Borders are opening, borders are closing; travel restrictions come and go; vaccinations are rolling out globally. Travel remains complicated but really rewarding! This week we are planning trips to Italy, Ireland, Colombia, St Lucia, Amsterdam, France, and Costa Rica. We monitor our clients’ trips for changing travel requirements and restrictions, saving them time and stress. From the US we have some wonderful destinations that are easy to get to in South America – this week we are exploring Ecuador.
In Ecuador, travelers find four different worlds in one magical country: the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes Mountains, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. On top of this, Ecuador has the highest biodiversity in South America per square meter, a very rich culture, and extraordinary places for extreme sports. Traveling around is easy: it’s possible to leave the Amazon in the morning, have lunch in the Andes, and see the sunset at the beach in the evening!
Getting to Ecuador is pretty easy with just one layover and the country is in Central Time Zone so jet lag is minimal! It’s an ideal destination for adventure, wellness, relaxation, connecting with friends and family, and meeting new people with amazing stories to tell. Check out this beautiful video of the country. Most travelers spend some time in Quito, and we recommend the Plaza Grande Hotel in the Historic Center. It was built as a Spanish house in the 16th Century and is a boutique, 5 star hotel today.
A large part of Ecuador is covered by the Amazon Rainforest, and it takes only a few hours to reach the jungle from the country’s capital Quito. The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and the Yasuni National Park area, in the Ecuadorian Lower Amazon, are the most famous sites in the region because of unique wildlife that tourists can observe, including river dolphins, caimans, monkeys, colorful birds, and other beautiful species. Less known, but also stunningly beautiful, Ecuador’s Upper Amazon is located closer to Quito and offers tourists a complete package of culture, nature, and adventure in a more accessible region of the jungle.
The Andes Mountains in Ecuador offer breathtaking landscapes of snow-capped volcanoes, lakes, and valleys, have beautiful UNESCO heritage sites, like the colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca, and host ancient native cultures. It is also the area where Quechua people work their land and go to weekly markets, giving visitors the opportunity to gain authentic cultural experiences. Furthermore, this region offers visitors a wide variety of adventure sports, such as mountaineering, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
The cloud forest of Ecuador forms the transition zone between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Coast. Being part of El Choco, a bio-geographical region stretching out from Panama all the way to Peru, it is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Especially bird watchers and nature lovers encounter heaven on earth in this lush green forest. A whopping 400 species of birds inhabit the area of the charming town of Mindo, together with many colorful butterflies. Therefore, this biodiverse region is among the top birding destinations in the world.
The Ecuadorian coast is visited by few tourists, despite its stunning beaches and delicious sea food. The country’s outstretched coastline offers a number of spectacular sites, among which the Machalilla National Park with its otherworldly dry forest and Isla de la Plata, an alternative to visiting the Galapagos Islands. During the summer months, majestic humpback whales pass this part of the Pacific coast. Besides many picturesque villages, also the country’s largest city Guayaquil is located only few hours’ drive from beautiful tropical beaches.
The most famous destination of Ecuador is without doubt the Galapagos. This enchanting archipelago is unique in its kind because of the wildlife that can be found no place else in the world. Among them, travelers can see marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, and different species of giant tortoises, among others. Visitors fall in love with the stunning volcanic landscapes that characterize the Galapagos Islands. On top of beautiful nature, the islands also have an interesting human history with stories of scientists, voyagers, pirates, and prisoners.
Want to talk about your travel dreams with us? Get in touch with us here!