As you delve into pre-Inca history, rub shoulders with Andean indigenous peoples, commune with condors, hike a volcano's rim, snorkel with sea lions, and encounter blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises, you'll realize that something has happened. You've been forever changed by Ecuador's amazing Andes and islands.
1-2 Hike in the Andes with spectacular views of snowcapped mountains, and trace the orchid-lined caldera rim around deep-blue Laguna de Cuicocha Wander through Cotacachi's colonial streets, renowned for their leather goods Visit with master weavers and see their age-old techniques as you stroll through their studio Fernando Polanco, grandson of an Ecuadorian president, welcomes us at Hacienda Zuleta, a 4,000-acre working farm set amid volcano vistas and pre-Inca ruins.
3 Check out Condor Huasi, a center reintroducing endangered condors into the wild For new perspectives and breathtaking views, hike to archaeological sites and along winding roads through the Zuleta Valley's lush pastureland Visit Zuleta's embroidery shop showcasing a collection of the local women's renowned needlework and crafts.
4-8 Get set for incredible up-close wildlife viewing in the Galápagos Islands, an isolated sanctuary with a stunning array of unique plants and animals With an expert local guide at your side, marvel at blue-footed boobies, Darwin's finches, magnificent frigate birds and lava lizards Boat from island to island, stopping to kayak, hike, bike and swim Snorkel through a living aquarium teeming with fluorescent fish, and swim alongside sea lions, sea turtles and even white-tipped reef sharks Hike through rich Scalesia forests and witness giant tortoises wallowing in mud puddles Late afternoon, kick back at our lodges or stroll in laid-back port towns.