Ecuador Travel Guide
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Luxury and the Galapagos Islands go together like peanut butter and jelly (it should be wrong, but it’s actually very right), so put your hands together for the opening of Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz island in the center of the Galapagos archipelago.
It’s a carbon neutral property, but green doesn’t mean grimy here – it’s a member of the Small Luxury Hotels group, and plonks 14 rooms amid 31 hectares of extinct volcanic craters, straddling the dry savanna of the national park and the tropical highland forest. There are also, of course, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.
The hotel runs land and sea tours, and there’s a restaurant, bar, pool and spa on site. So far so expected – what isn’t expected is the in-house giant tortoise reserve.
Ahh, to have the hotel habits of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. One minute they're stopping into a popular Hollywood haunt, the next they are off to the Galapagos Islands with their six kids (and presumably a few nannies and bodyguards) in tow.
People Mag reports the newly engaged couple and their kids have set up shop at the Royal Palm Hotel on the island of Santa Cruz. The hotel, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is the only luxury hotel that's actually located inside the Galapagos National Park. Reportedly, Brangelina and co. are staying in one of the hotel's 10 villas which are equipped with living rooms, dining areas with fireplaces, jacuzzis and covered outdoor decks off the bedrooms and living spaces.
Sure, there are plenty of skyscrapers in New York City, but can that compare with a thermal spa 10,824 feet above sea level?
After a long day droning away in a corporate cubicle, some R&R in a steaming natural bath sounds pretty excellent. Enter Termas de Papallacta Spa & Resort, roughly 40 miles due East from Quito. It sits in the Amazon region of Ecuador, lodged in between two volcanoes that naturally power the thermal springs that are this resort's primary draw.
Let's face it, delays on the MTA subway system pale against the power of a live volcano.
The Today Show is doing a week long series on "the Ends of the Earth" and managed to remind us of a cool eco-hotel, the Red Mangrove Inn in the Galapagos, this morning.
We have talked about this hotel before, but now it is time to add it to our Best Green Hotels map. Claudio Dominguez, who owns the inn, built the place in an environmentally conscious way to protect the wild mangrove trees surrounding the property. The inn is near Puerto Ayora, and the 12 rooms have built-in platform beds plus bathrooms that are almost carved into the indigenous rock.
While the hotel is not 5 star earth killing comfort, this place is far from roughing it. There is a sushi bar on-site, 4x4 trips are offered, surfing, scuba diving, and boat trips are also available via the hotel -- all with perfectly acceptable carbon footprints, of course.
We didn't even know there were Hilton Hotels in Ecuador but apparently there are and they are finishing up some major renovations.
The Hilton Colon Guayaquil got a $3 million renovation of its 255 rooms and 39 suites. Meanwhile, the Hilton Colon Quito spent $2 million converting 92 of the La Pinta tower rooms into 42 suites, as well as building a separate private lounge in the tower.
Both hotels will have new amenities such as:
the Hilton Serenity Bed, new furniture, Cuisinart coffee makers and flat screen TVs.
The Hilton Guayaquil renos are completed and the Colon Quito renos should be completed by October 31st.
· Hotels in Ecuador [HotelChatter]
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving companies dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway--at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
In this episode, Hotel Maven Amanda K heads to Ecuador. Enjoy.
Being in the mood for something a little more exotic just at the moment, a recent article in Go World Travel caught my eye. It made the Hacienda Pinsaqui in the mountain highlands of Ecuador sound particularly attractive.
Found just an hour and a half away from Ecuador's capital, Quito, the Hacienda Pinsaqui is an old manor home turned small hotel. Its 20 rooms look something like this:
Each large, airy suite is outfitted with French and Spanish antiques, sheepskin rugs and fireplaces or wood stoves. Floral canopies arch between the four posters of many beds; claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms invite travelers to a respite.
