Posts Tagged ‘ecuador travel’

Sustainable Cruising in the Galapagos

Sustainable Cruising on the Galapagos

Sustainable Cruising on MV Origin 

Sustainable cruising. It’s something we like to promote because, in addition to trains, it’s a great way to make the journey the destination. Plus, who doesn’t want to see big turtles in style? To that end, Ecoventura, a leader in sustainable cruising through the Galapagos Islands, has just announced inaugural departures for its newest premium class vessel, MV Origin, whose maiden voyage departs from San Cristobal Island on January 17, 2016. 
The newest and only vessel of its kind, MV Origin is positioned to redefine the cruising experience by combining modern sophistication with environmental responsibility, alternating between seven-night A & B itineraries to reduce the impact of visits to the islands’ most popular sites.  On January 17, MV Origin will join Ecoventura’s existing fleet on the B itinerary through the northwestern route. Its maiden voyage on the A itinerary departs on January 24, taking guests around the southern central route through the islands. Both itineraries include daily, personalized excursions with optional snorkel and kayak tours led by two onboard, certified naturalists.
A snapshot of the islands

A snapshot of the islands

The 20-passenger mega-yacht (we must admit, we love anything that marries sustainability… with mega-yachtdom) will feature 10 deluxe staterooms distributed throughout one deck, and a variety of onboard amenities designed especially for the discerning traveler. These will include locally inspired gourmet cuisine, and recreational equipment such as a Jacuzzi and fitness center. MV Origin will also feature expansive indoor and outdoor social and observation areas allowing for easy comfortable viewing of the islands’ unique scenery and topography.  
Rates for 2016 start at $6,500 per person, but are all inclusive. Based on double occupancy, that means all meals and snacks, Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail, all alcoholic beverages, guided shore excursions, snorkel equipment and sea kayaks, as well as transfers in the islands between the airport and dock.

We think that sounds pretty pretty (Dar)winning to us!

Ecuador & Eco-Travel Voluntourism

The Amazing Yasuni National Park

In the mood for a little eco-travel and voluntourism? Brand spankin’ new programs in the field of international volunteering have just been launched… hurrah! United Planet, a leader in the field, has recently added to its offerings in the beloved country of resource rich Ecuador. United Planet is an international non-profit based in Boston that strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. Their global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.

Sue, a Nurse, Volunteering in Ecuador

Over the past ten years, they’ve worked with local communities all over the world to find meaningful work for volunteer travelers; and have placed thousands of volunteers in those communities to live and work – for periods ranging from a week to a year. Volunteers may now work with wildlife/animals in the Amazon; indigenous people in the Amazon jungle; or in environmental conservation in the Galapagos.

Amazon River Dolphin!

These programs supplement the long-standing and popular programs in Quito and the Cloud Forest, where volunteers can work with children (teaching, childcare, working with at-risk youth);healthcare; or on environmental projects. We likey. Did we mention our father-in-law has lived there for the last 20 years. Ecuador is one of those still-off-the-beaten-track countries for mainstream tourists so it’s managed to hold onto it’s indigenous culture (and it’s inexpensive prices), unlike some it’s competitors.

Why are these new programs so great? you ask.

Because volunteers ‘get to experience more of Ecuador’s diversity,’ says Theresa Higgs, Vice President of Global Operations at United Planet. “United Planet is looking to provide its volunteers with new experiences in a variety of projects. Ecuador is a wonderful place for almost anyone seeking to volunteer: it’s easy to get to, the dollar is strong, and the people are famous for their warmth and hospitality. ”

At the Wildlife Project, volunteers have the opportunity to care for animals that have suffered from maltreatment or been victims of animal trafficking. Volunteers can work at an Animal Rescue Center and help protect the wildlife of Ecuador’s Amazon. Volunteers also have the opportunity to island-hop through the Galapagos.  At Tortuga Bay, they can observe marine iguanas and turtles, sharks and hike through an ecologically diverse rainforest. If they’re looking to relax, volunteers can enjoy the stretches of white-sand beaches.

The White Sand Beaches of Tortuga Bay - Galapagos Islands

In Floreana, volunteers will be exposed to the history of the island, having the opportunity to explore caves once inhabited and used by pirates. Snorkeling in the crystal bay after a day of new discoveries in the caves is also available. At the Charles Darwin station, volunteers will continue to explore the history of the Galapagos and enjoy the clear-water that yields sights of reef sharks. There is also a chance to see colonies of Galapagos Penguins who have recently been relocated to this site.

So, I don’t know about you, but taking off to give and receive some Amazonian love sounds really good right about now.

Are you a Smart Voyager?

Costa Rica: Lapa Rios Tropical Adventure

We think if you’re on our site reading this, chances are, you’re not only one sexy babe, but you’re also a smart traveler. To that end, we wanted to share this fall travel deal.  Check it:

Wildland Adventures opens two of its global classrooms with, in these tough times, value added packages. We likey (and, apparently, so do those cute kiddies).

