• a store filled with lots of fresh produce sitting on top of a table

Images of Ecuador

Set off on your Images of Ecuador tour and experience this incredible country while capturing it through your camera lens. Blessed with diverse and beautiful landscapes and a bounty of fauna, Ecuador offers endless picture perfect scenes.

With your camera in hand, wander the city of Quito and make its Spanish, Flemish and Moorish architecture your muse. Discover the locals’ laid-back way of life in Otavalo and capture authentic Ecuador as you peruse a handicraft market. A flight and canoe ride later, the tropical paradise of Ecuador’s Amazon region awaits, with rich ecosystems and the enchanting monkeys and birds of the flooded igapo. Take to Ecuador's Highlands and visit Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi opens up another world of scenery, with unique flora and fauna just waiting to be captured in the perfect shot.

Between the cities and parks, you’ll travel through this breath-taking country, with snow-capped mountains, rivers and pristine lakes punctuating your journey. You’ll get to visit reserves and protected woodland, wandering extraordinary landscapes and catching sight of nature’s inhabitants.

Of course, no trip to Ecuador is complete without visiting the Galapagos Islands. Spend five days discovering the beauty of Ecuador’s crowning glory on a Galapagos Island Hopping tour extension. Witness the wildlife that formed the basis for Charles Darwin’s renowned book, Origin of Species, and turn your camera to islands’ many wondrous landscapes.

Duration
17 days
Best time to go
All year
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a lizard on a rock

Trip highlights

  • Spot raptors, rare curve-billed tinamou bird and hummingbirds at the Yanacocha Reserve
  • Visit Otavalo’s central square, Plaza de los Ponchos, where indigenous residents show off their weaving skills
  • Take a trip in a dug-out canoe to the flooded igapo to spot monkeys and birds
  • Experience the wonder of the Galapagos Islands on the Galapagos Island Hopping tour extension

Arrive in Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. Settle in and enjoy your first night in Ecuador.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Ikala Quito Hotel 3-4* (standard room)
Quito-Ecuador

See Quito from a photographer's perspective as you take a sightseeing tour of this stunning city. Visit a photographer’s workshop and explore the history of this unique city. Follow your local guide as you are taken to religious and cultural sites, from Independence Square to the stunningly ornate church of La Compañia.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Ikala Quito Hotel
Bird Kruger

Today, you’ll visit the Yanacocha Reserve and see some of Ecuador’s most stunning scenery and enchanting birds. Follow a scenic road up nine miles to the main trail that unfolds through high elevation forest, watching out for raptors, curve-billed tinamou and hummingbirds as you go. Enjoy lunch at the reserve and, later, journey on to Bellavista, where you’ll spend the night.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hosteria Bellavista-Cloudforest 2-3* (standard room)
Bellavista Cloud Forest

Wake up early this morning and make a visit to Refugio Paz de Las Aves. This 120 hectare property boasts a large area of protected woodlands, home to an array of birds. Later, you’ll be driven to Otavalo. Visit the Pahuma Orchid Reserve en route and experience the diversity of the region’s flora as you wander the reserve’s wonderful plant life, from orchids and aroids to the ferns and shrubs. Continue your journey to Otavalo, making many stops to capture the perfect photo.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hacienda Cusin 3* (standard room)
Otavalo Market

Explore the handicraft market of Otavalo this morning. The market is a vibrant place, full of locals speaking in their mother tongue, Quichua. You’ll find a bounty of weaved goods on offer, from tapestries to ponchos, which have been handmade by local residents. This is the perfect place to photograph local people as they go about their everyday lives. After wandering the market, you’ll get to visit Laguna Cuichocha, a crater lake that sits 3000m above sea level, before returning to Otavalo for the night.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hacienda Cusin 3* (standard room)

This morning, you’ll be met and driven to the airport to board your flight over the Andes to Lago Agrio (Nueva Loja). Your driver will take you to the Cuyabeno Bridge, the entrance to the Cuyabeno Reserve. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then step aboard a motorised canoe and journey along the Cuyabeno River, deeper and deeper into this wondrous area. Spend the two hour ride taking in the stunning sights, sounds and rich wildlife of the river before arriving at your lodge in Laguna Grande, your home for the next few nights. Once you’ve settled in, experience the beauty of the lagoon as you take a swim, enjoy the sunset and observe its wildlife.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Cuyabeno Lodge
dolphins

Wake up early this morning and watch the birds and majestic river dolphins. After breakfast, your expert naturalist will lead you on a walk through the forest, so that you can learn about the forest ecosystem, wildlife and medicinal plants that grow here. This afternoon, spot monkeys and birds as you take a dug-out canoe ride to the flooded igapo (flooded forest). Later on, you’ll get the chance to witness some of the area’s nocturnal flora wildlife as you take a night walk in the forest.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Cuyabeno Lodge
Caimans

