Are you considering taking a trip for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year? Still don’t know where to go? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider getting out of your comfort zone and visit Ecuador this November and December:
1. The Perfect Weather
Puerto Chino, Galápagos. Photo by Jonathan Green.
Do you hate spending the holidays in the cold winter weather? Ecuador is the place to escape to. The country is well known for its eternal spring-like weather. Being located in the “navel of the world” the seasons are not as marked as they are in the northern and southern hemispheres. This lets you enjoy a sunny beach practically any day of the year.
2. No Currency Exchange (US)
Would you like to buy some traditional crafts and unique gifts for you family and friends, but you’re concerned about having to switch your money to another currency? If you use the US dollar you don’t have to worry about that in Ecuador! In the late 1990’s the country switched out currency to the US dollar which makes it easy for travelers from all around the world to visit.
3. Short and Safe Trips
Road to El Boliche. Cotopaxi Volcano behind. Photo courtesy of Tren Ecuador.
Don’t want to spend hours on cars and airplanes to see a new place? Ecuador is a small country with excellent roads and airports. You can travel back and forth between any of its four regions relatively quickly. Recently the country also reopened the old railroads. They are now used as touristic routes that offer beautiful sceneries and experiences.
4. Megadiverse Country
Toucan in the Choco Rainforest. Photo courtesy of Mashpi Lodge.
Have you had enough of squirrels and pigeons? Ecuador is in the list of the 17 most megadiverse countries in the world. You will be amazed by the quantity and variety of flora, fauna and ecosystems you can find in such a small area. Mindo Cloud Forest, near the Andean Region, has some of the most colorful and amazing wildlife of the country and the world.
5. Cultural Festivities
Huma Devil leading a traditional festivity. Photo courtesy of Quito Turismo.
Want more than a Christmas tree and mall shopping? Ecuador has a lot to offer in terms of cultural festivities during this particular time of the year. As a culture conquered by the Spanish it has a multitude of religious/indigenous festivities year-round. Some popular celebrations in the last months of the year are:
Fiestas de Quito, the commemoration of independence of Ecuador’s capital, Quito. The city bursts in cultural events like open air concerts, theater plays, parades, wooden cart competitions, gastronomic festivals and fireworks, to name a few.
El Pase del Niño, a tradition full of color and joy in the city of Cuenca. It is one of the biggest catholic processions of the country. About 70000 people go out to the streets to accompany a religious painting of the Holy Child as its being moved from church to church. The celebrations start at 10 AM and end approximately at 3 PM.
Quema de Monigotes in Guayaquil. New Year in this Pacific Coast city is a time to burn, literally burn, the bad events that happened in the year. Local people build paperboard “dolls” of their favorite characters; political figures, cartoons, relatives, etc. Some of them are huge and take months to make, so builders start early in the year. Before 12 AM of New Year Eve families and friends burn the dolls as a ritual to get rid of the bad things that happened in the year and welcome the good ones to come.
6. Kind People
La Ronda Street, Quito. Photo courtesy of Quito Turismo.
Is the big city life stressing you out? Too many people in a hurry and in a bad mood? We can change that. Ecuadorians love foreign people and are extremely hospitable. When you enter a small food store or a luxury hotel restaurant you will be warmly welcomed. Because of the festivities people are happier and can’t wait to make you feel at home.
7. Secret Back Roads
Backroad to Devil’s Nose, Alausí. Photo courtesy of Tren Ecuador.
Don’t want to spend your time in long lines to see an attraction? Ecuador has lots of alternative roads where you can avoid masses of tourists. The roads of the Andean Region offer some of the most spectacular views of paramo vegetation, mountains and volcanoes.
8. Its Capital, Quito
View of Colonial Quito from coffee shop balcony. Photo by Senderos Naturales.
If you love the modern life in your home city, but have a nostalgic feeling for the past, Quito offers both! The capital of Ecuador has all the modern facilities of a big city, but it also has the biggest colonial old city of Latin America. Quito was one of the first cities to be declared as World Cultural Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1978 along with the city of Kraków in Poland. Another great reason to visit the city is its strategic location. With the pacific coast and the Galápagos Islands in the west, Colombia up north and Perú in the east/south it’s a perfect point to discover these other interesting points of South America.
9. Adventure Travel
Waterfall rappelling in Mindo. Photo courtesy of Quito Turismo.
Opening the presents near the Christmas tree may not be as extreme as all the adventures you can have in Ecuador. Kayaking, rafting, trekking, climbing, camping, biking, horseback riding, snorkeling, diving…
10. Luxury with Nature
Luxury accommodation in the rainforest, Mashpi Lodge. Photo courtesy of Mashpi Lodge.
Experiencing luxury in the middle of the rainforest, the Pacific Ocean or the Andes Mountain Range is not something you typically do on a normal holiday trip. The last five years the country has exploded with a variety of luxury services and establishments. Some of them have international awards and are constantly improving their services to be the top of the top. Imagine waking up in a warm king sided bed, taking a bath in designer’s bathtub and having a wonderful breakfast while admiring the magical rainforest that surrounds your suite.
So what are you waiting for to plan your holiday trip to Ecuador!?