πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¨ Inspiring Ecuador Honest Review: Galapagos & Ecuador Tours

Inspiring Ecuador review blog post cover graphic.  Text overlaying an image of a man crouched photographing a giant Galapagos tortoise walking past.

Inspiring Ecuador is a newer Ecuadorian tour operator founded in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021. They specialize in providing all-inclusive tours of mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos islands.

We explored Galapagos and mainland Ecuador for 3 weeks in April 2023. Of those, 12 days were spent with Inspiring Ecuador and the remainder as individual travelers.

In exchange for support on our trip, we agreed to provide an honest review of our experience which we can compare to our time being self-guided.

In this guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of traveling with Inspiring Ecuador, attempt to answer all FAQs regarding the company and provide a thorough, honest description of our personal experience.

πŸ”Ž What is Inspiring Ecuador?

Sophie rappels up a waterfall with the help of our Inspiring Ecuador guide while on the Best of Ecuador tour.
Climbing a waterfall with the help of our tour guide.

Inspiring Ecuador is an Ecuadorian tour operator created in 2021. At the time of inception, their goal was to provide a safe way for residents to travel and explore their beautiful home country.

As travel restrictions eased, Inspiring Ecuador has continued to expand both its customer base and available destination packages.

While still relatively new, the company is rapidly growing.

⛡️ DISCOVER MORE:
HOW TO TRAVEL TO GALAPAGOS IN 10 EASY STEPS

πŸ‘πŸ½ Is Inspiring Ecuador Legit?

Meeting our guide for the Inspiring Ecuador Galapagos Tour, who is holding a sign with my last name on it.
Beginning the Galapagos adventure with a personal pick-up from a member of the Inspiring Ecuador team.

Inspiring Ecuador is an honest and ethical company that provides authentic Ecuadorian experiences while carefully considering their impact on local residents and wildlife.

As a consumer, you can rest assured that Inspiring Ecuador is trustworthy and reputable. This goes for the company as a whole as well as the individual tour guides they employ.

Shoutout to our mainland guide (Jorge), who we got to know so well and so personally that we plan on having him as our guest back home in Oregon next year!

πŸ“š Pros and Cons of Inspiring Ecuador Tours

A tour guide for Inspiring Ecuador teaches her group about the endangered Galapagos tortoise they are seeing on a visit to El Chato Ranch.
Our Galapagos guide talks to the group on a tortoise sanctuary tour at El Chato.

We spent 3 weeks in total exploring Ecuador, 12 days of which as part of an Inspiring Ecuador group tour and the remainder self-guided.

In all honesty, there were times when we wished we had the autonomy of being on our own and other times when we were incredibly grateful for the work and planning provided by Inspiring Ecuador.

We go into greater detail regarding our personal experience further down in this post.

Below is a quick look at the pros and cons of booking a group tour with Inspiring Ecuador.


Pros of Touring with Inspiring Ecuador

  • All planning, itineraries, permits, tickets, etc are pre-arranged.
  • A Spanish-speaking guide helps to provide linguistic support throughout.
  • An educated naturalist guide provides insight into what you are seeing everywhere you visit.
  • High-end accommodation is provided.
  • Willingness to curate a personal experience, ie accommodate mobility issues, travel dates, etc.
  • Truly reasonable pricing.
  • Built-in group to share experiences with.

Cons of Touring with Inspiring Ecuador

  • Group travel is as fun as the group you end up with… no guarantees!
  • More expensive than self-guided trips for experienced travelers.
  • Fixed, rigid itinerary.
  • Group travel is slow travel.

🏝️ FIND MORE INSPIRATION:
BEST ISLANDS IN GALAPAGOS TO TRAVEL TO

πŸ’Έ Is An Inspiring Ecuador Tour Worth It?

Sophie swimming in the pool at Hotel Silberstein on Santa Cruz during our Galapagos tour.

Inspiring Ecuador provides an exceptional price-to-experience value for those who prefer group and/or pre-arranged travel.

If you have decided you want to visit Galapagos and Ecuador via a tour and are simply wondering if Inspiring Ecuador is a worthy provider, the answer is absolutely yes.

Inspiring Ecuador will expertly and reliably take care of all the details so you can just focus on enjoying the trip of a lifetime.

With that said, backpackers and experienced travelers who speak Spanish will find that a self-guided trip will be cheaper and provide more autonomy along the way.

πŸ“Έ Who Should Tour with Inspiring Ecuador?

Underwater photo of We Dream of Travel's Sophie Clapton snorkeling with a group of Eagle Rays on Isabela Island in Galapagos.

