Now one of the few places left on earth where you can watch wild animals at close range, for many a visit to the Galapagos is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. This remote chain of volcanic islands is home to a startling array of wildlife, much of which is endemic to the archipelago. The animals’ indifference to human presence is legendary — seemingly regarding visitors as nothing other than mildly irritating paparazzi.
A chance to experience the spirit of the Amazon, however fleetingly, is an opportunity not to be missed. There is something very special about being in the depths of the rainforest: it affords a time to reconnect with the natural world in a way that simply isn’t possible in the ‘tamed’ environments that we more commonly have access to.
The longest continental mountain range in the world (and also one of the highest), the Andes sweep down the spine of Ecuador setting the stage for serious adventure such as mountaineering and adrenalin-charged mountain biking, as well as rather more pastoral pursuits like hiking or a visit to a rose plantation.