From the humble bird feeder in our yard to the exhilaration of watching a herd of massive elephants from the back of our safari jeep, few feelings compare to those of having a close encounter with wildlife! There is growing evidence - Scottish doctors prescribing time in nature to their patients, the emerging disciplines of wilderness and animal therapy, and more - that landscapes and their biodiversity are good for our wellbeing. The growth of the safari tour, birding tours and nature-oriented travel back this idea up by their growth year by year, but how can we get the most out of the precious time we spend on our trip in these areas of natural splendor? Let’s dig into how we can learn about the natural environment, especially the wildlife, of the country you’ll be visiting on your trip.
This past Sunday, Ecuador became the first foreign country to buy ad-time during the Super Bowl. You may not have seen it. The commercial was shown on a regional basis limited to major cities, and even then, it cost the government of Ecuador a reported $3.8 million. For a country that spent a total of $5 million on media in 2013 however, this commercial represents the core of Ecuador's goal: Get Americans to travel to Ecuador.
Every country has must-see destinations or essential experiences. These five unforgettable experiences deserve to be listed right beside those, the only difference is that you'll probably be the only one of your friends who have gone there.
The Galapagos Safari Camp, located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, is the first of its kind in many ways. The construction of the camp was inspired by the well-known African safari model, so its rooms are set under tents designed to blend into the environment. Both the camp’s central lodge and nine surrounding tents are open-air and offer views of the western islands of this volcanic archipelago.
Mainland Ecuador can often be quickly bypassed or rushed through in lieu of a Galapagos cruise. However, the mainland offers a diverse mix of sites and eco tours including the colonial capital of Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, tropical rainforests, many national parks, and the colorful culture of Otavalo, among many other attractions. Below are a few popular destinations and Ecuador eco tours.
Quito is the second-highest capital in the world. The city is spread across an Andean valley and has an abundance of unique colonial buildings. Much of the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of centro histórico, or old town, has been restored, though it still reflects the indigenous culture and history of the region. A walk through old town will take you past picturesque plazas and cathedrals, with snow covered peaks in the background. A 20 minute from Quito’s old town, you’ll find Quito’s new town, full of trendy cafes, international restaurants, unique bars, and boutique hotels. Step just outside the city and you’ll find primary Andean forest. Hacienda Rumiloma is an excellent addition to any Ecuador travel itinerary. The hotel gives travelers a view of Quito not many get to see. The hacienda is located on about one hundred acres of primary Andean forest next to the Volcano Pichincha. The land behind the lodge has several trails, a small river, many grazing llamas, and native birds. Just minutes away from the capitol, Hacienda Rumiloma is an incredible accommodation option in Quito.