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   Destinations - Reader Reviews

The following reviews were submitted by a fellow TravelPage.com reader.

Ecuador: Galapagos Islands Quito, and the Amazon Basin

One of the most interesting ecotravel sites in the world is Ecuador. This small country is divided into 4 regions, which represent the coast, the Andes, the Amazon basin, and the Galapagos Islands. What is really outstanding, is that in two weeks, you can visit all four of these scenically and culturally diverse regions.

We suggest you begin by exploring the fascinating Galapagos Islands with their unique flora and fauna. Next return to the continent and visit Quito, the capital city of Ecuador and one of the most attractive cities of South America with its Spanish colonial district and modern area nestled in the Andes Mountains. While there you should consider taking a journey through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to visit one of the famous Indian markets of the Andes

Another truly captivating experience is the journey to the Amazon jungle, to visit and stay at the ecological reserve of Kapawi. This project demonstrates how a tourism enterprise can work with an indigenous group by sharing benefits and respecting the land and traditions of the people. The Kapawi project, a joint venture with the Achuar Indians, provides a new trend of Ecotourism with a minimum of cultural and environmental disturbances. The comfortable bungalows( not one nail was used!) and solar energy operated site, creates an inspiring venture deep in virgin Tropical Rain Forest.

After the Rain Forest consider a visit to the pristine coastline of Ecuador and Bahia de Caraquez, a beach town located a short distance from the Equator in one of the most scenic areas in coastal Ecuador. Bahia de Caraquez combines the remains of an ancient and rich cultural history with the activities of a 20th-century Latin American resort.

From Bahia de Caraquez you can explore other points of interest. Take a boat tour to The Bird Island Sanctuary, home to the largest colony of frigate birds on the continent. As a result of the convergence of the two most important ocean currents of western South America (the Humboldt and the Niño), this coastal region shares a similar ecosystem with that of the Galapagos Islands. There you can find fauna like whales, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies (a colony of these exist in the Caves of the Aposentos) and other species.

Getting There
You can get to Ecuador via direct flights from Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles in the US and from Europe with stopovers in Venezuela or the Caribbean. Saeta Airlines, an Ecuadorian based company with high quality service provides connections inside the country and has a very good tariff to the Galapagos Islands from Miami

To get to the Kapawi Ecological Reserve) you can either take a flight straight into the jungle or take a bus through the Andes. The bus trip starts in Quito, and goes through Latacunga, Ambato, Baños before eventually arriving in Shell. On the bus trip you will pass by the snow covered volcanoes, like the Cotopaxi ( the world's highest active volcano) , and visit one of the famous Indian markets of the Andes. After reaching Shell, you will board a 30 minute flight to Sharamenza on a 30 passenger plane. The flight rise high above the Amazon at 3500 to 4000 ft. and offer a unique view of the Primary Humid Forest. From Sharamenza you take a beautiful journey (1 and a half hours) in a motor canoe down to Kapawi.

From Quito it takes you an hour and a half to be on the Galapagos Islands. They lie on the Equator and are 600 miles (1000 km.) west of continental Ecuador

In Quito, you should stay at the Hotel Quito which has a beautiful view of the valley surrounding this colonial city, capital of Ecuador and provides easy access to the most important sites of the city.

At the Kapawi Reserve, you will stay at the lodge which offers excellent hotel facilities such as double rooms with private bath, illumination and hot water produced by solar energy.

In Bahia you can stay at comfortable hotels or beachfront bungalows.

Food and Service
At the Kapawi Reserve, there is even haute cuisine, in which native foods are combined with sauces from continental recipes.

The Galapagos archipelago is famous worldwide for its fearless and unique wildlife. During our visit we stopped at different islands daily and our cruise ship groups were divided into small groups which were accompanied by a naturalist guides.

At Kapawi, you can hike through primary virgin forest, canoe down the jungle rivers, view wildlife and visit, interact and learn with Achuar Indian communities and isolated families about their ancestral culture. The special location of the project guarantees the presence of extinct animal species in other areas, like the pink dolphin, the giant otter, the capibara and hundreds of bird species.

From Bahia you should visit Chirije (Chee-ree-hey), one of the most important archaeological sites of Ecuador. Surrounded by mountains and Dry Tropical Forest, Chirije was an ancient seaport (dating back to 300 B.C.), the remains of which can still be seen today. Now a center of permanent archaeological investigations with on-site museums and excavations, Chirije also offers secluded beaches and nature hikes catering to all types of tourists. Bahia also offers tours to the middle of the World, where the first monument was laid for the marking of the Equator, by the Geodesic survey team of scientists back in 1736. There are many other things to do, but basically it comes down to the time factor.

Lots of exercise if you want it hiking, canoeing and swimming.



For more information feel free to contact Patricio Tamariz Dueñas, Manager Bahia Dolphin Tours.

Calle Salinas
Edif. Dos Hemisferios.
P.O. Box # 25
Bahia de Caraquez
Tel: 593.5.692097 or 593.5.692086
Fax: 593.5.692088
E-mail archtour@srv1.telconet.net

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