Ecuador packs an astonishing array of landscapes, flora, fauna and human cultures into an area the size of Britain. This short holiday exposes this agreeable little country’s diversity, from snow-smothered Andean volcanic peaks to luscious Amazon rainforests. You’ll discover where to spot an abundance of wildlife, interact with indigenous communities and discover a traditional Andean way of life.
Few experiences have as much awe-inducing power as being surrounded by the untamed beauty of the Amazon rainforest. Ecuador’s share of the Amazon basin is the most accessible — you can get there easily by road. But before plunging down from historic Quito’s lofty Andean setting, you’ll spend a night surrounded by succulent cloudforest at Papallacta’s thermal spa.
The winding road starts its lonely descent, delivering you to your jungle Sacha Lodge in an ecological reserve on the banks of the Napo river, an Amazon tributary. Wildlife-spotting opportunities from a variety of viewpoints abound, local residents include toucans to alligators, spider monkeys to macaws. It’s a trip by river and air back to the Andean highlands where you head north to a colonial hacienda, Piman, set in wild prairies and cool forests, the home of endangered spectacled bears. From there, a train ride or visit to a traditional market enriches your experience.