Ecuador self-drive holiday, tailor made
Description of Ecuador self-drive holiday, tailor made
Tour Ecuador’s iconic Route 45 with this fantastic Ecuador self-drive holiday, with a tailormade itinerary giving your holiday structure along with freedom to explore under your own steam. From the capital, Quito, first city ever named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Cotopaxi National Park, home to one of the planet’s tallest volcanoes, this is a trip packed with wondrous scenery and fascinating culture, not to be soon forgotten.
Traffic on Route 45 is pleasingly light, and there will be practically endless opportunities to pull over and snap a photo as you travel from Andean plateau to the stunning Route of the Waterfalls, and along the spectacular Avenue of the Volcanoes.
Drive through cloud forest (and bear country), spending a few hours perhaps to soak in the thermal pools of Papallacta. Enjoy a mouthwatering guided tour around a working cocoa plantation in Santa Rita. In San Isidro, perhaps take a fun cookery lesson in Ecuadorian cuisine, or sample an eight-course tasting menu at your cabana. Canoe on the river to spot alligators and spider monkeys, learn about medicinal plants and reforestation efforts, and, in Baños, perhaps try some optional local activities including tubing, horse riding or bungee swinging.
This Ecuador holiday works perfectly for families, with a superbly varied itinerary of activities suitable for adults and kids alike. And of course given you’re travelling under your own steam, you will be provided with a suitable rental vehicle, maps, route notes and that all-essential 24-hour support. You will stay in a series of eco-friendly lodges and hotels, and have so many chances for wildlife watching and meeting indigenous communities that you’ll have stories to tell for years afterwards.
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. Nearby Misahualli you stay at Hamadryade Lodge, a luxurious eco-lodge buried deep in the fastness of riotous jungle vegetation. The lodge is constructed with materials that blend in with the environment, such as stone, polished wood, tiles and exposed brick. Guests have the opportunity to visit the Amazoonico Animal Reserve, which was set up to rescue and care for injured Amazonian animals.
In the Avenue of the Volcanoes you stay at rustic Chilcabamba Mountain Lodge, which is mindfully eco-friendly. The lodge is constructed from recycled materials and offers a variety of activities that are shared with people from the local community.
In the valley of river Quijos, you stay at Cabañas San Isidro, a lodge sitting at an elevation of 2,050m above sea level in a hilly zone still mostly blanketed in humid cloud forest. It offers a great location for wildlife spotting, with the main attraction being bird watching. The lodge maintains a vital role as one of the front-runners on Ecuador’s east slope with respect to tying together land acquisition and protection projects, biological research, community involvement and world-class nature tourism.
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. We are always happy to recommend a few of our favourite local places to visit. Dotted around the Avenue of Volcanoes is a mix of deeply traditional indigenous and colonial settlements with horticultural and artisan markets and cottage industries you can explore. Here, you have the opportunity to interact with the local communities and purchase arts and crafts.
At Santa Rita, you visit a cocoa plantation where you can observe the beans growing on the farm, as well as the production process where the beans are picked, roasted and ground. There may also be weaving, ceramics and dance presentations, interpretive trails to follow and talks about local legends.
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.