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Ecuador

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Gil Ramirez Davalos, Cuenca, Ecuador
Ecuador is a local foodie paradise. And no more so than in Cuenca. A variety of lush produce grows all year round in small farms surrounding this Highland Colonial city. The volcanic soil of the Andean Mountains nourishes a rich array of fruits...
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Delicia, Ecuador
About 80 miles from Quito, this eco lodge in the sky is owned by 12 campesino families, who are regenerating 1800 acres of now-protected forest. Santa Lucia Cloud Forest Reserve offers lodge accommodations as well as beautiful wood-and-glass...
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The annual trek from Quito to Otavalo takes two full days. Halfway through the second day, you are rewarded with a view of this remote lake high in the mountains (the photo does not do its scale justice). The hike commemorates the journey that...
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Banos, Ecuador
For those with a love of extreme adventure, head to Baños in central Ecuador. Here you can ride horses up the side of a volcano, hike in a cloud forest, and plummet down thundering waterfalls. I never quite understood the thrill of adventure...
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Saquisilí, Ecuador
Everyone who visits Ecuador knows about Otavalo market: the weavings, the sweaters, the friendly vendors. Well, Saquisili has all those and more. There's street food (grilled chicken feet anyone?), a shoe section, a live animal market and more...
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Tungurahua, Ecuador
The little city of Banos is situated on the side of volcano Tungurahua and has gorgeous waterfalls like this one, the Pailon del Diablo or Devil's Cauldron. To get up this high the trail first drops about 1000 feet into the valley and then climbs...
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Reina Victoria, Quito 170150, Ecuador
La Boca del Lobo is a funky little restaurant in the Mariscal neighborhood of Quito. The decor, as you can see, is a bit surreal with bright colors, abstract art and a tree growing up through the floor. The food is tapas style with a mix of...
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Quito, Ecuador
For spectacular views of sprawling Quito, take a ride in the TelefériQo. This aerial lift, one of the highest in the world, takes you up the east side of Pichincha volcano, but don't worry, its active caldera is on the western side of the...
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Azuay, Ecuador
My partner and I took a day to hike around Cajas National Park just outside of Cuenca, Ecuador. It was phenomenal! We hired a guide from Expediciones Apullacta and he was super knowledgeable about the history and geography of the place. It's such...
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Calacalí, Ecuador
Book a suite at Mashpi Lodge and you can spot howler monkeys, sloths, butterflies, and hundreds of bird species from your Philippe Starck bathtub-with-a-view. Opened in April 2012 on the 3,000-acre Mashpi Biodiversity Reserve, the lodge has...
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Think cloud forest, and images of a mysterious fairy tale with a princess locked in a beautiful castle might spring to mind. In reality, this environmental phenomenon is exactly what it says: a forest of clouds which occur in the high-altitude...
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The Quilotoa Loop is a 124 mile road that drops and rises several thousand feet in elevation and climbers use it to acclimatize for Cotopaxi. The Quilotoa Crater Lake is in the middle of the Loop, about 1000ft down in the middle of a crater ringed...
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Fernandina Island, Ecuador
Brilliant sunsets and sunrises chased us around the Galapagos, with one of the best falling upon us on the gorgeous island of Fernandina. A great sunset on its own is one thing, but when combined with a truly stunning landscape, it becomes...
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Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador
The Galapagos were born of volcanoes, and activity still rumbles beneath the earth and under the ocean's waves. Nowhere is this more obvious than on Santa Cruz Island, where the beach is cast in burnt lava rock, and a Mt. Doom–esque peak lords...
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Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Expeditions are hard work (sometimes), and require attention, dedication, and focus. After a long day exploring the islands, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel on Santa Cruz is the perfect place to unwind. I took a cocktail to the pool, dipped my toes in the...
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Ecuador
Eco-tourism has been the driver of the Galapagos economy since the 1970s, and it's one of the main reasons that certain species of animals have rebounded from record-low numbers in the 1950s and '60s. Every visitor to the islands contributes to...
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Magical is the only way to describe Hacienda El Porvenir and its location high in Cotopaxi National Park. We had an amazing 3-hour ride on the Hacienda's healthy, beautiful horses that are set free in the evenings to roam and graze on the endless...