Follow the Cuyabeno River downstream this morning so that you can visit the fascinating Siona Indigenous Village. See how the locals make traditional casabe bread (made from cassava flour) and have a go yourself while you learn more about this indigenous community’s way of life. Back at the lodge, enjoy lunch, a siesta and perhaps a swim in the Laguna Grande. This evening, head out on the river again to spot caimans, snakes and nocturnal birds.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Cuyabeno Lodge
Hummingbird

Start your day early and enjoy a bird watching session before breakfast. If you’re lucky, you might even get to glimpse the majestic river dolphins. A little later, board a canoe and journey back along the river to the entry of the reserve then head back to Lago Agrio. From here, you’ll either take a flight or bus to Quito once more. Tonight, take your camera out and photograph the city in the evening. It’s the perfect time  to take some beautiful shots, with lights illuminating the ornate colonial architecture of the many churches.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Ikala Quito Hotel
Cotopaxi Volcano

Weather permitting, today you’ll get to experience the wonder of Quito from above as you take a ride on the highest cableway in South America. Sit back and relax as the cableway takes you to the skirts of the Pichincha Volcano, where you can wander the trekking routes or simply relax at a nice cafe. You’ll get to see the Quito from a new perspective, with panoramic views of the city and its beautiful surroundings. Later, head to Cotopaxi National Park, home to the famous Cotopaxi Volcano and one of Ecuador’s most attractive ecological reserves.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hosteria La Cienega

Today, you’ll get to really explore Cotopaxi National Park. Take a walk near Laguna de Limpiopungo, and learn about the flora that lives in these heighty regions - 4000m above sea level - and admire the stunning panoramic views across Cotopaxi . Later, weather permitting, visit Quilotoa, a beautiful lagoon in a volcanic crater. Take in the vibrant colours of the water: green, bluish green or even yellow, depending on the season.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hosteria La Cienega

Bid farewell to Ecuador’s unforgettable mainland today. You’ll be met and driven to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito to catch your flight home or onwards to the Galapagos Islands for the Galapagos Island Hopping tour extension.

Galapagos Islands

After your plane touches down in Seymour Airport on the island of Baltra, where you’ll be taken to your hotel in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. On the way, you’ll get to visit the island’s highlands and stop at Los Gemelos (Twin Craters). Walk in the dense scalesia forest, home to an array of charming flora and fauna, including Darwin finches. Continue your journey and make another stop at El Chato, where you’ll get to see giant tortoise, then visit a 500m long lava tunnel, the third longest in the world. After enjoying lunch at a local hacienda, continue the drive until you reach your hotel, where you can settle in and spend the rest of your day at leisure.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Flamingo
North Seymour

Today, you’ll get to see more of this stunning archipelago as you take a full day boat excursion to either North Seymour, South Plazas, Bartholomew, Santa Fe or the Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Flamingo
Isabela Cruise

Take a morning walk to Tortuga Bay (Turtle Bay). Soak up the beautiful views of this white sandy beach as you swim, snorkel or simply relax, and spot the marine life that calls the shoreline its home. Later on, you’ll be driven to Puerto Ayora. Board a speed boat that will take you to Isabela Island, the largest of the archipelago’s islands. When you reach the island, check into your hotel then explore the sleepy port village of Puerto Villamil.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Casa de Marita
sea lions

Weather permitting, today you’ll get to visit the crater of Sierra Negra, the second biggest crater in the world. Hike to the crater’s border and enjoy the breath-taking views that await you. If bad weather conditions make it impossible to visit the Highlands, you’ll get to visit Los Humedales instead, the wetlands of Isabela. After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, take a short boat ride to the islet of Las Tintoreras. Here, you’ll witness incredible wildlife, such as marine iguanas, sea lions and white tipped reef sharks resting in a lava canal. 

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Casa de Marita

Today your Galapagos Islands adventure comes to an end. Bid the islands farewell as you’re driven to Seymour Airport in Baltra to take a flight to Guayaquil, where you can then board your international connecting flight home.

Included

  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for San Francisco church, La Compañia church, Yanacocha Reserve and Pahuma Orchid Reserve
  • English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions and transfers as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Half Board: Breakfast in all destinations, with four lunches and three dinners as outlined during excursions
  • Cost of accommodation for a total of 16 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Entrance fees for Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Transit Control Card
  • Tax and service charge at the hotels, as well as mandatory luggage handling fees at hotels based on one piece per person
  • Transportation by river at Cuyabeno Lodge
  • Rain poncho and rubber boots at Cuyabeno Lodge

Not included

  • International flights and airfare taxes
  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for drivers, tour directors, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
  • Optional attractions and excursions