Ecuador-and-Costa-Rica:-Heritage,-history-and-world-class-wildlife

1-4,Quito

Explore Ecuador’s delightful capital, located in the Andean foothills and built over an ancient Incan city. Its old town is where you’ll find many of its best museums and historic buildings, but also make sure you visit the Casa de la Cultura with its collection of Ecuadorean art and the Museo del Banco Central which houses much of the country’s pre-Columbian gold. Close by, take a trip to the Mitad del Mundo where you can straddle the Equator.

2h10m to Galapagos Islands

5-8,Galapagos Islands

Considered one of the best places in the world for viewing wildlife, the Galapagos Islands are a volcanic archipelago. The plant and animal diversity here is unequalled elsewhere and indeed, it’s the place that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The blue-footed booby is one of the unusual birds you will see, but the islands are home to so much more: albatrosses, sea lions and of course, Galapagos giant tortoise, the largest species of tortoise alive today.

1h50 to Guayaquil

9-11,Guayaquil

The pulsing commercial heart of Ecuador and jumping off point for flights to the Galápagos Islands, this is a riverine city justifiably renowned for its seafood. With a thriving arts scene, countless museums and revitalised squares, Guayaquil has energy, attitude and personality in spades.

4h10m to San Jose

12-14,San Jose

Surrounded by beautiful countryside and protected National Parks, the Costa Rican capital can be quite a culture shock if you’ve just arrived from the countryside. Linger a while, however, and this sprawling city grows on you. Check out the Spanish colonial architecture of the National Theatre and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum before you leave.

3h01m to Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves

4h10m to San Jose

15-17,Arenal Volcano & The Cloudforest Reserves

Immerse yourself in the beauty and majesty of one of the most incredible cloud forests to be found anywhere in the world. Bromeliads, orchids, mosses, vines and ferns are just a few of the 2,500 species of plants you might encounter. Traverse suspension bridges, ride zip lines, visit the frog pond, butterfly garden, serpentarium or bat jun Tulumgle and take a horseback tour of the area to Arenal Volcano & the Cloudforest Reserves get the best out of your visit.

3h33m to Playa Conchal

4h10m to San Jose

18-21,Playa Conchal

Known as one of the most exquisite beaches in Costa Rica, Playa Concha is where you’ll find the Reserva Conchal resort. Consisting of finely crushed shells instead of sand, the beach looks white in places. Since the shells are too heavy to be dragged back into the water by the waves, the water remains very clear and thus perfect for snorkelling or swimming.