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Ecuador & Galapagos

Holiday Highlights

Much of the world's attention is focused on the Galapagos Islands, which are undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Ecuador's natural wonders. But there is so much more that is unjustly neglected, and CTS Horizons is delighted to introduce this tour that captures the real essence of Ecuador.

Ecuador and Galapagos Guide

Discover Ecuador's diversity and enjoy a fabulous cruise around the Galapagos Islands.

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CTS Horizons’ tours of Ecuador feature a stay in a characterful hotel in Quito, from which to explore the capital’s highlights including a trip to the equator line. We also take you along ‘the Avenue of the volcanoes’, and to the delightful old colonial towns of Cuenca and Riobamba. The Galapagos cruises are aboard superb small ships and motor yachts with all meals and shore excursions with naturalist guides included in the price – a fascinating and civilised way to explore the islands!

Essential Experiences

•    Visit the equator and stand with a foot in each hemisphere
•    Travel along the magnificent ‘Avenue of the volcanoes’
•    Take the thrilling journey aboard the Devil’s Nose train
•    Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cuenca
•    Enjoy a cruise around the Galapagos Islands to view the wildlife at close quarters
•    Venture into the Amazon Rainforest

QUITO

The cultural centre of Ecuador and its historic old town, the ‘Florence of the Americas’ is overlooked by the statue of the Virgin of Quito atop the ‘little bread-loaf’ mountain, Cerro Pancillo.  As befitted one of the greatest colonial cities of the Spanish Empire, Quito boasts an array of extraordinary architecture.  Admire the gold-plated doors, bold colours and designs of the frescoes of the El Sagrario chapel, and the incredibly rich decorations of La Campania church.  Also make the short journey to the equator and stand with a foot in each hemisphere!

                                                          AMAZON RAINFOREST

The Ecuadorian Amazon and the tropical lowlands lie to the East of Quito and the Andes.  Venture deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest and explore its immense biodiversity at close range.  In this 5000-acre bio-diverse reserve there are nearly 600 varieties of birds, sloths, anacondas, and even jaguars.  Explore the region around the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon, in small craft or canoes, and perhaps visit one of the indigenous tribes that have lived here for generations.

CUENCA

Discover Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably the most beautiful city in the country.  This charming colonial city with narrow, cobbled streets, ironwork balconies, flower-bedecked patios, dazzling white churches and excellent shops, is known as ‘the Athens of Ecuador’.

                                                           

 

 

  GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

The Galapagos Islands are undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of Ecuador’s natural wonders.  Known in Spanish as the Encantadas, the Enchanted Isles, the Galapagos are a world apart, separated from the mainland by a thousand miles of ocean.  When Charles Darwin arrived in 1835, he found the islands were home to a number of unique species, and his observations have changed forever the way we understand mankind.  Travelling Charles Darwin’s footsteps, modern visitors to the Galapagos experience the same enchanted world.  Like Darwin, we can marvel at how tame many of the animals are – a phenomenon explained by the absence of large predators.  In the secluded bays you can swim with playful sea lions. On the lava shores you can stand next to a blue-footed booby as it feeds its young.  You can track a giant tortoise as it lumbers through a cactus forest.  You can take your place among a colony of penguins or eyeball a marine iguana.  Nowhere in the world offers the opportunity to view such a range of wildlife at such close quarters.

KEY FACTS

Time Zone:GMT + 5 hours
Flying time:Approx 17 hours
Population:15.7 million
Currency:US Dollar
Capital:Quito
Language:Spanish
Visa:Visa not required (UK passport holders)
Vaccinations:Recommended, seek advice from GP


KEY PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 2015  

1 Jan – New Year’s Day, 3 Apr – Good Friday, 1 May – Labour Day, 24 may – Battle of Pichincha, 10 Aug – Independence Day, 9 Oct – Guayaquil Independence Day, 2 Nov – All Soul’s Day, 3 Nov – Cuenca Independence Day, 25 Dec – Christmas Day

CLIMATE

Quito & the Highlands
The year-round temperature in the Highlands tends to be pleasant, with spring-like days and cooler evenings, although snow does cover the higher mountains for most of the year. The best time to visit Quito and the highlands is from June to September, although this does tend to be the peak travel season.

Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands have a fairly dry climate with light rainfalls experienced from January to April. Although located on the equator, the cool Humboldt Current of the Pacific Ocean creates a moderate rather than tropical climate. Days tend to be warm and sunny and evenings warm to cool. If you are particularly interested in snorkelling, waters tend to be clearer between January and April. During the dry season, July to December, days tend to be cooler and often foggy, and the ocean tends to be choppy during August and September.

The Oriente (jungle in Ecuador)
Hot, humid and heavy rainfall all year round, particularly between May and December.

Spotlight

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