Central + South America Ecuador spanish colonial cities, amazonian rainforest, jungle trekking, fascinating wildlife, horse riding Ecuador is so much more than just a gateway to the Galapagos. Given its fascinating Spanish colonial cities, spectacular Andean scenery, virgin Amazonian rainforest and rich, indigenous culture, we consider it one of South America’s most underrated destinations. Most visitors rush through the country’s interior but we have discovered some lovely, small lodges in areas where tourism treads very lightly. Some of the best jungle lodges in South America are located in the Ecuadorian Amazon and a stay here combines well with a few days in a family-run colonial hacienda in the Northern or Southern Sierras. In the Galapagos Islands, we only use the best boats with the most highly trained guides, so that you gain a new and distinct insight into the unique archipelago. Ecuador is a very special place to spend some time, and visitors always leave with a renewed appreciation of the brilliance of nature. Stories Places to Stay Highlights Location Stories As every one of the holidays we create is truly tailor-made, all of our clients come back with different and interesting stories. We love to hear from our clients on their return to find out about their most memorable moments. Our Destination Experts are also always travelling to our extraordinary destinations and every trip allows us to refine and add value to our clients' future experiences. Sacha Lodge – Our Jungle Retreat Pat White travelled with her family to Ecuador, where they embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. With their two guides, an English-speaking and a native, the spent a few days in the jungle, experiencing the wildlife and living and breathing the sounds and smells around them, as well as staying in the perfect jungle lodge. Find out more Places to Stay At cazenove+loyd, we have no vested interest in the hotels, lodges, boats, trains and tented camps which we select. We only choose what is right for a particular client. We visit each destination in our three regions on a regular basis and have detailed conversations with our clients on their return so our choices are continually refined. Here are just four c+l reviews. This is by no means a prescriptive list, but hints at what we look for and value in places to stay. Napo Wildlife Centre, Ecuador The journey to the Napo Wildlife Centre is a long and varied one, but that is part of the excitement of a remote lodge. A 30 minute flight to the Amazon town of Coca, a five minute drive to the port, a two hour motorboat journey along the Rio Napo to the Wildlife Centre’s dock… Find out more Casa Gangotena A charming and peaceful 1920’s mansion beautifully restored in Quito’s Old Town, with a fascinating history and architecture that will enthrall those lucky enough to spend some time here; Casa Gangotena is a hotel with real character. The location is ideal, overlooking Plaza San Francisco, where you can discover the Inca history of the town and wander cobbled streets to the real highlights of the capital city Find out more Hacienda Zuleta Hacienda Zuleta is an incredibly charming private home and an ideal retreat to catch up on fresh air and un-spoilt views; a place to really reconnect with the great outdoors and enjoy delicious home cooking. Home to a large dairy herd and home bred Zuletano horses, this hacienda is the ultimate rural escape, where you can bike out in the morning or gallop off at sunset for all kinds of adventures. Find out more Mashpi Lodge As soon as you push through the cloud forest and arrive at Mashpi, the sense of excitement and discovery is overflowing. With incredible views, wildlife sightings and adventure, Mashpi is a truly enchanting place. This is a beautifully designed, futuristic lodge of glass and local wood, modern and yet tasteful. At this eco-friendly lodge you will be completely spoilt by delicious food and fantastic service Find out more Highlights For over 20 years we have been creating the best luxury tailor-made holidays, we know our countries inside and out and really know how to get under the skin of each one and the best way to experience them. EXPLORING THE CAPITAL OF ECUADOR; QUITO Quito, the charming capital city of Ecuador boasts fine Spanish colonial architecture, cobbled streets and is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains. Find out more THE AMAZON BASIN Brazil is more celebrated as an Amazon destination, but Ecuador has developed a far more intimate wildlife experience, and due to its inaccessibility, the rainforest is more pristine. With one of our local guides this is an incredible way to see the Amazon. Find out more THE SIERRA Most visitors to Ecuador focus on the Galapagos or the Amazon, so much of the interior of Ecuador is left relatively unvisited. The Sierra has some of the finest Andean scenery which also boasts fine, historic and private haciendas. Find out more Candle-lit visit to the churches of Quito A really magical experience is to visit some of the smaller churches at night. With a private guide, this cultural tour will give a real sense of peace and tranquility. Find out more Riding along the ancient Inca trails With your trusty steed you can ride along these ancient Inca trails. As you ride from hacienda to hacienda you will be surrounded by stunning scenery and enjoy a a way of life unchanged for centuries. Find out more The Indigenous People of the Amazon The Huaorani people of the Amazon created a fantastic and insightful way of exploring the Amazon Basin. Board one of their tradition boats and let them guide you through this tropical wonderland. Find out more Show All Location We know Ecuador better than most. The possibilities are endless and ever-changing. On the map below, we have plotted some of our current favourite places to stay, some c+l highlights and a few pertinent client stories. And you can see if there is a team member travelling in that particular country and link through to them and what they are up to, so you can get them to call you on their return. Best time to visit Ecuador Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Best time to go Being on the Equator, you can visit at any time of year but for the Andean regions of both Northern and Southern Sierras it tends to match the seasons of Southern Peru- April through September. Those combining mainland Ecuador with the Galapagos will tend to visit in the months when it is not so good in the Andes but, for wildlife enthusiasts, it works well with the rainforest and cloudforest. The Galapagos is often the lure of Ecuador but many also combine their visit with neighbouring Peru, particularly when visiting between April and October when the Inca culture of the Peruvian Andes is most accessible. Meet the Team Central + South America Johnny Milly Chris Sarah We'd love to hear from you Our well travelled Destination Experts have extensive first hand knowledge of their destinations and can open doors that others simply can’t.