I’m guessing that if you ask 100 people if they want to go to Ecuador at some point in their life, most will shrug and say no or maybe. If you ask them if they’d like to visit the Galapagos Islands, however, their ears will perk up and you’ll get a more positive response.
It’s not that Ecuador has a bad rap. The country just hasn’t gotten very much press. Nearly all of the efforts to get into the media have come from the private sector, not from the tourism promotion board. While the latter has been gung-ho about inviting travel agents and hosting trade shows (and once blew a ton of money on a Super Bowl ad nobody remembered), they’ve neglected the hearts and minds of the people who spend all their time online. Those people keep seeing stories and photos from the Galapagos, but have no clue about what’s on offer in the rest of the country.
As someone who has been there multiple times, this strikes me as a big wasted opportunity. Ecuador has unique food, interesting landscapes, and geography that goes from sweaty jungle to snowy mountains—all right on the equator. The women are wearing woven outfits and fedora hats not because they’re posing, but because that’s what they’d wear even if there were no tourists. Quito is a fascinating city that you could explore for days and it’s just the start. There’s a train route back in action that goes between the two major cities. And almost nobody outside of Ecuador has heard about it.
Another person who shares my love for Ecuador is Andrew Gilchrist, head of Lost World Adventures.
When I travel around Ecuador, I am always amazed at the amount of different landscapes in such a seemingly small country. You may start your day at the foot of the snow capped Cotopaxi Volcano, and later that afternoon find yourself surrounded by dense rain forest.
His company runs one of the most comprehensive tours out there, a 14-day “Jungle, Highlands, and Islands Tour” that really shows off the diversity of travel in Ecuador. Click that link for a full itinerary, but the idea is that you explore Quito, the Amazon basic jungle, the Avenue of Volcanoes that runs along the spine of the Andes, and this finishes up with a luxury class tour of the Galapagos Islands.
Since Lost World Adventures is used to setting up custom itineraries for discerning clients, they can tweak the plans to fit different groups and make sure everyone is happy. Or you can go off script and work with them to plan the perfect stops for your special occasion or multi-generational trip of a lifetime.
You can visit our Ecuador Luxury Travel section for past stories on various parts of the country. Yes, we’ve written plenty about the Galapagos, but there’s also a lot to see on the mainland of South America in Ecuador.