Cuenca):

The highlands are subject to a dry season from June to September, and again for a short period around Christmas. April is generally the wettest month, although even then the average is only one rainy day in two. In Quito, temperatures average a high of 21°C/70°F and a low of 8°C/38°F all year round.

Rainforest (Lago Agrio, Coca, Tena, Puyo, Macas):

The climate in the ‘Oriente’, the Ecuadorian jungle, is again very much dependent on altitude. However, as a general rule, precipitation is widespread throughout the rainforest all year round, with August and December to March being the driest months and April to June the wettest. Temperatures are high, sometimes as high as on the Pacific coast (up to about 30°C/86°F).


Galapagos Islands:

The climate of the Galapagos archipelago is hot and arid, although sea breezes tend to cool the area. The hottest months are December to March, when the average daytime highs are about 28°C/82°F. These are also the wettest months, although rainfall is minimal even then. May to November are cooler and drier, with average temperatures falling to about 25°C/77°F in September.

Ecuador Travel Tips 

With the enormous range of destinations found in Ecuador comes a varied climate driven by a number of factors. Below is a description for each major destination.

Coast (San Lorenzo, Manta, Salinas, Guayaquil):

From January to April, the warm central Pacific current causes a hot, humid season with frequent torrential downpours. Daytime temperatures can average up to 30°C/86°F. From May to December, cool Pacific currents from the south lower the temperature by a few degrees although precipitation also lessens.


Highlands (Otavalo, Quito, Ambato, Cuenca):

The highlands are subject to a dry season from June to September, and again for a short period around Christmas. April is generally the wettest month, although even then the average is only one rainy day in two. In Quito, temperatures average a high of 21°C/70°F and a low of 8°C/38°F all year round.

Rainforest (Lago Agrio, Coca, Tena, Puyo, Macas):

The climate in the ‘Oriente’, the Ecuadorian jungle, is again very much dependent on altitude. However, as a general rule, precipitation is widespread throughout the rainforest all year round, with August and December to March being the driest months and April to June the wettest. Temperatures are high, sometimes as high as on the Pacific coast (up to about 30°C/86°F).


Galapagos Islands:

The climate of the Galapagos archipelago is hot and arid, although sea breezes tend to cool the area. The hottest months are December to March, when the average daytime highs are about 28°C/82°F. These are also the wettest months, although rainfall is minimal even then. May to November are cooler and drier, with average temperatures falling to about 25°C/77°F in September.

Other Facts
Time ZoneGMT-6 in mainland Ecuador. GMT-5 in the Galapagos Islands. Daylight savings time is not observed. 
LanguageThe official language of Ecuador is Spanish.
CurrencyThe currency is the US Dollar.
Tipping
  • It is our recommendation that the quality of service should determine the extent of any gratuity.  For example if the service received has been excellent, a suggestion of USD$ 7- 10 per person for the guide for a full day tour. Please understand that this is a suggestion.
  • On any Galapagos Cruise, the tipping is commonly $ 10 per person per day for the guide and $ 15 per person per day for the crew. ( for a 6 day cruise, it comes to $ 150 per person) .
Weather
  • No immunizations are required for your trip to Ecuador, however, for travel to the rainforest prevention against malaria and yellow fever may be considered.
  • Do not drink tap water. Avoid ice in your beverages while traveling in Ecuador. However, you can use ice on board the yachts in Galapagos. Always drink bottled water and soft drinks
  • Try to avoid eating raw vegetables and salads or any raw foods while traveling in the continent
  • If you wear prescription glasses, it is advisable to bring an extra pair
  • Always use sunscreen lotion even in cloudy days
  • For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.
Electricity110 volts, 60 cycles AC.
Arrival and Departure Formalities
  • According to Ecuadorian Immigration regulations, every foreign passenger entering the country must have a passport with a time validity of at least 6 months from the day of arrival. 
  • No visa is necessary for US citizens or citizens of most other countries. There are exceptions for some Asian, Central American and European countries. Please check your individual situation.
  • Upon arrival you will go through customs and immigration. Ensure your entrance papers are officially stamped showing the number of days allowed for your stay in the country. Keep them in a safe place,  as you will need them to leave the country.  If they are lost you must advise our office immediately. At least 72 hours notice prior to your departure from the country is needed to process the necessary replacement paperwork.
  • According to Ecuadorian laws, any person that enters the country temporarily is exempt from the payment of any customs duty. This means that you should not pay any taxes or duties for your luggage, new or used articles that you will use during your trip, and portable items such as photo cameras, video cameras, laptops, radios and CD players./li>
Other Notes
  • We recommend eating lightly the first day (if arrival city is Quito). Due to altitude you might suffer some digestive problems, as well as light dizziness.
The Galapagos Islands

