You should book flights to Ecuador to prove to yourself that the best things sometimes do come in small packages. Despite being a relatively small South American country, nestling between Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It is literally teeming with flora and fauna, from the hummingbirds of the Amazon rainforest to the unique wildlife on the Galapagos Islands. From stunning sun-kissed beaches to volcanoes topped with ice, the landscape of Ecuador is constantly changing and delighting.
The fact that Ecuador lies along the Equator means that it has no summer or winter, merely a wetter season and a dryer season. The ‘wetter’ season runs from December to June, while July to November is typically drier. That said, conditions can vary depending upon the geographical features of your particular spot in Ecuador, and the busiest months for tourists tend to be December to January and June to August. If you want to avoid crowds and higher prices, try to travel outside these months.
The likelihood of finding cheap flights to Ecuador will vary depending upon when you’re travelling, but you’re far more likely to do so if you make use of the Orbitz search engine. If you’re flexible about your plans, you can click on the ‘Show flexible dates’ option and be given prices for a range of departure dates and times. At the same time, the ‘Nearby airports’ option allows you to choose from a range of cities to take off from or fly into, choosing those which best match your plans and budget.
Mariscal Sucre International Airport is located 11 miles east of the capital city of Ecuador and offers state-of-the-art facilities, having been opened in 2013. It is one of the busiest airports in South America, handling almost 6 million passengers per year. It is also a hub airport for the region, offering domestic flights on to the rest of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Taxis and buses can be taken from outside the arrival hall, and many of the local hotels lay on free shuttle buses.
The second busiest airport for flights to Ecuador is Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International, located three miles north of Guayaquil, the most densely populated city in Ecuador. The airport’s newest terminal was opened in just 2006, so travellers can expect a clean and smooth running welcome. Local buses and taxis run to the nearby city center, and many of the hotels provide free shuttle buses.
Airlines which fly to Mexico directly from the US include the following:
Although the two main airports offer domestic flights around Ecuador, one of the best ways of enjoying the landscape of the country is to take a ride on one of the many intercity buses. Timetables are available online, and advance booking may be needed if you’re travelling during peak periods. The buses often travel along highly scenic routes, taking high altitude roads over mountains and through clouds. For travelling within cities, taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced.
Quito is officially the highest capital city in the world, standing 9,186 feet above sea level. The center of Quito is an exquisitely preserved historic old town, and was among the two places to first be declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. Because of its altitude, the weather here is usually quite cool and can be very changeable. Travellers interested in eco-tourism should hire a bike and head off to explore the surrounding valleys such as Valle de Tumbaco.
The Galapagos Islands are a natural wonder and a must-see for anyone visiting Ecuador. They can be reached from the mainland via a domestic flight or a specially booked boat trip. Almost half of the species living there are unique to the islands, and so tourism is highly regulated. Trips have to be booked in advance as part of a group, and all visitors are accompanied by an official tour guide.
Manta is a major coastal city located in the Manabí Province, and is home to the largest sea port in Ecuador. Many tourists head to Manta lured by the promise of a vibrant nightlife, particularly in the area surrounding El Murciélago beach, which is lined with bars and restaurants and offers the chance to enjoy surfing, sailing, fishing and body-boarding.
US citizens don’t require a visa to visit Ecuador, just a passport valid for six months. For safety’s sake, tourists are advised to stay away from the Colombian border and to watch out for pickpockets in crowded place such as beaches. Visitors should follow the local lead and stick to bottled water.