Ecuador self-drive holiday
Description of Ecuador self-drive holiday
Compact, yet wonderfully diverse in landscape, culture and activities, Ecuador is the perfect destination for a South American self-drive holiday. Follow a generally excellent road network across sunny plateaux and through valleys shaded by cloud forest, along shady cobbled lanes and the iconic Avenue of the Volcanoes, between the UNESCO-listed capital, Quito, colonial Cuenca and the lively port city of Guayaquil, and explore at your own pace.
Accommodation in locally owned hotels and rural, family-run lodges are ready and waiting for you at the end of each day, but otherwise your itinerary is your own. Pull over to snap a photo of a towering volcano or tumbling waterfall, pause to wander around a colourful indigenous market, take a dip at the renowned thermal spa town of Baños. Here, staying in a colonial-styled hacienda, you can also spend a day mountain biking, horse riding, kayaking or even white water rafting if the mood takes you.
You might take a detour along the famous Route of the Waterfalls to take a peek into the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’, or visit the ruins of Ingapirca, the only significant Inca site in Ecuador, after a memorable ride on the Devil’s Nose, a notoriously zig-zaggy stretch of railroad down a precarious rock face.
This is a tailormade tour so of course you have lots of freedom with your itinerary – you just need to discuss your interests with the operator. You can also upgrade your car if you wish, and naturally expert route notes and 24-hour support are provided.
If it’s adventures you want, you’ll find it in Ecuador, but only with a tailormade self-drive holiday can you choose your own.
PlanetWe realise that travel and tourism can benefit as well as harm the environment, the economy and the social and cultural structures of communities. The concept of sustainable tourism - the travel trade’s principles of using tourism to benefit local communities, conserve natural resources, and bolster the survival of cultural heritage – lies close to our heart. Our love and passion for Latin America encourages us to do everything in our power to protect the destinations we take you to. As members of AITO, we are committed to AITO’s Sustainable Tourism Guidelines, which means that we ensure that environmental and cultural demands are kept as low as possible.
We provide you with ‘rules of the road’ guidelines to ensure that you feel comfortable driving in Ecuador. In addition, we will inform you about any areas where driving is not permitted to ensure to minimise the negative impacts on the environment and wildlife. Furthermore, we’ve developed strong relationships with local suppliers who all share our vision and agree to uphold a commitment to the safekeeping of the environment and local communities. We will always encourage you to keep a few basic things in mind, including refilling your water bottle, disposing of rubbish in a responsible way and not leaving the lights or air-conditioning on in your hotel room when you’re not there.
When selecting accommodation, our preference goes out to hotels and lodges which have a verifiable commitment to eco-friendly practices. Moreover, we strive to use accommodation that reflect the environment they are set in and respect their local surroundings and history. In Quito for example you stay at Casona de la Ronda, a small converted colonial mansion which has been carefully restored to mirror the rich colonial history of its surroundings. In Cuenca you stay at Hotel Victoria, a restored Republican era mansion with authentic Ecuadorian features.
PeopleWe pride ourselves on delivering our clients truly authentic and unforgettable experiences in Latin America which connect travellers with the people whose country they visit. On a self-drive holiday, you have plenty of opportunities to stop at towns and villages along the route, and interact with the local community, as well as getting a unique insight into local life. Guamote for example is an authentic indigenous village with cobblestone streets, set within a jumble of tiny fields worked by villagers warmed by wool ponchos and traditional headgear. Or you may like to call in at one of the many regional indigenous markets: Saquisili, Pujili or Zumbahua. The normally sleepy towns are transformed with stalls piled high with fruit, household and artisan goods – a truly authentic experience. We are always happy to recommend a few of our favourite local places to visit.
Our expert guides are on hand to provide advice on the best way to communicate with the local community, what and what not to buy, as well as explaining the importance of giving gifts responsibly, and acting in a respectful way while taking photographs.
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