From UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Quito and Cuenca, to the awesome beauty of the rainforest, Ecuador is one of those destinations that should be on everyone’s bucket list. We introduced you to the astonishing individual landscape of the Galapagos Archipelago, and mainland Ecuador is no less impressive and fascinating. It’s also highly rated for its eco-friendly travel opportunities, which allow visitors to see its splendor, while preserving the natural habitat and assisting the indigenous people.
A visit to Ecuador is a fresh, fun and exciting experience. It’s a must for animal lovers, with the abundance of tropical species such as the spectacled bear and the two-toed sloth; while there are also plenty of more familiar dogs providing some friendly woofs of welcome.
Tropic Journeys in Nature
Founded in 1994, this innovative travel provider has won awards for its excellence in eco-tourism. Travel with Tropic and you get to immerse yourself in the beauty of the rainforest, while protecting the environment, and the indigenous people of the area. They can arrange your entire vacation from A to Z! No fuss, no muss! How perfect is that?! Eating great food, meeting great people, and visiting multiple destinations in one trip – what more could you want? You can stay at the Huaorani Ecolodge, which is managed by the Huaorani people. If you want to see the culture of the rainforest as it really is, this is the perfect opportunity. You can drink Chicha, made from Petomo fruit, with the local people, while you talk to the elders about the time before any western visitors had been seen. Walking through the rainforest, under leaf canopies, is an incredible experience, as you witness the myriad of birds and butterflies, taking to the skies about your head.
For a completely different experience you can travel with Tropic and stay at Floreana Lodge; situated away from the mainland, on the Galapagos Islands, and right at the edge of the ocean. Owned by the Cruz family for generations; this is a popular trip for Tropic travelers. Imagine a place where you can eat breakfast whilst watching sea turtles popping their heads above the ocean waters; or snorkel with sea lions. Floreana Lodge is it. You can savor the homely atmosphere and sample the organic produce grown on the Cruz family’s own farm.
This is a truly inspirational place to visit. It’s an oasis of natural comfort in the Amazon where you can relax looking out over the tranquil Napo River. Hamadryade offers a friendly welcome to everyone. French owner Sebastian is funny and informative. He can tell you all you want to know about the area, and is even on hand to take guests on excursions.
Take a look for yourself!
A constant companion for Sebastian is his dig Timon; a mutt amongst all of the exotic Amazonian species. The lodge is the perfect place for an energetic dog, where he can run around and explore the space around the lodge building itself, and the individually designed guest bungalows.
While you’re at Hamadryade you can try your hand at cookery. The head chef at the Lodge offers a variety of cookery courses for guests, from a la carte to traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. Not only do you get to experience the true beauty of the Amazon, but you come home with an extra skill.
There are a myriad of excursions you can take from Hamadryade, one of which is an experience that’s definitely not to be missed. You just have to see the monkeys at Misahualli. They are super cute and really friendly; you can even feed them out of your hand. Oh, and as you see from this short clip they keep the local dog population occupied.
Watch this monkey and dog play!
The Monkeys of Puyo
Misahualli isn’t the only place where you can hang out with monkeys. Paseo de los Monos is a sanctuary for pets that have been abandoned. It’s a magical place run by dedicated people such as Elena and Yago whose aim is to give a home to these friendly primates that have been left without anyone to look after them. At Paseo de los Monos you can walk amongst the monkeys as they play with the sanctuary’s doggie inhabitants. You may even be coaxed into helping out for a while. This amazing place needs all of the human assistance it can get.
Ecuador is home to nature at its best, where domesticated dogs mingle with their monkey companions, and where you can sit next to an Amazonian River and appreciate the planet at its best. All of the ecologically friendly venues we have featured enable you to immerse yourself in the Ecuador experience whilst at the same time benefiting the environment and the indigenous people; the best of every world.
Clay Sculpting in Quito
Take a visit with Tropic to get a little down and dirty with Quitena artist, Sara Palacios! Her workshop sits on spacious grounds, surrounded by the gorgeous Ecuadorian countryside. Sara Palacios is a well-known Ecuadorian artist who combines the conversation of plants with her clay sculptures, poetry, drawings, and video art. You get to experience what Sara’s life is like first hand! You will be able to handle the clay and make a creation of your own.
On the cleaner side of her workshop is where painting, printmaking, drawing, and writing poetry takes place. This visit includes a tour of her grandiose garden, a viewing of her personal collection of sculptures, and participation in an art-fueled personality game. If that doesn’t sound like the coolest activity ever, than I do not know what does! Who said art is boring?!
The Chocolate and Guayusa Trail
If you have a sweet tooth, it is time to listen up! This adventure, provided by Tropic, spans a period of two days. The first day you get to see the process of how chocolate is created from their start as colorful pods to the final product as gorgeous Ecuadorian chocolate. Lunch is then served (because watching chocolate get made sure works up an appetite), and a hangout with the monkeys of Misahualli is on the itinerary.
The second day is dedicated to a true Amazonian experience. Early birds inquire only! It’s a 5 am wakeup call, enjoying the ritualistic culture with an Ecuadorian family drinking Guayusa tea and listening to music. The Guayusa is a small native tree whose leaves have been used by indigenous people in the Amazon to brew “tea” for hundreds of years. Sharing this delicious tea with visitors will help create sustainable livelihoods for indigenous farmers keen to protect the natural wonder that is the Ecuadorian Amazon.
This tea is sold all over the country. You can find out where, here! It provides more caffeine than a cup of coffee, so it’s a real pick-me-up for those dreaded Monday mornings. If you want to spice up the trail with a little action, an optional third day of kayaking can be added to your Tropic Journey. Chocolate and tea sounds like our kind of adventure! What could be better than that?
Stop and Smell the Roses at the Nevado Rose Plantation
Seventy-five thousand rose stems is no feat for the Nevado Rose Plantation. On Valentine’s Day, they ship 250,000! What’s even better is that with the help of Tropic, you can tour this rose farm, and see the different varieties of wondrous roses grown (including the exclusive ones). The smell of the roses is so familiar, yet so overwhelmingly delicious that you cannot help but take as many deep breaths as humanly possible. The trip booked with Tropic also comes included with a visit to Cotopaxi National Park and a meal, so why not?!
About 56 miles south of Quito, John Nevado is owner to thousands of acres of space that grow these gorgeous flowers, and he’s doing it with a purpose! His farms strive to be the most socially and environmentally certified rose plantation in the world. These roses have had their fair trade certification since 2002, meaning that his staff gets a cut of the consumer sales price that they can use for joint projects around his farm. Take a smell of this social consciousness; it smells like Nevado Roses. They are even available for online order (shipping is available to the United States and United Kingdom), so you can take a piece of enchanting Ecuador home with you!
Whether it’s eating the divine cuisine, embracing the wondrous scenery, or just basking in the culture along with the indigenous Ecuadorians, Tropic Journeys will help you have one of the most incredible eco-friendly experiences possible. By the end of your trip, you will feel as if you are one of the natives. A trip to Ecuador is a life-changing journey, so why not book it with a company that covers all bases? Tropic has your back for a refreshing, well-planned adventure!
For more information about Paseo de los Monos, click HERE!
Volunteer with rescued animals in Ecuador HERE!
Book a visit to Sara Palacios’s workshop, HERE!
Book the Chocolate and Guayusa Trail HERE!
To book your tour of the Nevado Rose Plantation, click HERE!
To book a trip with Tropic & Destination Ecuador, click HERE!
To adopt a monkey, click HERE!