Ecuador’s varied landscape provides an excellent location to take an activity holiday. Volcanoes, rivers, canyons and forests all come together to create a playground to make any vacation perfect, so when you factor in the nearby Galapagos Islands, you’ll know this will be a trip of a lifetime.
Ecuador in August
Ecuador in August is a country firmly enjoying its dry season. For most parts of the country, August is high season due to the fantastic weather. Temperatures average 19C (66F) in the capital Quito and thanks to its proximity to the equator, daylight hours don’t tend to vary much throughout the year. Getting across to the Galapagos Islands may be a little choppy during August but the weather once you arrive is great.
This colonial city is the capital of Ecuador and sits at over 9300 feet above sea level, making it the highest city in the world. Located in north-central Ecuador, it is surrounded by valleys complete with volcanoes and rivers. It is also the closest city to the equator and you can celebrate this fact by visiting the Middle of the World Monument. Situated north of the centre of Quito, you can enjoy a private tour around the site and even receive a certificate once your day is over to prove you stood in the middle of the world.
Its historic centre is a marvel and is one of the finest preserved capitals in South America. Wander around Independence Square, complete with its monument to those who fought for Ecuador’s freedom and the Presidential Palace. Take a tour to see the city’s statues, including that on top of the hill at El Panecillo or its religious sites including the churches of La Campania de Jesus and San Francisco. Finish up with a wander around the city’s museum to delve deeper into Quito’s past.
Enjoying the landscape
From Quito, the world is your oyster and there certainly is much to explore and enjoy. This region is filled with volcanoes, including the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi. Tours and hikes are available up these volcanoes but ensure you check before you travel as you may just find it’s having one of its moments! This landscape also provides a great opportunity to explore by horseback or mountain bike.
Head into the Llaganates National Park and immerse yourself in the rainforest, spending time white water rafting down the River Amazon. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also try your hand at exploring the canyons either by foot or for a bit more excitement, why not zipline your way down! Then once you’re in the mood to wind down, head for the Cloud Forest Reserve to enjoy the peace and tranquility by hiking your way through the idyllic landscape or simply relax at the hot springs.
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The Galapagos Islands
These islands are famed for being the ‘playground’ of Charles Darwin and the site where he cultivated many of his theories of evolution. Located just over 670 miles from the eastern coast of Ecuador, it would be amiss not to visit whilst you’re here. Flights depart daily from Quito or Guayaquil and visitors must be part of an organised group as tourism is strictly controlled to maintain the islands.
The Galapagos Islands unique habitat begs to be explored once you do arrive and many an abiding memory of time spent here is of the famous iguanas on the craggy beaches. Other animals you can get up close and personal to include sealions, penguins and turtles. Cruise between the 13 islands, or dip beneath the waves for some snorkelling and diving to explore the landscape below. Accompany this with a visit to Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn more about the great man, his work and its legacy.