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Ecuador tours
Guided group travel

Ecuador tours

Historical colonial cities, picture-perfect beaches, and unique local wildlife—discover all there is to love about this South American country on our trips to Ecuador.

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Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
10 days | 16 days with Peru extension

4.7 star rating

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on 2023, 2024, and 2025 tours when you book by September 28†
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What travelers are say about their trips to Ecuador

02/27/22 by 1st-time traveler Sharon
This was the trip of a lifetime. It exceeded my expectations and was filled with wonderful people and terrific leaders. The pace is frenetic but organized and I never felt that I couldn’t keep up.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
Excellent experience
03/27/22 by 1st-time traveler Linda
I didn’t know what to expect from EF tours. It was a marvelous trip. Every aspect was well organized. Our tour directors were knowledgeable, kind, attended to very detail. The accommodations were excellent, the food was delicious. The excursions were enjoyable. Thanks to all who made it possible.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
02/16/20 by 1st-time traveler Steven
I always thought that watching nature programs on TV was all that I needed, but actually being in the same environment as the wildlife is a privilege and an experience that MUST be done in person.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
Journey to Quito and Galapagos
02/02/20 by 5th-time traveler Nirmala
This was the most wonderful trip! This was my 5 th trip with Go Ahead tours and possibly the best. Our tour guide was the best and we had a most wonderful time.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
wildlife-viewing adventure
08/19/18 by 4th-time traveler Erica
This was the best wild life adventure ever and the historical aspects were just as amazing. The Galapagos cruise was the best part. It was non stop hiking, snorkeling, and exploring the untouched wild with an intimate small group of about 8 people.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise
Galapagos Islands and Ecuador
10/27/19 by 3rd-time traveler Nancy
Our tour guide Juan Carlos Rivera was by far the best tour director we have ever had on many of our trips. Ship accommodations, food and the crew were fantastic. Plenty of activities where you'll never get bored.
Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise

Travel tips for trips to Ecuador

What are some interesting things to do on a trip to Ecuador?

When it comes to Latin America tours, Ecuador is tough to beat, thanks to its diverse landscapes and ecosystems, as well as its rich cultural heritage. Here are a few tips for travelers looking for unique things to do on our Ecuador tours.

  • Take in bird’s-eye views. One of Quito’s best lookout points is the top of El Panecillo, a 656-foot-high hill that’s home to a towering aluminum statue of the winged Virgin of Quito.
  • Go shopping in Otavalo. This town in the Andes Mountains is beloved by travelers for its eponymous market. Hop between stalls to shop for indigenous crafts, and watch a local weaving demonstration.
  • Stand on the equator. Located at Mitad Del Mundo (translation: middle of the world), roughly 30 miles north of Quito, the Quitsato Sundial sits on the equator and is a fun stop for demonstrations of equatorial effects.

For more to do, and for ways to spend free time on our Ecuador trips, check out our Ecuador Travel Guide.

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When is the best time of year to visit Ecuador?

Peak travel seasons in Ecuador are largely determined by which holidays are happening around the country. Vibrant fiestas celebrate everything from agriculture to religion to indigenous culture. Here’s a season-by-season breakdown of the best times to visit Ecuador.

  • Spring. Visit just before Lent to experience Carnival, one of the country’s most boisterous fiestas. During Holy Week (it typically falls in March or April), many locals head to the beach and merchants close up shop, but religious parades that take place across the country then are more than worth seeing.
  • Summer. If your sights are set on the Sierra, this is a good time to visit, as June through September are the region’s warmest, driest months. On July 24, Ecuadorians across the country celebrate the birthday of revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar, who was known as “El Libertador,” or The Liberator. The following day, July 25, residents of Guayaquil celebrate the anniversary of their city’s founding.
  • Fall. Early November brings with it a few festive holidays, including All Souls Day (it falls on November 2 and is also known as the Day of the Dead). Every November 3 in Cuenca, locals celebrate the city’s independence with festivities all around the city.
  • Winter. Quito was founded on December 6, and the anniversary is feted across the capital city with parades, dances, sports, and other lively events. This time of year is ideal for a tropical escape to the Galápagos thanks to the warm temps, calm seas, and occasional rain showers that last through May.
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What are the top attractions to see in Ecuador?

