Galapagos & Ecuador

Map of Galapagos & Ecuador

Destination Overview

Divided into four main and very distinct geographic regions, the republic of Ecuador has the climates of every corner of the world within its tight borders. La Costa, La Sierra, La Amazonía, and Las islas Galápagos encapsulate some of Earth’s most contrasting biomes within remarkable proximity. As an official megadiverse country, Ecuador has more biodiversity per square kilometer than any other. Its hospitable people, colorful cultures, and ancient traditions reflect this diversity in a destination that can’t be missed.

Due to the shape of the earth, Ecuador is the closest country to space and contains a peak farther from the earth’s core than Mt. Everest. It has over 1,400 miles of coastline, the world’s longest mountain range, and over 20,000 square miles of rainforest. 500 miles offshore are the Galapagos Islands, which after being isolated for so long, facilitated the growth of endemic species that aren’t shy around humans.

Perhaps because of the regions’ incredible biodiversity, Ecuadorians place a high emphasis on their natural environment. Ecuador was the first country to officially recognize the rights of nature. Rather than treating nature as property, Ecuador recognizes that nature has constitutional rights and has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”

Whether it’s from harvesting oil and deforestation in the Amazon, cultural impoverishment in the highlands, or increased development in the Galapagos islands, the indigenous people, wildlife, and environment of Ecuador is under constant threat of extinction. Each summer, GoBeyond students get to experience the four climates of Ecuador and help preserve them for future generations.

“Tortuga Bay beach in the Galapagos was a white sand paradise. The sand was soft and smooth, it was practically perfect. It’s laid out like a big rounded bay with a small forest at one end that you can walk through to visit a marine iguana lava rock beach, and then it winds into a cactus land beach and then into a protected estuary where we swam safely (away from the rip currents). The ocean waves were perfect surfing material and Devin wished he could have surfed them.”
-Michelle R. - San Francisco, CA