3 Reasons To Visit Ecuador This Summer
With something for everyone, Ecuador is the ultimate destination for travelers seeking cultural experiences, adventure, and/or natural beauty. In the major cities, you’ll find elaborate cathedrals and cultural museums. Throughout Ecuador, you can find volcanoes, national parks, and waterfalls, and this little country boasts two iconic wonders of nature, the Amazon rainforest, and the Galapagos. Ecuadorians are known for being quite hospitable, warmly welcoming visitors to their home country that they are so proud of. In addition to feeling welcomed, visitors often cite feeling safe, as Ecuador ranks as one of the safest countries in South America. So what are you waiting for? We promise that Ecuador has something for you—no matter your age, budget, or taste. Read on as we highlight the top 3 reasons to visit Ecuador this summer.
- Galapagos Islands, May
The Galapagos Islands truly are a year-round destination, and when you visit depends on your personal preferences. Below we highlight just a few reasons to visit in May.
May is a transition month between the warm wet season and the dry cool season. Therefore, it is still relatively warm this month with less rain than in previous months. Temperatures range between 72 – 82 °F (22 – 28 °C). Rainfall averages measure at less than an inch, and this month is less humid than in prior months.
May offers an abundance of wildlife phenomena. One of the most interesting is the eccentric courtship dance of the blue-footed booby. This is a special treat to watch in May. Females are attracted to blue feet, so the males attempt to show off their feet with a high-stepping demonstration. A deeper hue of blue indicates that the bird is well-fed, a positive indication for females in search of a mate. The male boobies hop from one foot to the other, a sight that surely won’t disappoint. A colony of blue-footed boobies is located on North Seymour island, and they can also be seen in Fernandina, Pinzon, Espanola, Floreana, Santa Cruz, and Isabela.
We highly recommend watching the courtship dance of blue-footed booby, but the wildlife doesn’t stop there. We also see baby sea turtles hatching. They mostly surface under the protection of the nighttime obscurity, but sometimes they can be seen hatching and running to the shore in the evening. If you are fortunate to see this sight, you have the pleasure of witnessing a discreet and special event.
The waved albatross starts laying eggs in April/May. Española is the island to see them as the entire population, consisting of around 30,000 waved albatrosses, return here each year during nesting season. Their courtship dance is a rare sight to see and consists of the birds striking their bills together and making loud honking noises. The pair will produce a single egg, sharing the responsibility of incubation. Waved albatrosses are loyal and mate for life until one dies. This creature is quite fun to watch as they are clumsy on land and contrastingly graceful in the air.
In addition, May is nesting season for Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins, and Greater Flamingos as well as hatching season for iguanas. The best way to see wildlife unique to the Galapagos is via cruise as cruises can access the more remote islands. Cruises don’t visit all islands, so be sure to check which cruises visit which islands.
What to do?
Activities and tours can all be enjoyed year-round in the Galapagos. Snorkeling and diving are more enjoyable around this time of the year due to the warmer waters. As for the rest of the year, partake in other amazing experiences such as kayaking, hiking around the islands, laying on the beach, and swimming in the ocean.
With warm temperatures, less rain, and fantastic wildlife feats, May is a great time to see the Galapagos. However, there is no “best” time to visit the Galapagos as each month presents good weather and incredible wildlife. Check out our Galapagos tours—both land hopping and cruises—and contact our travel experts to help guide you in selecting the best sustainable tour operators and guides.
- Mountain Climbing in Ecuador, June – August
The Andes mountains vertically divide the little country of Ecuador right down the center, boasting a large number of powerful volcanoes that offer incredible climbs. There is a series of concentrated mountains in what famous German explorer Alexander van Humboldt coined “The Avenue of Volcanoes.” Humboldt himself called Ecuadorians strange for sleeping “peacefully surrounded by roaring volcanoes.” From easy day trips to challenging technical climbs, Ecuador offers a climb for everyone. Snow-capped peaks include Chimborazo, Cayambe, Iliniza Sur, Antisana, and of course, the famous Cotopaxi. These mountains require equipment and a certified guide. There is an abundance of mountains that don’t have snow and thus don’t require equipment or a guide, such as Corazon, Iliniza Norte, Imbabura, Rumiñahui, and Pasochoa, just to name a few.
Every day, people near and far travel to Ecuador to hike Cotopaxi. Beginners and experienced climbers enjoy Cotopaxi as it is a challenging climb, involving endurance and physical fitness, but not a technical climb. A perfectly symmetrical snow-topped peak, the majestic Cotopaxi is a must on everyone’s list. It can be done in a day trip up to the Jose Rivas refuge or it can be climbed in an overnight trip to the summit. Other activities at Cotopaxi include mountain biking, horseback riding, and trekking around the mountain.
The best months to climb are December – January with the next best months being June – August. We highly recommend spending your summer vacation tackling one or more mountains. If you plan on conquering some of the higher volcanoes such as Cotopaxi or Chimborazo, it is highly advisable to acclimatize with other lower-elevation climbs prior. We recommend spending several days in Quito followed by a couple of climbs on popular acclimatization mountains such as Pasochoa, Rumiñahui, Rucu Pichincha, and Corazon. For more information, visit Gulliver and peruse our various single mountain tours as well as mountain packages.
- Visit Ecuador’s Cultural Charm, June
Within the frontiers of this small country, Ecuador presents immense cultural diversity. Between the country’s indigenous roots and the influence of Spanish conquest, Ecuador is a melting pot of cultural experiences.
June is an exciting time to visit Ecuador, with celebrations of Inti Raymi, a holiday to celebrate the summer solstice. Inti Raymi, or the “Festival of the Sun,” is widely celebrated by indigenous communities in the Otavalo region. Many communities gathered together to give thanks to Inti, the sun god, as well as Pachamama, mother earth, for providing the harvest. Donned in traditional garments (woolen chaps for men and white blouses, long skirts, and layers of necklaces for women), locals around Otavalo celebrate by dancing together for hours and drinking chicha, a traditional fermented drink of Ecuador. Celebrations can last for up to a month.
Many other Ecuadorian traditions can be enjoyed year-round. Otavalo is also home to the largest artisanal market in South America. Otavalo’s artisanal market is internationally acclaimed for its genuine alpaca textiles and handcrafted artisanal products. Explore Ecuador’s traditional cuisine, especially cuy, roasted guinea pig. Cuy is a delicacy in Ecuador, cooked whole on a metal pole over hot coals. It is typically served with potatoes, corn, and rice.
Quito was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Brimming with cathedrals and museums, Quito flourishes with rich cultural heritage. In the capital’s historic Old Town, one can find the Presidential Palace, Church of La Compañía (a Jesuit church with every surface copiously covered in gold leaf), La Basilica (the largest neo-gothic cathedral in the Americas), and San Francisco (a church purportedly built by the devil). For an unforgettable cultural experience, don’t hesitate to contact Gulliver’s travel experts to help craft your perfect holiday.
Whatever your interests, Gulliver is here to help you plan your perfect visit to Ecuador this summer. With 15 years of operation providing unique tours in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, Gulliver is sure to take you to the most stunning places tailoring all experiences according to your wishes.