Galapagos Islands & Ecuador

Ecuador...Only here do you get the staggering heights of the Andes Mountains, the lush and diverse Amazon rainforest, and the natural wonders provided by the Galapagos Islands.

Despite its small size, Ecuador has a dazzling array of natural and cultural wonders. Experience its historical colonial centers lined with stoic plazas and 17th century churches or visit a traditional Quichua village, whose culture has remained largely intact through the barrage of colonizers and globalization. Beyond the cities one may find a startling diversity of landscapes unfolding to reveal even more wonders: the staggering heights of the Andes Mountains, a lush and prolific Amazon rainforest, and the famous Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands, named after the giant tortoises found there by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century, are geologically young and are home to many endemic species. Perhaps they were made most famous by the observations of a young naturalist, Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1835. There, he made several critical geological and biological observations which led to his theory of natural selection and evolution, presented in Origins of Species.