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Banos, Ecuador
What a thrill to jump off a 320-foot bridge with the soaring Andes all around and the booming Pastaza River below! If you fancy this adreneline-fueled ride, then head to Baños in central Ecuador. San Francisco bridge and Rio Blanco are two ideal...
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Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
Across the bay from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, Finch Bay is one of the few hotels in the Galapagos Islands located near a beach. While the hotel prides itself on its ecofriendly touches—such as its own water treatment plant, solar panels,...
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Finca Palo Santo, Barrio Salasaca, Parroquia Santa Rosa, EC200350, Ecuador
The two owners of Galapagos Safari Camp dreamed up the idea for this luxury tent camp while sitting in a tree and admiring the views on the 135-acre farm where the lodge now sits. Opened in 2007 in the highlands of Santa Cruz’s transition zone at...
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El cascajo, Ecuador
Set on two extinct volcanic craters 450 feet above sea level in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the extremely high-end (but still carbon neutral) Pikaia Lodge, which opened in mid-2014, is unlike anything the Galapagos has ever seen. With strict...
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Av. Conocarpus, Puerto Villamil 200250, Ecuador
Iguanas swim here in the ocean, which, separated only by a line of palm trees, nearly laps right up to the front of La Casa de Marita. The three-level building began 20 years ago as a house, literally Marita’s house. It has continued to...
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A 30 minute walk down train tracks from Otavalo will take you past farms, a small artisanal village and an ancient sundial stone monument to here, Cascada de Peguche. There are various viewpoints in front of and at the top of the 18 meter falls,...
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After an hour walk through the villages and farms above Otavalo, find repose with local farm workers beneath El Lechero, the sacred Kichwa tree that is the soul of a lover whose family would not let him be with his love; she is personified in Lago...
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The contrast of the vast striking landscape of Laguna de Cuicocha and its surrounding farm-dotted mountains, with the delicate yet vibrant flora and fauna, is proof of nature's magic. In March, when I hiked the 8.4-mile trail that circles the rim...
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Every Saturday, the main craft market square of Otavalo, Plaza de Ponchos, explodes through the streets in all directions with vendors selling everything from large wood spoons to live chickens. My favorite part are the food vendors making their...
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Lagunas de Mojanda supplies the ideal one-with-nature retreat from the craziness of Otavalo's Saturday Market. Three turquoise lakes are nestled in the Andes Highlands amongst once-active volcanos. Look closely to discover a small world of...
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Laguna Quilotoa, Ecuador
Laguna Quilotoa is an awe-inspiring volcanic crater lake surrounded by massive sheer cliffs and filled with deep blues and turquoises that shift with the sun and clouds. Most people bus or drive here in just one day but if you're like me and...
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Quito, Ecuador
Looking for a unique travel experience? Get up-close and personal with the tropical plants and exotic animals of the Amazon Rainforest as you explore it by foot, motorized canoe, and plane with native guides. But that's not all! Discover the...
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Noruega E1049 y Av. 6 de Diciembre, Quito 170505, Ecuador
What La Ronda lacks in size, it makes up in style and beauty. This street, so short you could hold your breath and run its length, bustles with bars, artisanal craft shops and ice-cream parlours. Stroll down its cobbled-stone path, restored in...
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While many of Ecuador’s volcanoes allow hikers to their craters, a few invite you into their mysterious interior too. At Quilotoa, 3 hours from Quito, you start at the summit. Enter into a small village, perching above one side of the 1.8...
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Ruta del Spondylus, Montañita 241702, Ecuador
Ecuador may traditionally lure thrill-seekers to its volcanic peaks, Amazon River, and Andean mountains, but what people don’t realize is that it's a gnarly surf destination, too. The laid-back coastal town of Montañita is not only the number-one...
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Away from the hiking, trekking and rafting, Sacha Ji provides the perfect tonic for aching limbs. Sprawling to the south of Imbabura volcano, this recently built wellness retreat oozes relaxation as soon as you stroll through its beautifully...
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Malecón Norte y 24 de Mayo, Puerto López 131950, Ecuador
Ecuador’s “Ruta del Spondylus” is named after a particular type of shellfish found here—in English, they are also referred to as thorny or spiny oysters. Perhaps a better way to remember this famous coastal road that passes by pristine beaches and...