Ecuador holiday, Darwin's Ecuador
Description of Ecuador holiday, Darwin's Ecuador
Ecuador may not be a very large country, but what it lacks in size, it sure makes up for in looks. The contrasts in scenery that you’ll encounter on this two-week small group Ecuador holiday are simply incredible. From the effervescent capital, Quito, you’ll drive out to the Bellavista Reserve, a cloud forest with an immense number of bird species and many beautiful orchids.
Crossing the equator (and pausing to take your photo of course!) it’s on to the staggering Avenue of the Volcanoes, flanked by the Andes, and a picturesque mountain village where you’ll spend a few days trekking, horse riding or simply basking in the views.
Day six of the itinerary is a special one. You can opt to relax in the Banos hot springs, or trek up a volcano, guided by an ‘ice man’ who makes his living collecting ice from the glacier. Other highlights at this stage include a ride on the Devil’s Nose, a breathtaking section of the Trans Andean railway that zigzags around a mountain, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cuenca.
After a drive through the cocoa and banana plantations of El Cajas National Park you’ll reach Guayaquil, and board a flight out to the stunning Galapagos Islands. The wildlife here inspired Darwin’s theories of evolution, and for the most part the islands remain almost pristine. A few days of scenic island-hopping follow, as well as visits to two must-see Galapagos locations: the Charles Darwin Research Centre, and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre where you can see many of these iconic animals, the largest reptiles on Earth.
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Planet and peopleDuring our stay in Guamote we are proud to support the Inti Sita community project, an enterprise set up to help the indigenous communities improve their living conditions through education and co-operative ventures. Profits from the guesthouse are used to run several educational workshops including computer classes, textile designs and music classes as well as providing a kindergarten for local children whose parents cannot afford pre-schooling.
This trip supports and stays at two award winning eco-loges all with strong community ties that allow the profits from tourism to go directly into local communities: The Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilan and Bellavista Cloud forest reserve apa.
In South America we use local ground handlers - this means that all the operational costs go directly into the local economy and helps to improve employment opportunities in remote regions. By incorporating home-stays, locally owned hotels, restaurants and the services of guides and drivers into our itineraries, we ensure that money you spend on your trip goes directly into the local economy and local communities benefit from tourism.
When you take one of our trips, we automatically make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.
We also support emergency relief efforts in the areas we travel to, such as the Pakistan Earthquake Fund set up in 2005 and a variety of other community benefiting NGOs around the world. We also support several other NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, Tibetan schools trust and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.
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