This world famous archipelago – consisting of 13 main islands, six smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets – is a must for anyone traveling to Ecuador. The islands became famous following Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835 when he spent five weeks studying the wildlife in the area and before reaching his ground-breaking conclusions in his book The Origin of Species where he laid out the theory of evolution.

Not only does the wildlife astonish, but much of it is unique to the islands which boast an impressive number of endemic species found only in the Galapagos Islands, and in many cases only on one island. These include the world’s northernmost penguin, land and marine iguanas as well as the enormous Galapagos tortoise. Be it swimming eye to eye with sea turtles or watching the mating dance of the blue-footed boobies from just a few feet away, nowhere else in the world will provide such an intimate experience with the natural world. The islands are best uncovered by expeditionary cruise allowing for the exploration of various islands on foot and in the water during a four to seven day trip, whilst also taking time to enjoy the equatorial climate or strolling along the fantastic beaches throughout the archipelago.

The Amazon

The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the world’s true biodiversity hotspots, supporting 50% of the country’s mammals and a staggering 5% of the world’s plant and bird species. Largely untouched in colonial times and remaining to this day a true wilderness, the Ecuadorian jungle is easily accessible from Quito with a short 35 minute flight to the jungle town of Coca before an onward journey by river to one of the jungle lodges.

For those looking for a more remote setting, a visit to the southern Ecuadorian jungle accessible only by light aircraft is sure to provide a unique experience. Lucky visitors to these regions will have the chance to see the spectacled bear, two species of fresh water dolphins, as well as howler monkeys, a plethora of bird life, and of course the mighty jaguar. Additionally, the Ecuadorian rainforest is a culturally fascinating destination with many indigenous tribes including the Shuar, Cofani, Huarani, and Secoya all found here.

Guayaquil

Guayaquil, the country's second largest city, is situated on the banks of the Guayas River with excellent access to the Galapagos Islands and a host of attractions within the city itself. No visit to Guayaquil would be complete without a stroll along the famous Malecón 2000, a collection of shops, parks, and walkways spanning 2.5 kilometres along the banks of the river.

Otavalo

The world-famous Otavalo market provides captivating insights into the lives and culture of the indigenous inhabitants of Ecuador’s Northern Andes. Two hours north of Quito, Otavalo is the oldest and largest handicrafts market in all of South America and has been exporting textiles worldwide since the 16th Century. Explore the tantalizing produce market and seek out some of the locally produced handicrafts and fabrics that make the dress of the Andean people so colourful. Nearby settlements such as Ibarra and Cotacachi - famous for the quality of its leather goods - make for an interesting pause on the way into the patchwork of fields and Andean hamlets beyond. Once out in the countryside, the sublime landscape of Andean peaks, lakes, and valleys comes alive and is perfectly complimented by a stay at one of the many historic haciendas nearby.

This region is an area of outstanding ecological and cultural importance, with a unique natural beauty, including mountainous landscapes and incredible views of the volcanoes like Chiles, Cotacachi, Imbabura, and the snow capped Cayambe. It is known as the 'Province of the lakes', where countless villages of artisans are found. This tour gives you 2 days to enjoy the Otavalo highlands with an overnight at one of the regions famed 400 year old haciendas. The night at the hacienda gives you a real flavor of the region with time to go horseback riding, visit craft villages or relax at your beautiful country inn.

Address

Eastern Travel
2900 South State Street, Suite 260
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
United States of America

Contact Us

Email
Office
1-801-466-8811
Fax
1-801-466-5966
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1-888-682-7035

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