Nature lovers and animal enthusiasts unite! If following in Charles Darwin’s footsteps and seeing incredible wildlife you’ve only read about is your dream, make it come true on an Ecuador and the Galapagos tour with Gate 1 Travel. From the capital city of Quito, to the incredible Galapagos Islands and onto the lively port city of Guayaquil, you will explore this impressive country and enjoy many unforgettable adventures along the way.
Let Gate 1 take you seamlessly from the main land of this South American country, and then on to the highlight of the trip; the Galapagos Isles where you will enjoy beautiful flora and fauna that is unlike anywhere else on earth. Choose to also explore the Amazonian areas of Ecuador where you will experience the culture and traditions of the people and the special setting in which they live. Canoe rides, ziplining, cruising and nature hikes will all become your modes of transportation on your Ecuador excursion with Gate 1 Travel.
Vibrant and exciting Guayaquil is an excellent place to start. Guayaquil has often been passed off as the little sister of Quito but it’s made a splash in recent years with a massive riverside development called Malecon 2000. Guayaquil is also more populous than Quito and some say it has more style but you can be the judge of this. This city is your gateway to the Galapagos islands and the second largest city in size in the country. This port city is full of incredible architecture and you will view and visit some of them including the main square with its stirring Heroes of the Independence memorial that symbolizes the triumph of the Republic against Spain. Continue on to the Seminario Park (Parque de las Iguanas) and enjoy this favorite place for bird watching and home to arboreal Iguanas. Next, enjoy sites such as the Neo-Gothic Cathedral, La Rotonda Monument and Torre Morisca (Moorish Clock Tower). Visit the charming riverside Malecon Garden and Santa Ana Hill where the city was founded in the 16th century. You will be in the exact place where the city was born and learn more about its history. Lastly, enjoy a visit to the Parque Historico, where you will view historic houses with their pastel hues and learn about the culture of the area.
Not only is Quito the capital of Ecuador, it is also the second highest altitude capital in the world after La Paz, Bolivia. This city is high in the foothills of the Andes and was constructed on the base of an ancient Incan city. Quito has a long and storied history and you will discover it starting at the Independence Plaza; the central square and historic center of the city. Continue your tour and view the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Make your way to the historic colonial quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a smaller city within a city. Museums, plazas, churches and more dominate this old and historic area. Lastly, visit the Metropolitan Cultural Center with its exhibits that highlight and celebrate Ecuadorian culture and history.
The Galapagos is truly one of the most incredible and unique places on the entire earth. It contains animals that live only on the island and you can only see them here. These animals have also been here a long time so they’ve had time to adapt to their habitat in the most unusual and fascinating ways. These longtime residents include the blue-footed booby, Galapagos giant tortoise, Galapagos penguins and so many more. In fact, this archipelago is the only place in the world that you can see penguins and flamingos in the same place! Join us on these legendary islands and experience the place where biodiversity has flourished for many years. If going to the Galapagos is on your bucket list, there is no better time than now to heed the call.
Visit Isabela island, the largest island in the Galapagos and considered the “gem” of the archipelago. This island offers an expansive beach, beautiful natural surroundings and striking pink flamingos which gracefully appear in the lagoons and marshes at dusk. Board a dingy to Tintoreras Islet, a small bay with calm turquoise waters and sandy beaches. Inhabitants here include sea lions, sea turtles, penguins and iguanas. Make sure to have your camera ready for when you encounter some of these amazing creatures. When the tide is low here, you may even be able to see the island’s famous whitetip reef sharks! Keep your eyes peeled. Continue on to the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes of the islands. Enjoy a trek here across alien terrain and fascinating geological landmarks.
A true highlight comes up next at the Charles’ Darwin Research Station’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Santa Cruz Island. Here you will learn more about the programs to save the iconic Galapagos tortoises and see some of the animals eating, sleeping and wallowing in the mud. These turtles can live up to and over 100 years! They are the some of the longest living vertebrates on earth.
The Galapagos includes a plethora of diverse islands with different reasons that bring travelers there. Gate 1 Travel offers different tours to many of the different islands including the following so you can embrace the Galapagos your own way. North Seymour, a resurfaced island that appeared from underwater millions of years ago by geological lift, is home to excellent bird watching and 500 land iguanas. Bartolome features the cutest of ambassadors, the Galapagos Penguins. Santiago is home to a rich diversity of wildlife including marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles and dolphins. On Fernandina, the youngest and most active of the volcanic islands, penguins, sea lions and fur seals enjoy the sun and wade in the tide.
Perhaps join our Galapagos Express itinerary, an affordable package that includes all excursions, an excellent way to see the islands! Begin your journey at Baltra Airport where you will then ferry to Santa Cruz. Visit Bartolome Island with an astonishing array of wildlife such as penguins, sea lions, turtles and many different kinds of fish. Also enjoy snorkeling and swimming and the option to hike over the steep summit of this island. Next, head by boat to North Seymour Island and keep an eye out for blue-footed booby, pelican, frigate bird, sea lion and iguana. Relax on an isolated stretch of beach and enjoy a swim or snorkel along the coast. Last, visit the impressive Charles Darwin Research Station and the Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre before you leave this incredible archipelago cemented in time.
The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to more varieties of plants and animals than any other place on the earth. Start off your adventure right by journeying to your hotel down river in a motorized canoe and then transferring to a dugout canoe for the remainder. You will then arrive at your lodge just in time for either some bird watching or hanging out at the pool. Rest up and then embark on a “Canopy Walk” where you will view extraordinary panoramas from the observation platforms at a height of 120 feet above the forest floor. Learn about medicinal plants that have been used by the local people here for hundreds of years. Visit the Nueva Providencia Interpretation Center where you will speak with women from the Kichwa community and learn about their lifestyle and have a meal with them. Afterwards, take a canoe ride into the flooded floor of the rainforest and find yourself surrounded by birds, monkeys and more.
The Andes Mountains is one of the longest mountain ranges in the entire world and spans much of the western side of South America. Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina are all encompassed by these giants. High in this landscape, you will visit Papallacta home of a hot springs for which the area is famous. Here you can choose to enjoy the optional to the spa and enjoy steaming thermal baths surrounded by the beauty of nature. Perhaps, also opt for a soothing massage in this jungle paradise. Surround yourself in this incredible setting and take time to wind down and remember all of your fond memories from your Ecuadorian adventure.
Ecuador is one of the most diverse countries on earth. If you are looking to see fascinating cities, infinite ecosystems and a plethora of animals, there is no better place. From the wilds of the Amazon to the heights of the Andean countryside, Ecuador is stunningly diverse, despite being smaller than the state of Nevada. No matter which itinerary calls to you, our carefully chosen hotels provide all the amenities and services you expect from Gate 1 Travel to ensure you’ll explore in comfort. What’s more, thanks to our full roster of tours and features, you can be sure you’re traveling at the best value available. Join us!