Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands
Combine Ecuador’s cultural richness and natural wonders, with the enchanting Galápagos archipelago. Quito, the capital, boasts a blend of colonial and modern influences. The Galápagos Islands, a living laboratory of evolution, enchant with unique wildlife. Espanola (the most southernly) and Isabela (the largest) Islands both provide remarkable settings from which to explore.
This ancient island is estimated to be about 3.5 million years old and the most southerly of the Galapagos Islands.
The largest of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela is the one that looks remarkably like a seahorse from the air. At a mere one million years old, this volcanic island is considered a baby compared to its older island neighbours.
Ecuador’s high-altitude capital city is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is worth spending a few days in Quito to take in the beautiful colonial architecture of the city’s historic centre and the contemporary art galleries and skyscrapers of the new quarters.
If you are staying at a lodge in the Galapagos Islands rather than cruising, you are likely to be based in Santa Cruz. Although Santa Cruz lacks the isolated sense of wilderness of outer islands such as Genovesa Island and Fernandina Island, there is plenty of wildlife to discover on the coast and in the highlands.
From its beginnings in Peru, The Amazon River completes its 4000-mile journey in Brazil, carving its way through the world’s largest rainforest to the Atlantic Ocean. With around 1,300 bird species and approximately 2.5 million different insects living beneath the canopy, not to mention the 40,000 species of plant life, the Amazon is a nature-lovers dream.
East of Quito, the foothills of the Andes are on your doorstep with a scenic drive and no need for the hassle of internal flights. Ride on horseback in the shadow of volcanoes, explore colourful Andean market towns and discover cloud forests teeming with birdlife.
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