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  • Cotopaxi: Nature’s Prodigious Son

    Mountain Cotopaxi (5897 m) rises spectacularly along the Eastern cordillera of the Andes mountains chain. Its beautiful conical shape and perpetual snow make it one of the most coveted visitor sites in Ecuador, and it makes sense that it would be. Only an hour and a half drive from the capital, Quito, the slopes of this prodigy of nature couldn’t be more accessible and offer unparalleled adventure on one of the highest points on our planet. Click here for a chance to win an 8-day adventure for two in Ecuador!

  • Galapagos: Land or Cruise?

    One of the big questions as of late for those visiting Galapagos is: should I do it land-based or cruise-based? There are many options for either/or and although cruise tours have traditionally had the upper edge, land-based tourism, also known as ‘island hopping’, has become an increasingly popular and attractive opportunity to discover the islands.

    In the past, the main reason one would even think of land-based tours to explore the Galápagos was the price. Today, hotels can also offer expensive overnights, while some cruises are actually on the inexpensive side. All of which – cheap hotels, cheap cruises, expensive cruises, expensive hotels – have pros and cons to consider.

  • 3 Days in Puerto Ayora

    Puerto Ayora is one of the Galápagos Islands’ few ports, and it’s the town where the bulk of tour operation and organization begins and concentrates. The town is pretty, especially along the port and its Academy Bay, and there is lots to do. Cruise tours have traditionally made it a mere morning stop along the way, but in recent years, those wishing to economize as much as possible, decide to make it to Puerto Ayora and play it from there.

  • A week in Guayaquil?

    I say no problem! Since the early 1980s, and maybe even before, it was common knowledge that one could only really last a day or two in Guayaquil. Just as people were heading to tiny Ecuador ‘for tourism’, thanks to the hype of the Galápagos Islands, Guayaquil could barely reap the benefits. All that changed recently when the Malecón, the city’s riverside park was revamped, but still, after you’d seen that… then what? Could you last more than two days? What would I do if I were six days in Guayaquil?

  • Photo: Dan Nevill

    Baños: Gateway to the Amazon

    Some twenty years ago, Baños hit Ecuador’s tourism scene. It was a nothing little town that suddenly became the Mecca for European – mainly German – renegades of the modern life. They decided Baños was a perfect place to settle, far from the ills of developed society, in a picture-perfect setting amidst jungles and waterfalls and a dramatic active volcano.

  • Galápagos: Recommended Reading

    The Galápagos Islands are a destination that will inevitably stay in your mind long after you visit them, and conversely, can live with you long before you’ve actually booked a visit, thanks to the abundant literature and many nature shows that highlight their wonders. They are certainly the stuff of fantasy. A coveted destination, no doubt, those who become obsessed with this one-and-only archipelago, always want to go deeper, know more about it, dreaming of returning if they’ve been or one day, finally, stand on its shores, admire its wildlife and swim in its seas, if they haven’t.

  • Top 5 Haciendas in the Andes

    This is just my humble intent of trying to single out the best mountain haciendas in the country, which is not an easy task. There are just too many high-quality accommodations in rural Ecuador to name such a few. Haciendas, colonial estates that would also flourish during the early Republican era in Ecuador, were basically enormous farms owned by wealthy families. As the industrial revolution helped create modern cities and left agricultural livelihoods behind, many of these haciendas lost their purpose; today, some have become first-rate tourism ventures instead, beautiful places to stay with excellent accommodations, reflecting a deep history and offering dreamy Andean landscapes to savor.

  • Tigua Art: Artist Julio Toaquiza

    You’ll find Tigua Art everywhere in Ecuador. It’s a staple of artisanal markets, craft stores and souvenir shops. But, what is Tigua? The word could come to mean a style of quintessentially Ecuadorian naïve painting, at least that is what most people equate it to today: strikingly colorful landscapes with hills and mountains, rural farmland, patchwork valleys, straw huts, maize fields, an occasional snow-peak (namely Cotopaxi) and Andean regulars such as the Condor, the Llama, the Masked Dancer, the Potato Picker, the sheep, the poncho-clad farmers …

  • A Hidden Treasure: Old Cathedral in Cuenca

    Parque Calderón, Cuenca’s main square, is dominated by the view of spectacular Catedral de la Inmaculada, also known as Catedral Nueva (meaning New Cathedral), the enormous monument that impressed Pope John Paul II to the point of déjà vu. “I feel like I’m in Rome,” he apparently told a crowd of thousands when standing in front of it for the first (and only) time in his life. This emblematic brick-laid ‘beast’ was meant to replace the smaller, much less impressive original temple, today commonly known as the Old Cathedral (Catedral Vieja), found across the park on Calle Benigno Malo.

  • In and Around Puerto Villamil, Galápagos

    Located in the largest island of the Galapagos, Isabela, this small, rustic, remote town has only really been home to real-life humans like you and me for about 80 years. While humanity was busy becoming civilized, the island of Isabela was busy being completely ignored. And even while humans colonized other corners of the Galapagos archipelago, Puerto Villamil was only a handful of houses and a dreadful penal colony some 50 years ago.

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