The Galápagos Islands.** Many Ecuador tour packages, like our Ecuador & Galápagos Islands Cruise, include a visit to this volcanic island chain in the Pacific Ocean, and for good reason. Best known as the site that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the islands—located roughly 600 miles off Ecuador’s coast—are among the best places in the world for wildlife viewing. Marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies are among the nine animals you’ll only find in the Galápagos.

  • Quito. Set high in the Andes mountains, Ecuador’s capital city is the largest historic center in South America. It’s home to several eye-popping architectural sites, including the neo-Gothic Basilica of the National Vow, the 16th-century Monastery of San Francisco, and the Baroque La Compañía church, which has a dazzling gold-leaf interior.
  • Cuenca. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city is packed with architectural gems, among them the Old Cathedral of Cuenca. Another reason the city is popular among travelers on Ecuador tours: shopping for ceramics, textiles, and other locally made handicrafts.
  • Guayaquil. Natural charm, an appealing metropolitan vibe, and a strong footing in tradition are among the reasons many explorers on Ecuador tours love to discover Guayaquil. The historic port is known as the “Pacific Pearl,”  and its hard-won independence is woven into the fabric of many famous landmarks. 
  • Cotopaxi National Park. Adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts love this national park for its wildlife watching and stunning views of the massive, and still-active, Cotopaxi volcano.
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I’m planning to visit Ecuador. What should I pack?

Seasons in Ecuador are typically characterized by how wet or dry—not how warm or cool—they are. Of course, the weather (and your packing needs) will vary depending on what part of the country you visit, but these items will come in handy on all trips to Ecuador.

  • Light, waterproof clothing. Parts of Ecuador (coastal areas and the Amazon) and certain months (October through May) can be wetter than others. Water-resistant clothing and accessories will keep you cozy and dry.
  • Comfy, sturdy shoes. Whether you’re logging thousands of steps in a city like Quito or navigating rocky surfaces in the Galápagos, lace up a pair of well-cushioned shoes with a durable sole to keep your feet in tip-top shape.
  • Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen. Sunlight in Ecuador can be strong. Protect your eyes with a pair of shades (polarized if possible), your head with a full-coverage hat, and skin with plenty of SPF.

For more Ecuador packing tips, check out our Ecuador Travel Guide.

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What are some common dishes to order in Ecuador?

Here are a few dishes that foodies on tours to Ecuador won’t want to miss.

  • Ceviche. This refreshing, zingy dish is made by marinating, or “cooking,” raw fish and seafood in citrus juice—typically lime—and mixing in chopped fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies (think cilantro, mango, red onion, and tomatoes). It’s served cold and often topped with crunchy accoutrements like fried plantains or corn kernels.
  • Chocolate. Many chocolate enthusiasts agree that Ecuador produces some of the highest quality stuff on the planet. And with many makers using cacao beans grown in the Ecuadorian Amazon, it’s no wonder. Find chocolate bars everywhere—grocery stores, artisanal shops—that are pure and plain or packed with bits of sea salt, lemongrass, Andean blueberries, and other ingredients.
  • Encebollado. You don’t have to have a hangover to enjoy this Ecuadorian specialty that’s said to cure one. Often served in the morning or for brunch, this soup typically contains tuna, yuca, onions, and cilantro and is finished with a squeeze of lime juice, ketchup, or mustard. Take a cue from locals and stir in some crushed chifles, or plantain chips, to give it a comforting, stew-like texture.
  • Fried plantains. This starchy, banana-like fruit is abundant in Ecuador and is served fried as both a street food snack and a restaurant side dish. Ripe yellow ones (maduros) are soft and sweet, while fried green plantains (patacones or tostones) stay crisp and are sprinkled with salt or dipped in ketchup or mayo.
  • Viche de pescado. Not to be confused with ceviche, this comforting coastal dish (it’s also sometimes called biche) is a hearty fish soup made with a peanut broth, yuca, plantains, cilantro, onions, garlic, veggies, and, sometimes, beans.
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What should I know before I visit Ecuador?

Depending on where you go when you visit Ecuador, you might find yourself in high elevations, which can mean experiencing altitude sickness. Acclimate as best you can before setting off on high-altitude adventures. Another thing travelers should know before setting out on their guided tours to Ecuador is that it’s best to stick to bottled water. You might spot locals drinking tap water in restaurants, but resist the temptation to try it yourself.

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