How to sell: Ecuador
The timeless appeal of the Galapagos Islands, featuring on a new Ewan McGregor TV show and a new app for tourists, cuador has a lot going for it right now, says
Why sell it now?
Ecuador is one of those lesser-understood but up-and-coming destinations that remains mostly 'unknown'. Tiny relative to its neighbours Peru and Colombia, Ecuador packs a lot into a small space – you can visit colonial towns, authentic markets, historic haciendas, a unique cloudforest, the Amazon rainforest and, of course, the iconic Galapagos Islands in one country.
Ecuador will feature in a new TV series – Long Way Up – with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, so expect a spike in interest when it airs later this year.
Who to sell to?
The extraordinary variety of endemic wildlife in the rain forest makes a visit to Mindo a must for nature lovers.
For many the Galapagos is a once-ina-lifetime destination, which makes the islands a very easy sell, despite their relative priciness compared to mainland Ecuador. The Galapagos is also a surprisingly good option for families – as anyone who watched Monty Halls’ My Family and the Galapagos series on Channel 4 now knows.
Being able to get up close and personal with wildlife is a huge draw for parents with young kids. And for scuba divers the The Galapagos offers fabulous diving and the chance to swim with hammerhead sharks, sea lions, whale sharks, sun fish, endemic Galapagos sharks and turtles.
What to sell?
No trip to mainland Ecuador is complete without a visit to the Mindo cloudforest and rainforest in the north of the country, which has such biodiversity that new species are still being found. There are plenty of eco-lodges to stay in, including Mashpi Lodge, which sits in the heart of the forest and offers a range of activities to get close to wildlife.
Two and a half hours' flight time from Quito, the volcanic Galapagos islands are one of the few places in the world where animals are not afraid of humans. The only way to see the islands is by boat, and there are numerous operators.
All international flights land in Quito, a well-situated city with its large and wellpreserved historic centre. Quito was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.
Hotel Illam, a new high-end boutique hotel (illaexperiencehotel.com), has opened in a former colonial mansion in San Marcos, Quito. The neighbourhood is famous for its writers, artists and musicians.
Lindblad Expeditions is sailing a series of one-week Galapagos cruises in 2018 and 2019 while Ecuador specialist Metropolitan Touring (metropolitan-touring.com) has refurbished its 40-passenger Galapagos yacht, Isabela II.
Quito Tourism (quitotravel.ec) has launched an app which acts as a virtual guide, offering information about key tourism attractions and must-see city sights.
When to sell it?
Right on the Equator, Ecuador is warm yearround. However, it does have two distinct seasons – the dry season, which runs from June to September, and the wet season from October to May.
The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is December to May, when temperatures range from the mid-20s to early-30s, making it easier for hiking, trekking and wildlife spotting.
The temperature in Quito, in the foothills, has a year-round average of 13C.
THE SWING AT THE END OF THE WORLD AT CASA DEL ARBOL, A SEISMIC MONITORING STATION
GUAYAQUIL, A PACIFIC PORT CITY