If you had two weeks and two weeks only, where would you go in Ecuador?
Remember I said I wouldn’t be planning another big adventure this year after Borneo? It’s possible that I lied.
At the end of October, a truly wonderful friend of mine left London for the smouldering streets of Argentina, to meet up with her boyfriend who also happens to be a good friend of mine, and a childhood friend of my boyfriend Jack’s. They’re now off on a fairytale of a South American adventure together for an indefinite period of time. Literally, riding off into the sunset and seeing where the wind takes them… ahhhh. I digress. So, the details remain to be confirmed but we have just made plans to go out and meet them in Ecuador for two weeks in April!
Ecuador seems to be a real gem of a country; nestled between Peru and Colombia on South America’s North Western coast, it is home to the Galapagos Islands, the Andes, the Amazon Jungle, the colonial mountain cities of Quito and Cuenca (both UNESCO World Heritage sites), and much much more…
In light of this, I thought I would share a (very) random selection of places in Ecuador that have inspired me thus far, and reach out to all you lovely people out there for advice on where, in my short amount of time in April, I should go?
Swing at the End of the World: Baños
Wow! This looks amazing if not mildly scary. Baños is a town in the Ecuadorian Andes, famous for its thermal baths and for being the activity capital of Ecuador, where you can go canyoning and zip wiring through the mountains, amongst other incredibly exciting looking things.
Cuyabeño Nature Reserve
Because I am Jane of the Jungle, I couldn’t go to Ecuador without visiting the Amazon. The Cuyabeño Wildlife Reserve, close to the Peruvian and Colombian border, is a 600,000 square hectare area of primary Amazon rainforest. It is an enchanting maze of lagoons and rivers that is home to some of the world’s greatest biodiversity, including pink freshwater dolphins, with whom you can swim, taking care of course to respect them, as they are officially a WWF vulnerable species. What I imagine will be markedly different to Borneo, is the opportunity in Cuyabeño to meet and learn from the indigenous tribes living in the Reserve (Siona, Quichua, Secoya and Cofan). You are welcomed into their homes to learn about their culture, spirituality and of course, shamanic traditions. Importantly though, I have read that eco-tourism and the wealth being brought into the Reserve by adventure travel enthusiasts is not being passed on to the people who can call this land their own. So, it’s very important to remember to give donations to the people who welcome you.
Donde esta la fiesta? Not far from Guayaquil, Montañita is a hedonistic, hippie meets surfer, party town with some of the best beach (and ceviche) Ecuador has to offer. After getting in touch with the universe in the jungle, we want to find the best fiesta in Ecuador, but whilst Montanita is just that, I have my reservations. It has superclubs and Full Moon parties, and if Thailand’s Full Moon Party is anything to go by, I am not a fan. Bad dance music, and gap yahs everywhere either being sick on the beach or hobbling home in tears sporting the most momentous of party injuries, and Koh Pangan looked like what I imagine you would get if you crossed fresher’s week with Armageddon come 5am. We are looking for a slice of hedonism, but a blissed out one with a good soundtrack….
Ecuador’s capital city, and where we will no doubt fly into, Quito boasts panoramic scenery, famously friendly people, great food, and stunning architecture.
This is where I’m up to so far, I’m really keen to hear about bloggers’ experiences of Ecuador so please get in touch! We’re looking for an Amazonian experience that allows us to go deep into the jungle, and to appreciate the wildlife and culture whilst being ecofriendly and respectful, for an authentic Ecuadorean party town, and for scenery that will blow our minds.
Thanks for reading,