With its iconic giant tortoises, crested black iguanas, huge ocean manta rays and a veritable menagerie of other cool creatures, the Galápagos Islands are one of the most beautiful places you will probably never visit.
Who wouldn’t want to go to a white sand beach and soak up some sun alongside a lounging iguana, or surf in waters with those lumbering tortoises swimming beside you and a rainbow of tropical fish below?
But in order to protect the flora, fauna and ecosystems of this Pacific archipelago that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, Ecuador is in the odd position of having to turn away perhaps millions of would-be tourists each year.
“The Galápagos are the crown jewel”
Keeping a tight lid on tourism is the way the South American country has preserved this volcanic string of 19 large islands, dozens of islets and rocky outcroppings. Authorities wage this fight as world tourism grows and grows – it was up seven percent last year – and they must resist the temptation to let in hordes of visitors, their pockets bulging with dollars.
If you’re passionate about nature and saving the most precious ecosystems on the planet, check out the exceptional WildAid Passion for Galapagos cruise.
Passion can save the world. If you have passion for wild beauty, if you care deeply about our natural world, and if you long for your next thrill of adventure, WildAid Passion for Galapagos belongs on your bucket list.
The Galapagos Islands form one of the most important archipelagos in the world when it comes to wildlife and natural ecosystems. Home to nearly 3,000 marine species, many which are found nowhere else on earth, the wild beauty here is unparalleled. And WildAid Passion, is a truly unique way to experience it.
The Galapagos Islands are a priceless UNESCO World Heritage.
WildAid Passion is not just an exceptional luxury cruise across the Galapagos archipelago, it is literally a life-saver.
Angermeyer Cruises / Andando Tours and WildAid have joined forces to protect the Galapagos ecosystem with the creation of the Galapagos Conservation Fund. Your cruise aboard the WildAid Passion helps to protect protect this unique place and all that lives there.
Oh, the places you’d go — if you could. While most people have exotic locales on their bucket lists, there are also many places in the United States and abroad that are just as enticing but won’t cost your retirement kitty. Here are some ideas for where to take a memorable vacation now and still be able to afford to travel in your golden years.
Recognized as the culinary capital of Mexico, Oaxaca is irresistible to anyone interested in food and drink. It’s the birthplace of mezcal, the agave-based ancestor of tequila, and mole, the family of rich sauces found throughout the country. This bustling, bohemian city has cobblestone streets, colonial charm, and low prices. At Las Brisas Huatulco, an all-inclusive resort with its own coral reef and myriad other amenities, rates start at about $110 a night.
Cuenca, Ecuador City Travel Guide including what to do, what to eat, and where to sleep in this historic UNESCO World Heritage site city.
Cuenca, Ecuador is an expat mecca which means you’re going to hear more English (and French and German) and see more North American and European faces here than anywhere else in Ecuador except maybe the Galapagos Islands. But Cuenca is also full of history, culture, hotels, and good food (you can thank the expats for that last one), as you’ll see in this travel guide to Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca.
Cuenca was first inhabited by nomadic cave men and more securely established in 500 AD.
Nestled in the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, there is a blossoming foodie haven built on the ingenuity of expats with a taste for home cooking.
I moved to the Spanish colonial city of Cuenca almost four years ago, escaping the unhealthy working hours and resulting unhealthy lifestyle I had in Florida. I was working 50 hours a week, grabbing tacos on the way home because I hadn’t eaten all day, drinking a bottle of wine while watching mindless TV, and taking an Ambien to sleep. In other words, I was a typical North American.
Moving to Cuenca gave me back my health and, more importantly, my mind. Shedding the Florida heat, the cost of owning a car, and exorbitant healthcare and electricity costs helped me learn to live simply again.
Ecuador may be one of the smallest South American countries, but it packs a punch when it comes to things to see and do. Bordered by Peru, Colombia, and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet. In this place that enjoys perpetual springtime, you can discover everything from the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos Islands and the soaring Andes Mountains. Adventure after adventure awaits in Ecuador, which means once you go, you’re likely to find yourself returning again and again. Start by putting at least a few of these top things to do on your must-experience list.
Visit the Amazon (Nearby Hotels)
The Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest covers the eastern part of the country and is exceptionally rich in biodiversity when it comes to both flora and fauna.
Rules, facts, and information that travelers should know before planning a trip to Galápagos National Park.
Ecuador’s amazing Galápagos Islands are a collection of rocky, volcanic lands that are protected as part of the Galápagos National Park. Best known for their unique wildlife (and as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking research on natural selection and evolution), the Galápagos Islands are a ferociously protected area governed by strict rules and regulations meant to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Here are the facts, fees, and important rules you need to know to plan your Galápagos trip.
Galápagos National Park Facts
Galápagos National Park was created in 1959, and it was the first national park in the entire country of Ecuador.
But a superintendent and rangers were not assigned to Galápagos National Park until 1971, a dozen years later.
For those considering a family vacation in Ecuador, GO! This country offers cities, outdoor recreation, and the Galapagos.
Is it a good idea to go to South America with kids? No – it’s a great idea! Ecuador, a geographically diverse little equatorial country on the Pacific coast of Northwestern South America, is an ideal destination for a family vacation. With its temperate climate, fun activities, breathtaking wildlife, and access to the Andes, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, and historical colonial cities, Ecuador offers sights, sounds, and experiences that kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
Family vacation in Ecuador: Start in the highlands
The whole country of Ecuador is about the size of the American state of Colorado, but it offers beaches, mountains, jungles, and the world-famous Galapagos Islands, where visitors can see evolution in action.
New reasons to love Latin America’s best preserved colonial city.
Cloud-high in the Andes and hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of two active volcanoes, few cities have as dramatic a setting as Quito. The Ecuadorian capital’s 16th-century Centro Histórico (Old Town) is not only the largest and best-preserved colonial center in Latin America, it’s also the world’s very first UNESCO World Heritage city.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of Quito’s UNESCO inscription. With recently spotted round-trip flights from the U.S. as low as $340, exploring the city’s maze of candlelit monasteries, shamanic healers, and pastel-colored palaces should be on your 2018 list.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s how to experience the best of Quito’s Old Town.
Get your bearings at the city’s largest, oldest, and prettiest square: the palm-shaded Plaza de la Independencia.
A combination of incredible close-up encounters with wildlife and Lindblad’s experience in the Galapagos will help to create lasting memories.
Sailing with Lindblad Expeditions -National Geographic in the Galapagos Islands is one “amazing encounter”. Giant tortoises lumber along the roadside, grazing on scrub. They have no fear of humans. This allows some fantastic photography and free observance of the wildlife as they roam around the park.
Located some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands is one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, designated in 1978. In 2017 Lindblad celebrates its 50th year exploring the Islands. The 48-passenger National geographic Islander ensures an intimate experience with the surroundings. A combination of incredible close-up encounters with wildlife and Lindblad’s experience in the Galapagos will hel to create lasting memories.
This cruise is all about exploration and discovery, and Lindblad’s naturalists and guides are tru experts.