If you have backpacked extensively AND speak at least conversational Spanish, you do not need to book a group tour.

If the description above does not apply to you, then you should strongly consider booking a tour with Inspiring Ecuador, especially if you plan to visit Galapagos.

You should book a group tour with Inspiring Ecuador if:

  • You are on a short vacation and want everything pre-arranged.
  • You plan on visiting the Galapagos Islands.
  • You do not speak at least conversational Spanish.
  • You enjoy group travel.
  • You find an itinerary you love the look of.
  • You are seeking an affordable, high-value option.
  • You have any special needs, i.e. mobility issues.

You should NOT book a group tour with Inspiring Ecuador if:

  • You do not enjoy group travel.
  • You have experience and are comfortable traveling Latin America.
  • You cannot find a tour itinerary that truly interests you.

🐒 DISCOVER MORE:
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πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ Inspiring Ecuador Tour: Our Personal Experience & Review

In April 2023, my 70-year-old mother joined Sophie and me on a trip to South America to spend three weeks exploring the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador.

During our time, we participated in both the “Best of the Galapagos” 5-day tour and the “Best of Ecuador” 7-day tour.

We also spent about 10 days in Galapagos and Quito doing self-guided exploration.

This section will detail our personal experience traveling with Inspiring Ecuador for the first time.

As already stated, this is an honest and genuine review!

While we were not charged for our seats on the tour, they were only accepted on the condition that no terms be set that would inhibit our ability to freely express our opinions.


πŸ“² Booking Process

Most travelers will arrange their entire trip to Ecuador around whichever tour they decide to book. We were not the norm as we enjoy solo travel and wanted to make sure we allowed plenty of extra days to experience the country on our own.

Despite our myriad of special requests, Inspiring Ecuador was able and willing to accommodate them all. For example, we flew to Galapagos 5 days before we were scheduled to in order to have some time to ourselves there and they were willing to move our flight dates!

This was not unique to us, either. Several other members of the group we would eventually join also had unique circumstances, such as late arrivals and major mobility issues, and had received a modified itinerary to meet their specific needs.

One of the other positive elements of booking with Inspiring Ecuador is the ability to easilyΒ book online via TourRadarΒ or directly onΒ their website. A few of their mainland Ecuador trips are also available to book on Viator.

Based on our personal experience as well as the feedback we got from other members of our tour group, Inspiring Ecuador gets a 10/10 for booking!


πŸ—Ί The Itinerary

Our Inspiring Ecuador tour group watches our guide making chocolate by hand over an open flame.
Day 4: The group making chocolate in the jungle after handpicking the cocoa beans.

We elected the 12-day Best of Ecuador Tour as we were interested in seeing what both the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador had to offer.

Inspiring Ecuador arranged all of the necessary domestic flights, hotels, permits, and paperwork which made the journey back and forth to the Galapagos incredibly easy.

This local, expert guidance that allowed such “hands-off” travel is where we found the most value in having Inspiring Ecuador handle our holiday.


Galapagos Itinerary Review

A couple are pulled out to see on a kayaking trip on Isabela Island during a tour with Inspiring Ecuador.

We had about 2 weeks in the Galapagos Islands, but only 4.5 of those days were with the Inspiring Ecuador tour.

While the rest of our group seemed delighted with how their time was spent, we were often frustrated with the Galapagos itinerary.

As these islands are so once-in-a-lifetime for most people (ourselves included), we would have much preferred to have more flexibility to adapt to conditions, especially weather.

For example, despite knowing the weather atop the volcano, we still spent most of an entire day on a hike to the top of Volcan Sierra Negra on Isabela island. After trudging through a torrential downpour, we arrived at the viewpoint where we could see nothing, only to turn around and walk back.

A miserable, rainy evening at Volcan Sierra Negra on Isabela Island (Galapagos).
A miserable, rainy evening at Volcan Negra on Isabela Island (Galapagos).

We also spent most of one morning kayaking to a spot where penguins often are. This was one of the things we were most excited for, until we found out that they had not been seen there in over 4 months!

Rather than kayaking to a rock where nothing had been seen in ages, we would have preferred to use this time snorkeling. Better yet, we could/should have altered the itinerary to hike Sierra Negra in the morning as the weather was clear, rather than sticking to the kayaking expedition with the knowledge our guide had.

While Inspiring Ecuador cannot control the weather nor conditions, finding a way to adapt on the go is something we would advise them and/or the local guides to work on.

