If you’re looking for a getaway to somewhere different, culturally rich, full of historical sights, and overflowing with natural beauty, head to Ecuador. There are tons of outdoor excursions available in the coastal country, and it’s also home to the Andes Mountains and Galapagos Islands. While most people may not think of Ecuador as their first choice for a week’s vacation, most people that come back from a trip there are not only pleasantly surprised but inevitably return.
To travel in style, here’s your blueprint to planning a luxurious trip to Ecuador.
Beautiful Places to Stay
Accommodation in Ecuador runs the gamut from quaint and cozy to spacious and opulent. One of the finest hotels in the area is the four star Casa Gangotena Hotel Boutique. It’s housed in a grand centuries old building and inside is the decor is stately and elegant. There’s a superb restaurant on-site, and the rooms have just about every amenity that one could want. Impeccable service and the gorgeous grounds the hotel sits on keep visitors coming back. The rate at Casa Gangotena Hotel Boutique starts at $350 per night.
Overlooking the Rio Babhayo and just a short walk away from the Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo modern art museum is Wyndham Guayaquil. The five star resort boasts a modern exterior and chic guest suites with flat screen televisions, iPod docks, and minibars. Upgraded rooms offer separate living areas, spa tubs, and kitchenettes. The trendy restaurant on-site serves a complimentary breakfast buffet, and in the evenings guests relax at the hotel’s bar and lounge. Other amenities at Wyndham Guayaquil include steam room, sauna, fully equipped gym, and heated outdoor pool. The nightly rate starts at $119.
Another fabulous hotel in Quito, Ecuador is Le Parc Hotel. The upscale and glam decor perfectly suits the architecture of the building, and the property is located close to several popular attractions. The rooms have complimentary Wifi, flat screen televisions, elegant seating areas, and minibars. Le Parc Hotel also has its own restaurant, rooftop bar with fantastic views of the city, and a full service spa that offers beauty treatments and massages. The rate per night at this five star hotel starts at $177.
Interesting Things to Do
The geological and physical features of the country make Ecuador an outdoor and nature lover’s paradise. Cotopaxi National Park spans several provinces and is a huge area of forest. Limpiopungo Lake provides a wealth of activities, and if you’re daring you can explore Cotopaxi, a snow capped volcano that’s still active. There are many species of wildlife that visitors to the park frequently spot, including majestic condors and hawks. The natural formations in Cotopaxi National Park reveal the area’s natural history, and you can see areas where past eruptions have occurred from now-extinct volcanoes along the walking trails. El Boliche National Recreation Area, a popular stop, is connected to the park.
The Galapagos Islands is one of the most intriguing locations on the planet, and if you visit Ecuador you should definitely consider a trek over. Floreana Island is apart of the group and its highest point is the peak of Cerro Pajas, a volcano that helped form the island. It has a long history that’s connected to many countries and the whaling industry, and today Floreana Island is a tranquil retreat filled with interesting sights and beautiful plants and animals. If you like snorkeling and diving, this island is the perfect place to go, and there’s also an underwater volcanic cone and abundant coral that attract colorful fish and marine life. The green sea turtles and pink flamingos that come to the island seasonally are a pleasant sight that add to the area’s beauty and wonder.
For a closer look at the history of Ecuador, head to the gorgeous Old Cathedral of Cuenca. It’s a museum and a church that has incredible architecture. On site is the famed Museum for Religious Art, where historic paintings and works of art spanning different time periods are put on display. The art on the ceilings and walls of the Old Cathedral of Cuenca itself are amazing to look at and quite unforgettable.
Where to Dine
While many who have never been there have a difficult time defining just want Ecuadorian cuisine is, after you taste it you’ll crave it long after your visit is over. Ecuador has a number of fine dining restaurants, including Zazu. The upscale, contemporary establishment has a relaxed vibe and the service is also wonderful. Zazu’s creative menu includes dishes such as ceviche, sea bass and prawns, glazed yellowfin tuna, and shrimp-plantain pot au feu. If you want to try something different, love seafood, and enjoy artfully plated meals, this restaurant is a great option.
Tucked away in a lavish estate is another excellent restaurant in Ecuador called Carmine Gastronomia y Arte. The interior of this restaurant is absolutely stunning, but it’s not just an eatery. Carmine Gastronomia y Arte serves as a meeting and event space, and it also often hosts exclusive cocktail parties. The decor is stunning, and the food served there matches the ambiance. Not only is the menu incredibly fresh, it’s well prepared and full of authentic flavors. The restaurant’s wine list is well curated and impressive, and you’ll want to save room for their delectable desserts.
If you start craving flavorful cuisine and want to head to a trendy spot during your stay in Ecuador, make a reservation at URKO Cocina Local. It’s a cool setting that’s not at all pretentious, and you’ll be able to enjoy some familiar favorites as well as creative specialties. The modern restaurant’s decor is upscale, chic, and sophisticated, but the menu is what truly shines. Putting modern twists on classic Ecuadorian dishes is this restaurant’s specialty, and the ingredients are fresh and delightful in every way.