Ecuador is a land of many exotic places to Explore. The Tours below give an idea of the richness and variety you can experience. Individual and special group tours can be created to suit your desires. We have professional guides, naturalists, ornithologists, botanists, and golfers who speak your language.
Tours begin in Quito, capital of Ecuador, resplendent in Spanish Colonial buildings and culture, against a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. Old Town Quito was selected as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Experience the local market where Indigenous vendors from several distinct areas display their traditional crafts and visit pre-colonial to modern art museums. Tourist police are readily available to assist with whatever you need, and the city is now "safe" by day and night.
All the tours include sojourn in the jungle. Entering an Amazonian rainforest is like walking in a giant terranium. Plants a local nursery would grow in pots reach for the equadorial sky. Philidendroms are large enough to wrap a tree. Fig trees grow so tall their tops rise above the canopy, and palm trees abound. Red heliconias and bromeliads brightly decorate the scene.
You may choose to complement your land trip with a Galapagos Island extension. It was here that Darwin made observations important to his emerging theory of species origin. You can walk among the mammals and birds, as they have not developed fear of man. Snorkeling and diving are also favorite activities.
All tours feature several nights at Butterfly Lodge (local name Cabanas Alinahui) owned by Health & Habitat, a USA not-for-profit preserving rainforest in the Ecuadorian Amazon..
To get there you will crest the Andes in private transport, stopping to see miniature plants in the Paramo, swim in a glacier-fed hot spring, wend your way past the many waterfalls that headwater the Amazon River, experience the mystery of cloud forest, home to myriad bromeliads and descend to lush rainforest, your home for several unforgetable days.
From your garden cabin at Butterfly Lodge you will radiate out to a botanical garden growing rainforest plants. Wander our virgin rainforest marveling at Nature. 1,900 species of vascular plants have been identified in the area, including 160 orchids. Butterflies flit up and down forest paths and fly through the dining room. Some guests nature watch from their hammock on a patio overlooking the river.
Ecuador is home to half the bird species in South America. Researchers have seen and heard 537 species in the area around Butterfly Lodge, including 52 families and 40 neotropical migrants. One recent guest found over eighty before breakfast.
Go by motor canoe to visit an indigenous museum and an animal rescue and release center. You may see a local Shaman and learn his traditional ways of healing. You may cross the Napo River to a small port town and see how butterflies are grown for release.
International cuisine is served in an open-sided dining room, and solar provides soft light under tropical skies sparkling with more stars than can be seen from most places in the world.
You will have access to Quito’s private golf courses where the elite of South America play. Enjoy the verdant surroundings against a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. Those who do not play golf will have a variety of activities including visiting the traditional Spanish Colonial quarter and some of Quito’s fascinating museums.
Your other golf destination is Guayaquil, a recently revived center of cultural excellence where you can visit diverse museums. Try your skills on its golf courses before heading home, or taking an extension to the Galapagos Islands to walk and swim among sea creatures and nesting birds that are unafraid of man.
Prices: USD 193.00 / day/ person (Airfare not included)*
Butterfly Lodge is an entomologist's dream. As you roam the grounds, diversity will astound you. Butterflies of staggering beauty flash by; and while you think you may have seen one species before, you probably just saw its mimic. Over 850 species of butterflies have been recorded and there are more to be named. Maybe you will find one. Happily, the “bugs” prefer their native habitations and food, eschewing admiring visitors.
Every day brings surprise encounters along narrow forest trails. Evasive wood-nymphs often flit along the path in front of you, while morphos patrol sunny glades, and damselflies hover and swirl. Photographers will have hourly opportunities to capture the beauty of tropical Ecuador.
Banos is another well-known butterfly center that you will visit, as well as enjoy its hot springs.
Prices: USD 142.00 / day/ person (Airfare not included)
Experience ethereal dawn and dusk calls of tinamous, raucous choruses of caracaras; hear parrots and toucans blend with the occasional notes of Swainson's Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler and Scarlet Tanager. Learn how twenty-seven species of hummingbird, 51 antbirds, 76 flycatchers and 25 tanagers coexist around Butterfly Lodge.
You will also spend a couple of days in hummingbird heaven, west of Quito, where these glittering jewels can be seen by the dozen (126 species in Ecuador). Also, there is opportunity to visit special areas frequented by cock-of-the rock.
Prices: USD 142.00 / day/ person (Airfare not included)*
Ecuador is famous for its orchids.
In Quito you will visit the magnificent new greenhouses filled with orchids collected from the Amazon to the Andes — along with many bromeliads. A couple of days will be spent at Ecuagenara in Cuenca. Here you will see many greenhouses full of exotic orchids, learn some of their propagation secrets, and take excursions to sites where they are repopulating the surrounding countryside with orchids.
There are 160 species of orchids in the rainforest around Butterfly Lodge, some new and unusual, many cryptic. Finding orchids in the wild is truly exciting — and you may locate a new species. Being on the Equator, Ecuador is a hotbed of speciation. Specialists often finds new species, even after two decades of exploration. There will be excursions to other wild orchid locations, as well as exploration of new areas.
Prices: USD 176.00 / day/ person (Airfare not included)*
* Prices include: land arrangements, meals at nature lodges and local flights if part of the itinerary (Guayaquil and Ecuagenara). They are subject to change, as local operators can change their prices. Itineraries can change with time of year and weather conditions.
Most trips are 10 days and does not include air travel from your country. Prices vary with the hotels and destinations chosen. We use first class, comfortable hotels. Meals are included at most nature lodge locations. Daytime tours are also included.
Transportation is by private van or bus, depending on size of the group. GUides speak the major languages and are selected for their knowledge of places to be visited and their skills with people. Prices also include land arrangements and local flights for a leader accompanying a group of 12 or more.
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