Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, nestles in a valley at the base of Pichincha Volcano, surrounded by lushly forested hills just twenty-two miles from the Equator. As the best-preserved and least altered historic centre in Latin America, it was the first city to be declared a Cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO. Take a city tour to admire the Old Town, which features an impressive collection of Colonial architecture, or visit Cuenca, which has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the Valley of Otavalo, situated in northern Ecuador, live a prosperous community of skilled Textile Weavers (Otavalos), recognisable by their distinctive dress. Markets play an important role in life, providing gathering places for the Otavalos to trade and socialise. Watch artisans weaving on old-fashioned looms in Peguche; wood-carving in San Antonio de Ibarra, and at Cotacachi, famous for its leather products, you’ll be sure to pick up something unique.
As the single richest hotspot on the planet, Ecuador's Cloud Forest contains approximately fifteen per cent of the world's plant species and nearly twenty per cent of the bird diversity. Amidst trees festooned with liverworts and mosses, giant ferns and swirling mists live brightly coloured birds (some native to the area), pretty butterflies and indigenous frogs, plus the occasional ocelot (Dwarf Leopard), or even a puma. A visit to Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve brings an extraordinary opportunity to observe the natural world close-up.
The luxury expedition ship, Silver Galapagos by Silversea and the small, smart and well-equipped La Pinta Yacht offer a range of expert-led excursions of varying durations throughout the Galapagos Islands. On-board, you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine and hot showers, as well as snorkelling, swimming and kayaking activities. Close encounters with the wildlife include the sea lion harems at Santa Fe, where the bulls vie for right of ‘Beach Master’, the Flightless Cormorant at Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela Island) – the only existing marine bird in the world, other than the penguin, to have changed from a flying bird to a diving bird, and Galapagos Tortoises and giant prickly-pear cactus on the island of Puerto Ayora, also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station. A once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the most unspoilt, important archipelagos in the world is assured and a cruise is the very best way to see it in all its glory.
Ecuador’s largest city, is a natural port and home to Bolivar Park (Park of the Iguanas), as well as the waterfront with its historical, cultural and entertainment areas. Stories tell of a brave leader, Guayas, who, desperate not to fall into the hands of the Spanish, killed his wife, Quil, and drowned himself in the river. In the joining of their names, the city was baptised.
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Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya) and Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/ In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Additional links to sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk and http://nathnac.net
New regulations require all travellers to Ecuador to provide the following:
-Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate (when arriving from Brazil introduced 27.02.17)
-Blood Type details
-Pre-existing medical conditions and/or allergies
-Emergency contact information
-Medical insurance information
This information may be requested at the time of booking.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador
Sources of information include: www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic direct from London Heathrow to Miami.
Via Madrid with Iberia Airlines from London Heathrow.
Via Amsterdam with KLM from London Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.*
Onward connecting flights with American Airlines and LAN from Miami.
From London Heathrow to Miami: 9 hours, 45 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Miami to Quito: 4 hours and Guayaquil: 4 hours, 20 minutes.
London Heathrow to Madrid: 2 hours, 25 minutes and Amsterdam: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Onward long-haul connecting flights to Quito from Madrid: 11 hours, 10 minutes and Amsterdam: 11 hours, 40 minutes.
Guayaquil from Madrid: 11 hours, 50 minutes.
KLM upgrades start from as little as £910 per person, each way.
*More regional departure airports are available.