Highlights of Ecuador 

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 28 / October 2017

October greetings to you all,

As summer fades, my thoughts turn to those places further afield where the elements tend to be a bit more consistent.  Ecuador & the Galapagos offers just that; pretty much the same agreeable weather year-round in a compact but enormously diverse country.   Steve travelled around recently to explore some special places in this gentle yet stunning part of South America.

Laterally yours,


Mainland Ecuador is often overshadowed by its famous Galapagos Archipelago, however we strongly recommend exploring this wonderfully compact country for its mix of wildlife, culture and adventure.  Quito, its high-altitude capital, is a classic Spanish colonial city of the first order.  The highlands of Ecuador have some stylish and comfortable haciendas from which to trek or bike or horseride into the lush countryside.  A short plane hop and a motorboat down the Amazon will take you to a jungle lodge deep in pristine rainforest where you can see sloths, tapirs and gaudily-coloured parrots and toucans.  End your trip in the Galapagos where you can get up close with ancient giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies.

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Ecuador’s capital is an urban jewel bursting with treasures of art and classic Spanish-colonial architecture.  Quito’s colonial quarter is one of the largest and best preserved in South America. Its setting is beautiful; at an altitude of nearly 3,000 metres, nestled in the Andes Mountains and the snow-capped Pichincha volcano, the city is a vibrant amalgam of modernity and the traditional culture of the local Andean people.  Handicrafts are displayed on street corners and in ramshackle shops and you will see women in thick woollen clothing and felt hats queuing for bus tickets. Stay at magical Hacienda Rumiloma, a small paradise just a short hop from the city centre.

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Otavalo Highlands: Hacienda Piman

Located high up in the Andes, Hacienda Piman is a gorgeous 17th century building with a palpable sense of history. The 17 rooms are littered with antiques and are spread between the original house and a series of newer cottages with expansive windows, high ceilings and large balconies. The organic garden provides many of the ingredients lovingly made into home-cooked meals.  Relax in the bar or garden terrace to take in stunning views of the surrounding mountains. These are a perfect playground for hiking and mountain biking, while gentler pursuits include visits to the colourful market at Otavalo or the El Angel Ecological Reserve. Taking the train from lbarra to the Afro-Ecuadorian community of Salinas is quite an experience.

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The Amazon: Napo Wildlife Centre

For those who want to penetrate the deepest heart of the Amazonian rainforest Napo Wildlife Centre is ideal.  Napo is the only lodge in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park, rich with extraordinary wildlife and vibrant local culture.

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The Cloudforest: Mashpi Lodge

If you want to see jungle and cloudforest but are also accustomed to a certain degree of luxury, Mashpi Lodge could be just right.  This sophisticated and strikingly-contemporary lodge is designed as the ideal springboard for exploring the biodiverse world of its reserve. A hideaway in the clouds only accessible to its guests and located on a high plateau, Mashpi Lodge features views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other through its floor-to-ceiling glass windows.  The wonders waiting at Mashpi Lodge will delight the worldliest nature lover.

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Galapagos, part of Ecuador, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Of course, there are plenty of boats to take you around its many astounding and varied islands.  Whilst many love an adventure on the sea there is a great alternative in Galapagos Safari Camp, from where you can set out each day from your comfortable room after a good night’s sleep on dry land, like these chaps.

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Up Periscope

On the back of lawyer Geoff Steward’s sabbatical trip in 2016, he wrote a humorous account of his sojourn through the US & Costa Rica with wonderful anecdotes about the people he encountered.

In Search of Nice Americans

Has just been published and is well worth the light-hearted read for any travel enthusiast:



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