Most visitors to Ecuador don’t even spend much time on mainland Ecuador in their rush to the Galapagos and back; but the country has SO much more to explore.
Explore the Amazon Rainforest, High Andes, Cloud Forests, Tropical Coast paired with an incredible Cultural and Historical diversity, all easily reached in this small compact country.
So while you may come to Ecuador for the Galapagos - be sure to stay for some adventures on the mainland!
The Galapagos is the Star of the Show
For the intrepid who want to go now (fall 2020 or early 2021), I couldn’t imagine a better time to be in the Galapagos. There will generally be very few few visitors due to the lack of cruising, and travelrs will have access to incredible the wildlife viewing since the animals have been left alone by tourists for six solid months!
Galapagos Safari Camp is our favorite property for families.
Located on Santa Cruz Island, with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Galapagos National Park, kids love theGiant tortoises roaming freely beneath the raised tent platforms. You'll also be amongst a variety of native birds, including Darwin's famous finches, flock in the surrounding canopy of endemic trees.
Galapagos Safari Camp is surrounded by a 55-hectare farm that is rich in birdlife, including finches, warblers, mockingbirds, Galapagos doves, egrets and owls.
Choose among several different inclusive 'safaris' already designed with daily guided excursions by boat to the surrounding islands, including one crafted specifically for families with young children.
Traditional Haciendas in Ecuador
As always and particularly right now, the visitor experiences that mainland Ecuador offer are naturally socially distanced - this isn’t a destination for museums or group touring, it is about nature, wildlife and open space - enjoyed on private customized itineraries.
Haciendas are colonial homesteads which were based in rural areas in Spanish-speaking colonies. Many were built in South America during the Spanish colonization. Haciendas owned large areas of land, and the main building was typically a manor house.
If you're looking to travel abroad and work or school remote for an extended period, there couldn’t be a more ideal place for this than Hacienda Zuleta.
The historic Hacienda building dates back to 1619 covers a whopping 150,000 square feet of space, with the most delightful areas to work from tucked throughout the charming hacienda - and rock solid wifi. When work or school is done, you have a 4,000 acre private farm and wildlife conservation area to explore by foot, bike or horseback - and you don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning! Weekends can be spent exploring other parts of Ecuador.
(Hacienda Zuleta is currently offering up to 35% discounts on stays of a week or more with additional discounts for children.)
Ecuadorian Cloud Forest
Spend a few days exploring the mystical Cloud Forest. Hike down the Copal Trail into an intricate labyrinth of canyons hidden amongst the lush folds of the forest. Hikes through the Mashpi Reserve go slow, as there is so much to learn about the ecosystem, trailside, from your naturalist guide. From palm trees that walk, glimpses of rare bird species in the forest canopy, “glass” frogs whose skin is transparent to majestic viewpoints of the swirling mist over jungle ridges.
Hikes down the ridge from Mashpi Lodge usually end at one of three gargantuan waterfalls spilling over limestone cliffs into deep turquoise pools perfect for swimming and cooling off. Usually, “what goes down must come up” and you would be dreading the uphill hike back to the lodge - but not today.
Mashpi Lodge has an incredible open air gondola system, called the “Dragonfly”, that stretches 1.2 miles from ridge to ride, descending into the canyons below via a series of supporting towers. The sensation of silently floating above and through the forest canopy can best be compared to a low-level hot air balloon flight. Hikers having descended to the waterfalls are able to climb up a set of stairs on tower 4 and board one of the gondolas for a ride back to the lodge.
If you're looking to plan a last minute getaway over Thanksgiving or the holidays, please contact us now to get started planning.