We've put together a guidebook with everything you need to know about Ecuador and Galapagos. Written by our specialists, it details destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send you a copy by email.
The Ecuador Mainland is often overlooked by those heading straight to the Galapagos Islands, yet this little explored country is a destination made for travel. Home to soaring Andean peaks, Amazon wilderness, jagged coastline and cobbled colonial towns, Ecuador boasts all of South America’s allure, and more. Galapagos Islands aside, here are a few of our recommended wonders which highlight Ecuador as a mini South America.
Join our exclusive Imagine Latin America Small Group Tour, fully escorted by a local Tour Leader and Galapagos Naturalist Guide to experience the very best of Ecuador and the Galapagos’ prolific wildlife and spectacular landscapes. Enjoy scenic walks in Cotopaxi National Park and around the Sierra Negra Volcano, gain an insight into the Ecuadorian culture and spend six days discovering the wonderful wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.
Quito is Ecuador’s charming capital city, perched high in the Andean mountains in the shadows of the Pichincha volcano.
Latin America Specialist Sam re-lives his recent stint in Otavalo, a place known for its beautiful landscape and talented weavers and crafts...
Latin America specialist Sam has travelled the length of Ecuador in search of unique, characterful, and sustainable lodges and hotels to ensure we can offer you the best experiences possible. Read on to find out how he got on, and fall in love with the idea of exploring jaw dropping scenery and learning about the Ecuadorian way of life.
Ecuador’s stunning Andes region is famous for its outstanding trekking opportunities. We’ve handpicked five of our favourites to get you started!
Packed with cultural heritage, colonial charm and situated in the middle of the world, Quito is a fascinating capital. Offering a wealth of unique things to see and do, Imagine Latin America have conjured up their top five favourite experiences to enjoy in this fascinating city.
Horse riding has been a way of life in Ecuador’s sierra region for many centuries, with Ecuadorian horses famous for their strength and ability to trot up steep slopes at high altitudes. Horse riding is one of the best ways to get in touch with traditional Ecuadorian culture, as well as being a great way to soak up the country’s mesmerising landscape.
Latin America specialist Sonia left us all green-eyed with tales of her incredible trip to Ecuador and Galapagos, one of the most exciting and varied destinations to visit. Read on to find out what she did and where she stayed…
M/V Santa Cruz II
Best for: Cruise, Family, Highlights
The Santa Cruz II was launched in October 2015 and is one of the largest and best-equipped ships in the Galapagos. Revered for its experienced and professional crew, spacious social areas and superb itineraries, it offers the perfect Galapagos experience.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8942
Santa Cruz II holds the perfect infrastructure for Galapagos exploration. Behind scenes, there’s a crew’s heritage of decades of experience working in the islands; coupled with generous space: five-decks holding 50 cabins for up to 90 guests and features ample, luxury-sized social areas indoors and out that allow guests to make the most of their Galapagos cruise experience.
The 50 contemporary designed cabins span across three decks and guests can choose from luxuriously appointed single, double and triple cabins, or opt for one of the three even more exclusive Darwin Suites. These suites offer an exceptional standard of accommodation on the Panorama Deck, where guests will receive elevated service and carefully refined extras such as a take-home Galapagos coffee table book and a tablet loan for each cabin.
While aboard the new Santa Cruz II, guests can relax in the beautifully designed communal areas and viewing platforms, including indoor and outdoor dining options, two lounge bars, a well-stocked library, two indulgent ocean view hot tubs and a state of the art gym.
Creative Ecuadorian and international cuisine is prepared under the watchful eye of the Santa Cruz II’s Cordon-Bleu trained gastronomic director, Byron Rivera. Freshly caught fish and seafood and locally grown organic fruit and vegetables is featured heavily on menus served in the colourful Beagle Dining Room and al fresco on the Panorama Deck.
Each expedition is accompanied by seven exceptionally knowledgeable guides, plus an expedition leader in charge of making the most of each day's outings. Activities can be tailored to each guest’s personal interests and range from daily land expeditions to a host of aquatic activities, including ocean kayaking, snorkelling with sea lions and glass bottom boat expeditions – all of the options permitted by the Galapagos National Park. Dependent on your time and preferences, itineraries range from 4, 5 and 9 nights, which have been carefully designed to provide a comprehensive coverage of the most iconic wildlife in the islands.
When to go
There's never a bad time to visit the Galapagos. The peak season lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January. The national park limits the number of visitors to each island and coordinates each ship's itinerary, so the Galapagos will never feel like Disney World. But if you visit in the summer, you are less likely to feel a sense of solitude and isolation.
From December through to May the water and the air are warmer, but this is the rainy season. It drizzles almost daily for a short period of time. Ironically, this is also the sunniest time of year.
June through November, the Humboldt Current makes it way up to the Galapagos from the southern end of South America. The current brings cold water and cold weather, but it also brings water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds. During this season there always seem to be clouds in the air, but it rarely rains. It's also quite windy, and the seas tend to be rougher.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8942
Things to do
Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Sierra Negra and Volcan Chico.
Tintoreras & Wall of Tears
Explore the wonders of the Tintoreras before heading to the fascinating Wall of Tears.
Itabaca Channel Kayaking & Giant Tortoise Reserve
A fitting introduction to the Galapagos: enjoy adventure activities and wildlife encounters along the Itabaca Channel before meeting the archipelago’s most famous inhabitant, the giant tortoise.
Cerro Mesa & Kayaking at Garrapatero
Spend the day hiking through the Cerro Mesa reserve for amazing views over the south of Santa Cruz before kayaking off of El Garrapataro beach.
A Day on Floreana Island
Today you will travel to Floreana Island to explore the home of the first, and smallest human population in the Galapagos.
Lava Tunnels & Breeding Centre on Isabela Island
Enjoy a day snorkelling off the cost of Isabela Island and learn about some of the conservation efforts in this area.
Tortuga Bay & Charles Darwin Station
Enjoy a day spent walking Santa Cruz Island, visiting Las Grietas, the Charles Darwin Research Station and Tortuga Bay.
Highlights of Puerto Ayora: Coffee Farm, Sugar Cane Mill & Charles Darwin Research Centre
Enjoy a day exploring the main highlights on land around Puerto Ayora, including a visit to an organic coffee farm and the Charles Darwin Research Centre.
Exploring the Floreana Highlands
Spend a full day exploring the amazing views of the Floreana highlands.
Galapagos Bird Life, Marine Life and Land Exploration of San Cristobal
Enjoy a day of hiking and snorkelling around San Cristobal Island.
Visit South Plazas Island
Head to the beautiful South Plazas Island, known for its diverse range of flora that makes for a fascinating and vibrant landscape.
Puerto Chino and El Junco Lagoon
Enjoy a full day exploring the delights of San Cristobal, from shore to highlands.