Big Five Tours and Expeditions
Straddling two hemispheres, Ecuador may be small but it has a dynamic character. Traditional markets, Amazon tributaries, Inca ruins, Andean peaks, colonial churches, and the wildlife havens of the Galapagos Islands… these are the radiant threads that interweave in the tapestry of Ecuador.
Once the Inca Empire’s northernmost territory, it boasts important archeological sites as well as pre-Inca fortresses. In the highland valleys, Quechua-speaking Indians continue the tradition of weaving and selling textiles, and creating artwork and handicrafts using much the same techniques as their ancestors. Some of Ecuador’s established native markets have existed for a millennium.
The beautifully preserved cities of Quito and Cuenca are noted for sumptuous 16th-century art and architecture.
The Galapagos Islands sit some 650 miles west of mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. Nothing quite compares to the thrill of observing wildlife on these natural volcanic islands, where the animals do not run or fly away when humans approach. It was here that Charles Darwin discovered conditions that helped shape his ideas on evolutionary theory. Life evolved on these islands in isolation, separate from the rest of the world. Distinctions exist even from one island to the next.