That said, we also must mention that ALL tour operators, Inspiring Ecuador included, have limited options regarding the group tour guides they can hire for Galapagos. Only an official Galapagos National Park naturalist guide is allowed to do group tours and there are not many freelancers available.

We did not love the guide we received but, while not directly stated, we got the impression she was unfortunately among the best available.


Mainland Ecuador Itinerary

A man and woman stand before a large waterfall in the jungles of Ecuador.

Unsurprisingly, the 7-days we spent exploring mainland Ecuador were the days that Inspiring Ecuador really shined. It was clear that they have more control (and maybe experience?) with mainland tours.

The itinerary was PERFECT, allowing us to see nearly all of the major highlights of Ecuador without feeling like we spent the entire time on a bus.

There was a perfectly balanced mix of nature, culture, adventure, and comfort, while still feeling like an authentic Ecuadorian experience.

We also received one of the company’s staff guides, Jorge, who was easily the best group guide we have ever had on any trip in our lifetime. His passion for Ecuador and endless energy were contagious and by the end, he felt like a genuine friend.

The entirety of the itinerary, which included everything from a primitive jungle stay to a 5-star Hot Spring Hotel, was designed perfectly.

There was always something to do but also just the right amount of time to rest, and unlike the Galapagos, it felt like not a minute was wasted.


πŸ’¬ Our Review In Summation

A Galapagos tortoise walking along the grass at El Chato Ranch with a man crouched taking a photo in the foreground.

The three of us were all very happy with the services Inspiring Ecuador provided, especially with our mainland guide (Jorge).

We would absolutely recommend them for anyone traveling mainland Ecuador and for most people seeking group tours to Galapagos.

We would also book another mainland Ecuador tour if we ever returned to the country and found a tour that included things we had missed on our first visit.

It should be noted that we discussed the experience on Galapagos with everyone in our tour group individually and each was genuinely happy with the itinerary. Our perceived lack of value was a personal thing and due in large part to our comfort in traveling Latin America on our own.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Top Inspiring Ecuador Tours

At no cost to you, we receive a small amount for any bookings made using the links below.

Below are some of the best tours that Inspiring Ecuador offers in Ecuador and the Galapagos.

One of the cutest Galapagos islands animals, the Galapagos fur seal posed on lava rock looking towards the camera with blue water in the background.

Inspiring Ecuador Tours: Galapagos

5 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Budget

This land-based tour will take you to Santa Cruz and Isabela islands, exploring some of the best the Galapagos has to offer, including giant tortoises in the Highlands, snorkeling Los Tuneles, and a day trip to Santa Fe.

Booking options: TourRadar | Direct


8 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Classic

Experience the three inhabited islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela on this 8-day adventure, including some of the best snorkeling in the Galapagos at Kicker Rock and Los Tuneles.

Booking options: TourRadar | Direct


12-Day Galapagos Expedition

In addition to exploring Santa Cruz, Isabela, and San Cristobal, you’ll also take a day trip to Santa Fe. This 12-day tour provides a great balance between active adventures and free time to explore the islands.

Booking options: TourRadar | Direct


Inspiring Ecuador Tours: Mainland Ecuador

Hiking in the Andes – The Avenue of Volcanoes

With this 6-day hiking tour, you will experience stunning landscapes, hidden communities, indigenous cultures, and spectacular volcanoes, including the glaciers of Chimborazo, waterfalls in BaΓ±os, and an authentic local market.

Booking options: Viator | Direct


6 Day Ecuador Active Adventure

For adventurous explorers, see the best of Ecuador with this 6-day active tour from Quito to Cotopaxi, the Amazon, BaΓ±os, and Otavalo.

Booking options: Direct

πŸ“š More Galapagos Islands Travel Guides

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

Hopefully, this guide has answered all of your questions, now it’s time for the rest of your planning!

These guides will help you through the process step-by-step, providing insight on everything from finding flights to top activities and so much more.

Planning Guides

Local Guides

Things to Do Guides

πŸ€” Final Thoughts on Inspiring Ecuador Tours

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

We truly hope you have found this personal review on touring with Inspiring Ecuador useful in whatever capacity you were seeking information.

This is a company we were excited to experience and a destination that is truly one of a kind. I hope your experience with them is as amazing as ours was.

Now we’d like to hear from YOU!

Do you have any unanswered questions? Concerns? Compliments? Have you just returned from a tour with Inspiring Ecuador and want to share your experience?!

Help us help others by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!

Enjoyed this Inspiring Ecuador review? Pin it! πŸ™‚

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Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's β€œChief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

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