Ecuador: Gateway to the Amazon and Galapagos

By ~ Eric-Sheets 

The Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands are two of the world’s most exciting destinations for wildlife safaris and nature experiences, topping the bucket lists of many travelers around the globe. With their rich biodiversity, extraordinary landscapes and endemic species, this comes as no surprise – but did you know that it’s Ecuador that offers the fastest, most direct access to both destinations? Read on to find out how you can visit the Amazon and Galapagos Islands from their gateway; Ecuador

Accessing the Ecuadorian Amazon

The Amazon is a vast jungle, a pristine wilderness of trees, rivers and lakes that spills over 40% of the South American continent. While much of this mighty rainforest is untouched and inaccessible, there are particular access points in countries like Brazil, Peru and Ecuador that afford wide-eyed visitors the chance to experience the spectacular wilderness first-hand. However, while it is possible to reach Iquitos from Lima in Peru, and Manaus from Sao Paolo in Brazil, these flights take two and four hours respectively; yet it’s just a 30-minute journey from Quito to Amazonian Coca, in Ecuador. There’s even the possibility to drive to the Ecuadorian Amazon, if you so wish! This means that, with less time and energy spent on getting there, you have more moments to enjoy the delights of the Ecuadorian Amazon, whether that’s the Cuyabeno National Reserve, Yasuni National Park or the Achuar Territory.

Ecuador: Gateway to the Galapagos Islands

With its wildlife encounters and head-scratching geological formations, the Galapagos are extraordinary to say the least, leaving each and every visitor here utterly captivated. There are multiple ecosystems, varied landscapes and intriguing endemic species here, the same mix that led Charles Darwin to his Theory of Evolution. So, any cultured traveler will be in awe during their own Galapagos cruise or land-based vacation, it’s hard not to be. These islands make up part of Ecuador, so flights to this secluded Pacific Ocean archipelago are easily done from either Quito, the capital (taking around 2.5 hours), or Guayaquil, the country’s largest city and port town (a flight time of 1.5 hours). Ecuador really is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands!

Multi-center Trips to Ecuador, the Amazon and Galapagos

With such easy, direct access to the Amazon and Galapagos Islands, you can experience both on one amazing trip to Ecuador. After touching down in Quito, either take the time to explore the UNESCO-stamped Old Town of Ecuador’s capital city, its high Andean surrounds and cloud forests, or head straight for the Amazon on a short flight to immerse yourself in the jungle for a few days. Exploring the Ecuadorian Amazon is a great introduction to the immense biodiversity of this compact South American nation, before you then continue on to the Galapagos Islands, where an even greater variety of flora and fauna – not to mention beautiful beaches – lie in wait. Take a look at our sample Ecuador itineraries to get a flavor for Amazon and Galapagos trips, before getting in touch with us to start planning your own perfect vacation. You can also incorporate the fascinating mainland towns and villages, national parks and protected reserves into your trip too – talk to one of our expert travel designers to find out more.