Ecuador Family Holidays
You may have seen our recent blog post on Galapagos Islands for family holidays. Now with the help of our expert Julie we explore what there is to do on mainland Ecuador. It may surprise you as there is plenty to do without visiting the Galapagos Islands, although if time and budget allows we would always recommend combining both! Ecuador family holidays are guaranteed to please all the family.
What is there to do in Ecuador for the family?
Ecuador is the gateway to the Galapagos islands so it is perfect to incorporate it with the Galapagos and take in some fun activities. The options are endless. A real treat is to take a visit to the Mindo cloud forest and witness the beautiful Hummingbirds. The lodges attract them with sugar feeders so you are guaranteed to have a close up encounter. Here again you can take a hike to find many different species of exotic wildlife and happen upon some pretty cascades. For the more adventurous you can opt to conquer a canopy adventure featuring hanging bridges and ziplines through the forest.
The Amazon rainforest is a highlight for sure. A stay at Napo Wildlife Centre is a perfect way to get up close and personal with all sorts of wildlife. On your canoe ride you will spot howler monkeys, many different species of birds, caimen, if you are lucky a panther or jaguar, the list is endless. Any family will be enthralled with a walk around the jungle on forest trails, climbing the viewing towers to use the long lens telescopes to view from the tree tops. A visit to a local community to learn about their culture and sample some of their delicacies is a hands on lesson you can not learn at school.
For an amazing day trip you can take a train ride through the avenue of the volcanoes and witness the beautiful scenery of the steep mountains and impressive volcanoes. You can also choose to horse ride through the region and feed llamas at local farms. On arrival at Bolich station you can take a trip to Cotopaxi National park. Home to one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.
What is the level of accommodation like for a family?
There is a wide range of different accommodations available to suit all budgets and very family friendly.
For example, La Casona de la Ronda is such a calming Oasis in the middle of the city in Quito. I have had the pleasure of having dinner with the General Manager, who works far too hard and is always there to look after you! You can tell that all the food was home-made, a unique Ecuadorian boutique hotel. I would highly recommend this for families.
Alternatively the luxurious 5 star Casa Gangotena is a restored historic mansion overlooking the plaza in the old town and offers wonderful rooms in a great location, walking distance of many churches, markets and other historical buildings. It also has a great complimentary afternoon tea available for you everyday, a lovely way to end a day of site seeing.
If you happen to use Guayaquil as your Gateway to the Galapagos then I can’t recommend highly enough the boutique Hotel del Parque. It is on the banks of the dual river and is located inside the Parque Historico with many birds mammals and other animals in the nautural areas. A perfect place for a family stay. It is only a short 10 minute taxi ride from the airport so perfect as a stopover for a relaxing time. The food at the restaurant here is amazing with breakfast, lunch and dinner available.
All of the Amazon lodges we offer are authentic. They are in a traditional rainforest lodge style, built from wood, plenty of mosquito nets. There is often no air-conditioning and limited if any wi-fi, but this is part of your experience. The family won’t get bored of going to sleep with the sound of the rainforest in the background. Food is hearty and chefs will always cater for dietary requirements even in the depths of jungle.
What is there to do in Quito on a family holiday?
You can take a visit to the middle of the world in Quito which is a government owned park where you can stand on a yellow line that is painted on the ground and said to be precisely at earth’s midpoint. Quite unique. You can also take a guided city tour taking in Quito’s historic down town visiting it’s colonial churches and buildings, and heading to one of the city’s most prominent landmarks, Panecillo hill. The 200 meter high hill is where you will find the famous statue of the Virgin Mary with magnificent views which span the entire city. A wander around the Plaza de San Francisco with its many cafes restaurants and bars is a nice way to finish off your day.
Is it the right time of year to go in school holidays?
The school holidays would be a perfect time to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos, it is officially the driest time of the year in August and July with an average high of 80 degrees farenheit in the Galapagos and 70 degrees farenheit in Quito. Ecuador is year-round though, being so close to the equator temperatures do not vary too much so Easter and Christmas holidays are also good.