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
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.
1h50m to 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.
1h50m to Bogota
Stroll through the old heart of Colombia’s capital city and you’ll see plenty of evidence that the Spanish were once here. Focused on the cobbled streets of La Candelaria, there are enough landmarks to hold your attention for the whole of your stay. But head out into the grittier barrios and discover a vibrant, colourful and welcoming modern city that will make a visit to Bogota a stand out.
1h25m to Cartagena
Atmospheric and safe, the Colombian city of Cartagena is a delight to wander. Within its walls, 400 year old mansions hark back to the days of the Spanish, the old town the inspiration for the country’s best loved novelist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Spot the fruit ladies at the colourful Las Bovedas or visit the macabre Palacio de la Inquisición which evokes memories of the many men convicted, judged and tortured during the Spanish Inquisition for crimes against religion.