Indigenous villages in the inland highlands, a plush cloud forest mountain, the backwater streams of the Amazonian Rainforest, the uniquely remarkable Galapagos Islands… Ecuador rewards travelers handsomely.
Straddling two hemispheres, Ecuador may be small but it has a dynamic character. It is most identified with its Galapagos Islands archipelago, some 650 miles west of mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of observing wildlife on these natural volcanic islands, where the animals do not run or fly away when humans approach. It was here that Charles Darwin discovered conditions that helped shape his ideas on evolutionary theory. Life evolved on these islands in isolation, separate from the rest of the world. Distinctions exist even from one island to the next. With a visit to these special islands on the life-list of so many nature travelers, and as a leader in sustainable tourism best practices, Big Five wants to help insure that the Galapagos does not become another “go now before it’s too late” travel destination.
Big Five has raised the sustainable travel bar higher by linking the Galapagos with exploring the incredible natural and cultural heritage of mainland Ecuador, which includes some of the established indigenous markets that have existed for a millennium. Once the Inca Empire’s northernmost territory, it boasts important archeological sites as well as pre-Inca fortresses. In the highland valleys, Quechua-speaking communities continue traditions of weaving, artwork and handicrafts using many of the same techniques as generations past. There are opportunities to travel upriver via dugout canoe into the still-virgin Amazon Rainforest to stay at a simple ecolodge run by the ancestral Waorani people, where small-scale ecotourism might just help them stay in their forest. The history of Ecuador’s traditional peoples reaches back some 11,000 years, and it is estimated that 25% of Ecuador’s population today is of indigenous heritage. The beautifully preserved cities of Quito and Cuenca are noted for sumptuous 16th-century art and architecture. The tapestry of Ecuador from the Galapagos, to the Amazon, to the Andes, from distinctive wildlife to authentic highland cultures, makes this a land of adventures.
For a complete list of available Big Five Ecuador & The Galapagos tours, please visit our sister website: www.galapagos.com.
Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $11,200
On this adventure, you will explore the lush cloud forest of Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve and travel into the highlands of Ecuador to the historic Hacienda Zuleta. Explore the Tulipe Archaeological Site, originally built by the Yumbo people between 800 and 1660 CE. Enjoy a five-night cruise of the Galapagos Islands aboard the M/C Athala II, and encounters the endemic wildlife from iguanas to seals both on the volcanic islands and in surrounding waters. Savor an island stay at a safari camp and see one of the few Scalesia forests that remain almost intact. This is a spectacular journey for nature lovers.
Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador & Peru 11 Days Precious Journeys™ Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $3,860
This family exploration of the Amazon Rainforest Basin delves deep into two countries, where you engage with traditional communities to understand how they live in today’s world. Explore the lush jungle and its rich wildlife. Travel rivers by traditional dugout canoe. Children have the opportunity to meet other kids on this remarkable journey.
The Galapagos Islands: Of Fish & Fishermen 7 Days Precious Journeys™ Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $3,450
The Galapagos Islands: Of Fish & Fishermen is geared towards families with young children, and is full of engaging and fun educational experiences for both parents and children. Hand-picked naturalist guides understand the need for flexibility, patience and down time. Experiences include going out with local fishermen to learn about sustainable fishing, snorkeling with some of the marine creatures and spotting wildlife including tortoises, iguanas and blue-footed boobies.
Ecuador: From Machalilla to Zuleta 10 Days Precious Journeys™ Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel, Family Travel
Starting Price: $2,880
This Precious Journeys adventure takes your family into the heart of Ecuador's mainland to experience its landscapes, wildlife and people. Discover the thrill of working with an archeologist on a dig; snorkel and swim in clear waters of Drake’s Bay; and explore Zuleta's culture and search for the endangered Ecuadorian condor.
Private Sanctuaries of Ecuador 14 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $9,580
Explore the old-world city of Quito. Enjoy the peaceful sanctuary of Ecuador's private reserves of Mashpi, Zuleta and the Galapagos Safari Camp. Go bird watching for the endangered condor in the Andean Condor Reserve; and learn about the traditional Zuleta community. Discover the Galapagos Islands on a five-night cruise as well as in the relaxed atmosphere of a luxury tented camp.
Volcanoes of Latin America 19 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $14,790
Born of volcanoes, Guatemala, Ecuador and Colombia feature fascinating landscapes and flourishing cultures to discover. Board a helicopter for an overflight of six different volcanoes en route to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Savor a rare experience… glamping at Uaxactun Mayan ruins - an overnight stay in the ruins in the comfort of your own private camp with candle-lit dinner. Explore Colombia's Popayan, known for its beautiful colonial architecture and nearby Purace National Park. Visit the Totumo Mud Volcano, northeast of Cartagena, for a thermal mud bath, both restoring and fun. Take in Ecuador's fabled volcanoes, escorted by a volcanologist, who will help you explore the geology, history and legends of these ancient landscapes
Ecuador’s Classic Cuisine 6 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $6,350
From colonial capital of Quito to the highland countryside, discover Ecuador's culinary traditions.
Ecuador & Peru Culinary Treasures 16 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $14,085
These two countries combine to make a fascinating adventure in food and history - from Ecuador's Hacienda Zuleta, a colonial working farm dating from the 16th century, to Peru's Suquillo Market, you are in for an experience that will delight all the senses.
Chile & Ecuador 12 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $12,260
Savor the rich culinary heritage of Chile & Ecuador.
Ecuador Highlands 6 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $6,350
Explore Ecuador's culinary traditions in this journey to Quito and the highlands.
Ecuador & Luxury Amazon 8 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
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Explore Ecuador's Amazon, one of the world's most celebrated and vital ecosystems during a 4-night cruise aboard a five-star, boutique-style river expedition vessel. Visit a local Kichwa indigenous community to learn how they live and work in this incredible environment.
Ancestor Volcanoes of Guatemala & Galapagos Islands 11 Days Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $8,650
Explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes of these two dynamic destinations and the people and wildlife that inhabit them.
Colombia, Ecuador & Peru 14 Days New Reality Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $4,750
This journey explores South America's pre-Incan societies that over the centuries settled along the Peruvian coast and highlands, the highlands of Ecuador and in Colombia. Visit archeological sites in Colombia’s San Agustín Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America. Travel to desert coastal zone of Northern Peru to enjoy special access to see the excavations at the pre-Incan site of the Sipan ruins.
Luxury Ecuador with Silversea Silver Galapagos 13 Days New Reality Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Safari Tours, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $11,134
Experience Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands on a fascinating journey that includes a 7-night cruise aboard the luxurious Silversea Silver® Galapagos.
Ecuador: Flavors of Ecuador 13 Days Interest(s): Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $7,664
Discover the sights, sounds and flavors of Quito, founded in the 16th century as you explore the historic city center, and take a private cooking class. Meet farmers and fishermen. Enjoy a four-night, land-based exploration of the amazing Galapagos Islands. Snorkel, dive, hike and kayak in these fabled islands.
Custom Ecuador & The Galapagos Tour Varied Days Navigator Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
Starting Price: $8,450
Ecuador Mainland 10 Days Enrichment Series Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel
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Explore the Ecuador mainland, a region that most visitors never experience dor. Visit Indian weavers, savor a thrilling train ride through remote highlands, past Indian communities; and encounter the traditional Cañari Indians and Ecuador's largest and most important archaeological site at Ingapirca.