Ecuador travel is a real talking point right now. It’s on every 2013 hot list we’ve read and no wonder as there have been some exciting developments in Ecuador tourism for travellers (plus it’s been a best kept secret in South America travel for a long time).
So why is Ecuador travel suddenly a hot topic you say? Well the first reason is that Ecuador tours will be much easier in 2013 with the newly restored railway. Ecuador’s railway was virtually destroyed in the 1990’s in floods. The re-build is a monumental task and is costing $250m.
The train will connect the city of Quito to the Guayaquil port as well as Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano at 5,900m and the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose). Our Ecuador tour tip for the brave is to ride the Riobamba–Alausi–Sibambe train – the steepest stretch of railway in the Western world. It’s quite an experience as it descends sharply down rocky cliffs in zig zags. The trip between Alausi and Sibambe takes three hours and costs $20.
As the buzz around Ecuador travel has grown so have the demands on its airport. The new Quito airport will be over ten times larger than the original and will open in February this year.
Ecuador tours are very safe and the country is unbelievably diverse – you can be in the rainforest, the towering Andes and the beach all in a two week Ecuador holiday. Whether you are a fan of colonial towns and local markets, a mountain walker snow bunny or a wildlife lover there is something for you.
It’s one of the smallest countries in South America so it’s not expensive to get around compared to some of the larger countries (for example you need to fly around Brazil to see all the big sights which really pushes up the cost).
Some of the best accommodation in Ecuador is in its beautiful old haciendas. Just a couple of the many we recommend are the Hacienda Leito and the Hacienda Cusin.
Then there is the new Quito hotel Casa Gangotena which featured on the Conde Nast 2012 hot list. A pain staking restoration of a stunning 1926 Art Nouveau mansion it has just 31 rooms. Think sparkling antique chandeliers casting dappled light across hand-painted ceilings. There is an indoor courtyard with rainbows of tropical flowers. The rooms have elegant high ceilings with snowy carpets and beautiful shimmering gold curtains. The bathrooms are marble (of course).
If you are a lover of chocolate then Ecuador travel is for you – it’s a little known fact that Ecuador produces around 60 % of the world’s cacao. Chocolate-themed tours will launch in November this year where you can visit indigenous cacao growers, discover how to make chocolate and even spend a day river rafting in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Then of course we come to The Galapagos Islands (what Ecuador tourism is known for). Galapagos cruises are a wonderful family holiday as there is nowhere else in the world that you get so close to such an array of wildlife. Any adult or child will remember a Galapagos travel experience for the rest of their lives. Even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie holidayed in April this year at the Galapagos Islands!