Ecuador's funds town, Exento, is definitely proclaimed an excellent bouncing away stage with regard to journey tourists. The town is actually between 11 volcanoes as well as a large number of moving streams, which makes it a perfect location for all those seeking to walk, bicycle, ascend, boat and much more. As if that weren't enough, four regions are crammed into this tiny, megadiverse country – the Amazon jungle, the Andean highlands, the coastal region and the Galapagos Islands – offering boundless opportunities for adventure travelers.
No matter where you set off to in Ecuador, the main base of all activity for adventure tour operators is in Quito. And thanks to a new $700 million airport that opened earlier this year, it's never been easier to get there – not to mention less scary. To land at the old airport, pilots needed to negotiate the Andean mountain slopes before touching down on a runway in the middle of the city.
Once you land in Quito, food, accommodations, transportation and even adventure activities are relatively cheap; this is one place where the dollar really does go a long way. And since the country uses U.S. currency, many people reading this won't even have to worry about doing any of those pesky conversions.
Of course, it's not all sun and roses in Ecuador. This beautiful country also comes with some safety concerns, among them the threat of natural disasters such as volcano eruptions and earthquakes, as well as crime aimed at easy-to-target travelers. Before you go, read through the U.S. Department of State's travel warnings, and once you land keep aware of your surroundings at all times.
The mountains are one of the main draws for adventure travelers to Quito, and there are options to suit both newbies and experienced climbers. Because they are capped with glaciers, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Cayambe and Tungurahua are often the most desirable mountain destinations. Before setting off, remember to allow time to acclimatize to the altitude, which can be done pain free by drinking plenty of water and allowing some time to adjust to the nearly two-mile-high capital. Several tour operators, all based in Quito, can arrange tours lasting from a few hours to several days. Book before you go, or wait until you land to shop around for last minute deals in Quito's Mariscal neighborhood, the tourist center of the city that is packed with bars, coffee shops, Internet cafes, restaurants and dance clubs.
- High Summits: Pinto E5-29 and Juan León Mera, Quito; (+593-2) 290-5503.
- Gulliver: Juan Leon Mera N24-156 y Jose Calama, Quito. From $195.
- Positiv Turismo: Jorge Juan N33 -38 y Atahualpa, Quito; (+593-2) 252-7305. From $195.
Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
The Ecuadorian landscape is packed with the highest densities of rivers per square mile in the world. Quito itself is located just a little over an hour from the Amazon basin, meaning rivers that flow from the Andes run strong and fast from these highlands down to the rainforest. This creates ideal conditions for rafting, so much so that just a few years ago the World Rafting Championship was held on the Quijos River, just northeast of Quito. Possible operators include:
- Imagine Ecuador: 16 de Diciembre St., Baños; (+593-2) 274-3472.
- Ríos Ecuador: (593 6) 288 6727 Tarqui 230 And Díaz de Pineda, Tena; (+593-2) 260-5828. From $65.
- Southern Explorations: Based in the United States; 877-784-5400. From $195.
Quito wraps around the Eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano that has two easily hikable peaks. The smaller peak, Ruku, makes for a great day hike if you get an early start (before the fog rolls in); begin by taking in the city on Quito's skytram, the TelefériQo ($4), from which there are markers for the three-hour round trip excursion.
Besides the actual Ruku walk, you will find countless paths which get outdoorsmen via Ecuador's numerous panoramas. Distinctive in order to Republic of ecuador may be the Meseta environment, the rugged, mossy area which is available within indeterminatezza between woods collection as well as snowfall collection in regarding 15, 000 ft, or even almost 3 kilometers higher. An ideal spot to encounter this particular landscape through walking within Papallacta, where one can have a six-hour walk which finishes in a assortment of very hot comes, where one can relax your own bone fragments as well as remain immediately within a cozy holiday resort. Trips could be self-guided, or even arranged using these providers:
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