Sounds special. What also sounds great is the local touches, like the Andean band that plays each evening in the cellar bar and the traditional foods served up in the restaurant. On top of that, double rooms start at $108 including breakfast, which is more than reasonable. I think I'd use it as a base for exploring this pretty region, including the lakes, the Imbabura Volcano just above it and the famous Otavalo market nearby.
· Spontaneous Spin to the Equator [Jaunted]
· Andean Retreat [Go World Travel]
· Hotels in Ecuador [HotelChatter]
It's got a cute name, which helps a lot. On top of that, it's got high environmental principles and is located in the Ecuadorian Andes. Perhaps that's reason enough to check in to the Black Sheep Inn near the village of Chugchilán in Ecuador. It's just had a renovation so that more of its 9 rooms have private bathrooms, but the eco-Ecuadorian character is still there.
What's green about the Black Sheep? The food is a good start--room rates include a gourmet vegetarian dinner and an organic farm breakfast. They also have recycling systems in place that, they say, result in zero waste--one of the owners was even elected to be the "King of Garbage" for the village. And if you're still not convinced, they have a long ecological statement to help out.
The Black Sheep caters for backpackers in bunks from $25 per night, moving up to double rooms with private bathrooms for $50 a night per person, always including dinner and breakfast. Plus you get use of the yoga room, wood-fired sauna, weightlifting area and even a water slide into the pond!
[View from Black Sheep Inn: mknowles]
· At The Black Sheep Inn [TravelPod]
It's hardly a state secret that there are hotels in the Galápagos, thanks to very occasional travel articles like this in the New York Times, from, yikes, November 1993. Just last year, Hotel Chatter reported that The Finch Bay Hotel, one of the Galapagos' finest, had won a World Travel Award as Ecuador's Best Resort.
Yet somehow, when people talk of Galápagos goings, we think first of yachts, cruises, anything but landlubber lodgings. Maybe that's because the very idea of hotels, apparently several dozen of them, seems a bit untoward for this pristine and protected archipelago. But the thought of staying on terra firma in the Galápagos has a certain appeal, tug as it might at our eco-conscience.
Los Alpes Hotel View
Jaunted is back with their episode recap and Amazing Race All Star Map while we search out a place for our tired Racers to lay their heads.
In last night's premiere episode Phil and CBS decided to have the racers stay in a make shift barracks outside Pim's Restaurant in Quito Ecuador.
Cots? Aren't these suppose to be All Stars? We know the casting was a touch suspect to say the least, but let's put these folks up in a comfortable upscale hostel shall we?
Los Alpes is a family run hotel with 24 rooms. The hotel is not a five star joint to stay the least, however, all the rooms are en-suite, there is a bar, a restaurant, a cafe, and free WiFi.
Think about it CBS, you could have taken over the entire hotel for a night for less than $2,000. Aren't your reality "stars" worth it.
Oh, and one more thing, Los Alpes is directly across from the US embassy, just in case.
When you go to the Galapagos Islands it seems like you should be staying in a hut or maybe even on a boat. But, an ecologically friendly hotel is a much better idea. The Finch Bay Eco Hotel has taken the cake with awards. It won "Ecuador's Best Resort" by the World Travel Awards and gets nods for its earth friendly ideals and service. As if that isn't enough, the past guest reviews are about as good as they get.
What does a hotel have to do to be ecologically friendly? Well it's a little more than just offering you the option of not having your towel washed daily:
The Hotel was built using natural, environmentally friendly materials; it has direct access to the beach, a great pool and exterior Jacuzzi. It takes advantage of the natural light with large windows, uses solar panels for energy and an efficient ecological system for waste disposal. The hotel has its own desalinization plant for a permanent supply of pure water.
You don't really need to have a lot of wasteful gadgets to entertain you here. The beach and the weird animals should be entertainment enough. Plus staying here will make you feel good about yourself, like you're helping the environment and stuff.
· Finch Bay Eco Hotel wins travel award as Ecuador's Best Resort [Real Travel]
· Finch Bay Eco Hotel Reviews [TripAdvisor]