Plan YOUR adventures in Ecuador!

The Many Wonders and Splendor of Ecuador, Jewel of the Andes!

Condors still fly, and the mountain ranges of the Andes show off their glorious majesty of brilliant sunsets bathed in colors of the rainbow, some of which have no name.

In Ecuador, there are more species of flora and fauna, for a country of this land mass, than any other in the world! Pristine beaches, mountain peaks for the climbers and trekkers, jungle for the botanist, birdwatcher, collector and just those who want to be amazed by the beauty of Nature at her best.

If you can't climb but want the rush of the rarefied atmosphere and oxygen at 13,000 ft. above sea level, take the Teleferico cable car up Rucco Pichincha. If it's wild white water rafting you're looking for you'll get your bumps and lumps with the class IV Rapids of the Misahuallí River.

Are you for real about the "big one" that got away? Maybe you're an International Sport Fisherman. Then you already know of the Marlin, Sail, Sword, Wahoo and Dolphin in the deep waters off the coast of Salinas. And for those looking for the waves there's Motanita, home to International Surfing Championships....and lot's more that takes place on the sand!

The Colonial Center of Quito and Pasaje La Ronda or Panecillo sitting on the highest point in the city will be for those who want to see some of the culture of Ecuador. With the many well preserved Catholic Churches that date back decades, and the Basilica, along with the Museum at the Banco Central are areas you won't want to miss.

If you've never had the experience of bargaining or bartering then you definitely need to visit open markets in cities like Ambato, Cumbaya, or Otavalo with the brightly colored tapestries, embroidered cotton shirts and blouses, woolen ponchos and many other hand crafted items. You can get some great buys, but not if you pay the first price they offer.

In Cayambe you can find the flower plantations with thousands of roses matching every shade on a color palette, or go to San Antonio de Ibarra to feast your eyes on shops full of wood carvings.

Near Mindo you can visit the butterfly gardens or go to the Oriente in search of orchids and bug life beyond number and size of anything you have ever encountered. Maybe you will visit a cacao 

Photos and videos, as good as they are, still don’t equal the scene through your own eyes. Words can paint a picture up to a certain point. Seeing the Hummingbirds within three feet of your nose, how they flit through the air, the variance in size mixed with their petty little fights as they zip from one spot to another.

These little critters are notorious for their aggressiveness and territorial domain. Even among themselves you can see the face-offs. How unusual then when a small Wren flew up to the feeder with no challenge. Hardly bigger than the Hummers it was none the less a “bird of a different feather!”

Looking down at the river many things come into view. In this case it was what appeared to be Hawks, until realization kicked in that they do not fly in flocks! So it was just a bunch of Buzzards. That sort of brought things back into focus.

Still, returning after 8 years, the scene continues to capture all my senses. There were other noticeable changes with the Mirador itself, as guest rooms have been added and the parking lot is smaller as a result.

Patricio Espinel Will Greet You In English Or Spanish At El Mirador Del Rio Blanco!

A few minor changes near the entrance, yet welcoming as ever. Inside boasted a balcony which had been a window on the second level. Everything else was pretty much as my memory recalled. That changed as soon as I walked out the back door to the patio.

What had been a wooden or bamboo structure was now one of concrete. If possible the view was even grander as it seems obstructions have been removed. What is more likely is the patio is larger and extended further out, providing a regal exposure as far as the eye can see.

If you can witness this without taking in a deep breath, and muttering a grateful “wow,” then pinch yourself. You may have left this planet. For those still here this is one you don’t want to miss.

Patricio Espinel will greet you in English or Spanish as he is fluent in both, having spent is educational years in the U.S. He is an excellent host, and the food offered in the restaurant is both traditional and tropical. Having selections for vegetarians is especially thoughtful. Add the platform for the bird watchers and a window looking out into some foliage where the feathered patrons like to gather, and you may be treated as we were to the presence of Toucans.

It is not the jungle where these avians normally prefer as a habitat, but here they were and had just shown up a few minutes after our arrival. Almost as if to say, “see what a special treat we are for your viewing pleasure?”

El Mirador del Rio Blanco in Los Bancos, Ecuador. Put that one on your “bucket list!”

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Ripe cacao pod in Ecuador ready to process.

Maybe you could visit a cacao...

plantation to see the pods where the cacao bean comes from to make some of the finest chocolate in the world. 

Or there is the province of Loja, recognized as the coffee belt of Ecuador, where you can find hundreds of acres of shade grown coffee trees. If you get there in the months of May through July, you’ll be just in time to help pick the bright red coffee cherries ready for harvest.

There are five star hotels and dining in the larger cities, and hidden in the outlying areas like Meson de Las Flores or Chordelec. In the capital you have Hotel Quito, the Hotel Colon or Chalet Swiss Hotels, offering the very best of accommodations. In Guayaquil on the coast there is the Oro Verde.

For some of the finest ceramics and hand crafted jewelry there is Cuenca, third largest city of Ecuador.

Depending on your adventurous spirit you may want to take the train ride through the Nariz del Diablo, the Nose of the Devil!

Have a look at the map of Ecuador to see where some of these cities and places are.

As with any precious Gem, the more facets it has the more valuable it is, and such is the case with Ecuador, the Jewel of the Andes. Come and see, experience the many views of this beautiful, mystical country, and leave knowing you’ll never see anything quite it’s equal.

Tell Your Story From Ecuador!

Got a story about your visit to Ecuador? Like your experience at the Saturday Morning Market in Otavalo. Maybe you had a blast on the Teleferico! Did you go see the "Devil's Nose?

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