Explore the Galapagos living laboratory until the end of November aboard the popular Smart Voyager certified yachts the Eric, Flamingo or Letty, and save up to $500.00 per person. The voluntary Smart Voyager program minimizes impact on the fragile Galapagos eco-system and contributes to habitat conservation. Travelers learn from naturalist guides how exotic and bizarre wildlife evolved over time, then explore by sea kayak, hike cinder cones, experience lava flows, and snorkel the crystal-clear Ecuadorian waters.  Take us with you! The Galapagos 11-day package starts at US$3,795.00 for adults and $3,195.00 for kids before the added $500 savings. Families can also book a private Galapagos charter, December 24 to January 3, starting at $3,750.00 per person.

Costa Rica’s rainforests have also long been a favorite classroom for flora, fauna and wildlife lovers.  So, from now until December 14, 2010, travellers can save up to $225.00 per person on a premiere Costa Rican  Lapa Rios Tropical Adventure; offering a nine-day immersion into the rainforest, with accommodation at one of the most beautiful eco-lodges in the world. Travelers also get the opportunity to witness several species of wildcats, and learn how to keep them protected. Between November 28 to December 14, you can participate in the Wildcat Research and Conservation to work with local researchers fighting to protect theses amazing animals.  We sure love dem kittehs. Package rates start at $2,975.00 per person, before the added savings.


Ecuador’s Eco-Lodge in the Clouds

Built in the Ecuadorian cloud forest outside of Quito around previously existing trees, the Mindo Eco-Lodge is about as authentic as you can get, allowing guests to rest in open-air areas, protected from the rain by an arcade running all around.

On the roof, you’ll find a terrace with a panoramic view of la selva (the jungle, baby!), while an onsite restaurant serves up local and Italian, dedicated to residents so it’s never going to be very crowded or noisy.

But the best part about the location is the bird watching along the trails of their Reserve.  With the assistance of a local guide specialized in bird watching in the Cloud Forest of Mindo, he will follow you along the trails showing the main characteristics of the Cloud forest so you can leave knowing all about the Velvet-Purple Coronet, the Antthrush, the Long-wattled Umbrella bird, and a bit more about the jungle than when you came.

Wherever possible, they use local services and encourage guests to buy local products as well. Providing employment of local population and guides, they’re respect the typical regional architectural style and thus, they’ve reflected it in their building; natural woods, thatch, and the occasional vibrant fabric reminiscent of the local tribes. Though we wouldn’t say this is ‘roughing it’, it certainly isn’t your five star marble experience, but that’s why we like it.

In terms of green techniques, energy and water efficient methods are place, along with waste prevention. “We garden with traditional and native species to maintain the local environment and also offer guiding services with attention to sustainability and offer information on sustainability in promotion material,” their manager explains.

To that end, they have environmental, nature, and local cultural education activities for visitors and environmental seminars for Ecuadorian schools.

How to get there, you ask?

By bus: Take a bus from the Terminal Terrestre bus station in Quito, any bus bound for Pacto, Puerto Quito, San Miguel de los Bancos or Mindo is ok. When the bus reaches Nanegalito tell the driver that you want to stop at Km72 (Primero de Mayo).

They will be waiting for you there. Of course, you’ll have to call before leaving Quito.

By car: Leave Quito on the new highway to Esmeraldas via Calacali. Travel to km 72. At Km72 turn right and follow the road for 3 km and You’ll reach the sign of the entrance of the Reserve.

Transfer service: This might be the easiest way for weary gringos. You can book their Transfer Service and they’ll come pick you up in Quito wherever you prefer.

Tours in the Cloudforest of Mindo, from US $200 – US $500 (3-6 days)

Guided tours to the beauty and mystery of the Cloudforest of Mindo. Depending on length of trip, we have a day dedicated to birdwatching, a day to visit the Ceremonial Site of Tulipe (los Yumbos) and the Garden of Butterflies in Mindo.

Birdwatching in the valley of Mindo, Ecuador, from US $550 – US $850 (6 days)

We’ll walk the Reserve trails and walk along the Mindo River, a great place to birdwatch. Species include Velvet-Purple Coronet, Giant Antpitta, Rufous-breasted Antthrush and Long-wattled Umbrellabird, amoungst others. We visit the Ecoroute El Paseo del Quinde, the Cloudforest of Reserva Ecologica Pachijal, the Lek of the Cock-of-the-Rock and bird sanctuaries in Milpe and Rio Silanche.

Birdwatching in the Cloudforest of Mindo, from US $125 – US $300 (2-4 days)

Birding packages accompanied by a local guide and a specialised, licensed guide for those who want to come to Mindo to watch birds, as main activity, due to the fact that Mindo is one of the best known places all over the world for birdwatching. Depending on tour length, take excursions to the lek of the Cock-of-the-rock, the Ecoroute Paseo del Quinde and the Birds Sanctuary of Milpe.

A Collage of Andean and Tropical Ecuador, from $1600 (12 days)

Why not try our Adventure & Community tourism package, combining the diversity of nature and scenery exploring the trails of the Cloud forest with the culture of the Ceremonial Site of Tulipe and traditional shops selling handicrafts in Las Tola. Bird watch in Mindo and relax on the beach at the Ocean of Rio Verde. Regenerate in the falls at Playa de Oro, dance to marimba music and sail the Santiago river. Finish off the tour at Otavalo’s market, the largest indigenous market in South America.

From US $50 – US $100 per person per night.

Prices depend on number of people in the group and there are discounts for children.

%d bloggers like this: