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Amazon to the Galápagos: The Complete Ecuador Experience

With a variety of indigenous groups, smoldering volcanoes, rainforest and a collection of islands known as nature’s laboratory, no place in the world can match the wonders of Ecuador.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21309RJ
17 days
Starts at

Amazon to the Galápagos: The Complete Ecuador Experience

With a variety of indigenous groups, smoldering volcanoes, rainforest and a collection of islands known as nature’s laboratory, no place in the world can match the wonders of Ecuador.
17 days
Starts at
Program No. 21309 RJ
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At a Glance

From the capital city of Quito to the otherworldly Galápagos Islands, Ecuador’s legendary nine ecosystems are on display as you venture by railway, canoe, airplane, motor yacht, bus, raft and foot with our naturalists and local experts. On a nighttime canoe ride in the Amazon, spot a spectacled caiman. At 8,441 feet in the Andes, meet an Otavaleño weaver.Finally, fly and sail to Isabela Island to begin exploring the Galápagos in search of its unique birds, sea-going iguanas, and playful sea lions.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Surrounded by breathtaking volcanoes in the highland town of Otavalo, experience its famed textile market.
  • Deep in the Amazon, view brightly colored parrots as they make their morning pilgrimage to the clay lick at Yasuni National Park.
  • Encounter the exotic animals that made the Galápagos famous including Blue-footed Boobies, Darwin finches and marine iguanas.

General Notes

Quito, Ecuador has an elevation of 9,350-9,500 feet. Some participants find it helpful to fly into the city a day early in order to have extra time to rest and acclimate to the thinner air.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide
by Louise H. Emmons & François Feer
This beautifully illustrated field guide contains all you need to know about rainforest mammals in Central and South America. It has color plates, range maps and detailed descriptions of each animal, including information about their biology, behavior and natural habitats.
Ecuador in Focus, A Guide to the People, Politics, and Culture
by Wilma Roos, Omer van Renterghem
This slim guide provides a lively overview of Ecuador’s history, cultural heritage and political, environmental and economic challenges.
Flowering Plants of the Galapagos
by Conley McMullen, Ghillean Prance
Indispensable for the botanically minded, this excellent guide features color photographs of 436 species, an overview of ecology and habitats, and a plant checklist for each visitor site.
Infinite Ecuador
by Sebastian Crespo
The Andes, Amazon, Pacific, Galapagos, historic cities, remote villages and farms are all on display in this collection of photographs.
The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon
by Michael Goulding, Ronaldo Barthem, Efrem Ferreira
This beautiful, profusely illustrated atlas of the river includes its major tributaries and 150 full-color maps. Michael Goulding (Floods of Fortune) and Brazilian biologists Ronaldo Barthem and Efrem Ferreira provide the accompanying text.
Galapagos Islands Explorer Map
by Ocean Explorer Maps
A detailed map of the Galapagos archipelago for the traveler at a scale of 1:400,000, including illustrated biographies of famous visitors, a brief wildlife guide with color photographs, a map of Darwin's route.
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Travellers' Wildlife Guides
by David Pearson, Les Beletsky
An excellent guide to Ecuador's wildlife, featuring concise descriptions and color illustrations of 500 frequently encountered reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals and insects. The Galapagos Islands get a separate chapter and section of illustrations.
Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
by Andy Swash, Robert Stills
This strikingly compact, comprehensive field guide features 500 color photo-graphs, distribution maps and information on status, habitat and behavior.
Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish
by Roberto Esposto
This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.
Lonely Planet: Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands
by Lonely Planet
This comprehensive country guide provides a good overview of mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos archipelago. Eco-friendly travelers and those seeking active outdoor adventures will appreciate the book's green index which contains information about sustainable options, as well as its outdoors chapter which provides tips on hiking, surfing, kayaking, and biking opportunities.
The Conquest of the Incas
by John Hemming
This well-researched book provides a historical account of the 16th century Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru and neighboring countries. John Hemming is an anthropologist, writer, and explorer with an extensive travel background. He is also a member of the Royal Geographic Society.
Galapagos, The Islands That Changed the World
by Paul D. Stewart
This stunning three-part BBC documentary captures the rugged beauty, allure, wildlife and history of the archipelago like never before
The Panama Hat Trail
by Tom Miller & Tony Hillerman
An accurate and wonderfully descriptive picture of Ecuador and its people. The author tells the story of the Panama hat and the lives it touches; from growing the straw, processing it, and weaving it, to the final product that is exported worldwide.
Ecuador Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A detailed laminated map of Ecuador at a scale of 1:1,000,000, with detailed insets of Quito, Guayaquil, Galapagos and the Ecuadorian Amazon on the reverse.
Amazon Insects - A Photo Guide
by James L. Castner
Spectacular, weird and commonly encountered bugs, butterflies, katydids, leafhoppers, ants, bees, spiders and other insects of the Amazon basin. Geared for the traveler, this handy book features 200 color photographs and accompanying text.
Birds of Ecuador, A Field Guide
by Paul Greenfield, Robert Ridgely
A comprehensive, gorgeous and exhaustively researched field guide to the birds of Ecuador (and adjacent countries), featuring 96 color plates. It's also the best bird guide for travelers in the Peruvian Amazon.
Evolution's Workshop, God and Science on the Galapagos Islands
by Edward J. Larson
A vivid history of the Galapagos -- and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas. It covers not just Darwin but the discovery of the islands, visits of Hancock and Beebe, influence of the United States during WWII, and the establishment of the national park. Pulitzer Prize-winning Larson, a historian of science, has also written about the Scopes trial (Summer for the Gods) and the creationist controversy in the United States (Trial and Error).

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