Mainland Ecuador can often be quickly bypassed or rushed through in lieu of a Galapagos cruise. However, the mainland offers a diverse mix of sites and eco tours including the colonial capital of Quito, Mindo Cloud Forest, tropical rainforests, many national parks, and the colorful culture of Otavalo, among many other attractions. Below are a few popular destinations and Ecuador eco tours.
Quito is the second-highest capital in the world. The city is spread across an Andean valley and has an abundance of unique colonial buildings. Much of the UNESCO World Heritage listed site of centro histórico, or old town, has been restored, though it still reflects the indigenous culture and history of the region. A walk through old town will take you past picturesque plazas and cathedrals, with snow covered peaks in the background. A 20 minute from Quito’s old town, you’ll find Quito’s new town, full of trendy cafes, international restaurants, unique bars, and boutique hotels. Step just outside the city and you’ll find primary Andean forest. Hacienda Rumiloma is an excellent addition to any Ecuador travel itinerary. The hotel gives travelers a view of Quito not many get to see. The hacienda is located on about one hundred acres of primary Andean forest next to the Volcano Pichincha. The land behind the lodge has several trails, a small river, many grazing llamas, and native birds. Just minutes away from the capitol, Hacienda Rumiloma is an incredible accommodation option in Quito.
Bliss and Patrick left their jobs in finance and law in New York City to travel around the world with their
two-year-old son, Jude. They blog about their adventures traveling with a toddler at Around the World with a Two-Year-Old. Among other adventures, the family
has taken the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Beijing to Moscow, and recently spent a week in India.
I can think of few experiences more relaxing than a long, hot soak on a cold day in a huge outdoor thermal bath, surrounded by beautiful neo-baroque buildings and stone statues spitting water. I recently had the pleasure of doing this—with Hungarians of all ages and sizes, mostly squeezed into very small swimsuits—at the Széchenyi Baths in Budapest’s City Park, one of three baths my family and I visited in Budapest, Hungary.
We knew Hungary was famous for its thermal baths, and decided to take the plunge, so to speak. We wondered what our two-year-old son Jude would think – he loves the bath at home – but this was hardly the rubber-ducky-pre-bedtime routine he was used to. More than that, what would the people relaxing in the baths think of Jude? Were we crazy to bring a two-year-old to the baths? (Clearly he would not be able to go in the very hot ones.)
As widely-accepted history has it, the Romans set up the first baths in Hungary in the 1st century, which is home to many deep underground springs. When the Ottomans occupied Hungary beginning in the early 16th century, they also built communal baths over the hot springs. Today, many baths are fed by multiple springs. The water coming from deep in the ground is so hot that is must be mixed with cooler water.
Because we spent over a week in Budapest, we were able to visit the city’s three most famous baths, one as a family, and one each for mom and dad.
Global Basecamps was recently visited by one of our in country tour operators from Australia, Wayoutback. Wayoutback shares our commitment to ecotourism and is an award winning advanced Eco Accredited 4WD adventure tour operator in Central Australia. Locally owed and operated from Alice Springs, Wayoutback specializes in exploring Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley, and West MacDonnell Ranges. Their reputation as an expert on this region of Australia was recognized when they received a 2010 Brolga Award, the industry’s highest honor for the best tourism products and services in the Northern Territory. Wayoutback specializes in the following areas:
Small groups in 4 wheel drive vehicles (max. 16 people)
Cooking food over a campfire
Sleeping under the stars in swags (Aussie bush beds)
4 wheel driving on outback bush tracks
Keeping away from the crowds as much as possible
Providing authentic Aboriginal interaction
Employing and training guides that are, or become, the best in the business
Despite the rather unfortunate conditions of today’s economy, tourism is growing closer and closer to becoming the world’s largest industry. Just from 2008, international tourist arrivals were up 6.5% in 2010 to 935 million, and that was after the country with the highest GDP entered a recession. With rapid development occurring worldwide, there is a growing concern for the negative impacts of mass tourism. Sustainability and ecotourism have become essential aspects of the travel industry. However, many times travelers are unaware of exactly what sustainable travel entails and how to incorporate it into their itineraries. As travel companies begin to jump on the green travel bandwagon it can be difficult to decipher which ones truly embrace sustainable travel, by not only minimizing the negative environmental aspects of travel but also contributing the local economy and communities, and which ones are simply claiming to be greener as a marketing plow. Through a series of ecotourism blogs, we will highlight some of the industry trends and changes currently occurring to give travelers a better understanding of what it means to travel sustainably.
Global Basecamps is offering our clients a special discounted price on a Fiji yoga and surf retreat December 3rd-10th at Tavarua Island Resort! Tavarua is a tiny heart-shaped jewel among the hundreds that comprise the Fijian Chain. Boasting the most well known and consistent waves in Fiji, Cloudbreak and Restaurants, Tavarua Island also offers that special Fijian hospitality and island beauty that forever touches all who have had the opportunity to experience it.