Ecuador’s fascinating capital, Quito, boasts a blend of Spanish colonial history and traditional South American culture. It’s a great place to start your holiday in Ecuador.
Also part of Ecuador and a huge draw for visitors are the Galapagos Islands. This sparsely populated archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is hundreds of miles from the mainland and offers an otherworldly experience. It was here that Charles Darwin studied many unique indigenous species as part of the work that led to the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.
Several islands make up the archipelago, some more accessible than others. Isla Isabela is the largest of the islands and home to five species of tortoise. Nearby Isla Fernandina offers possible sightings of whales and dolphins. During your tour of the Galapagos Islands you may wish to visit Punta Suárez, on Isla Española, where there is an even larger concentration of wildlife, including the unique red marine iguana. Las Bachas beach on Isla Santa Cruz is a great place to spot flamingos feeding in the shallows. A short cruise from here is Isla Bartolomé, where the more adventurous can hike to the top of Pinnacle Rock. You can also see the famous Galapagos penguins on Isla Bartolomé.