ECUADOR SENSES TOUR
What is a “Senses” Tour?
Collect moments, not things. In this age of enlightenment, many travelers are drawn to our new approach to travel: Senses Tours. With an emphasis on flexibility and personalization, Senses Tours are designed around the client’s individual tastes.
All five senses are awakened through art, community, culinary creations, culture, history, music, nature, self-awareness, and wellness. Carefully curated experiences are laced together to create a travel tapestry that inspires new awareness within yourself and your travel companions. Do as little or as much as you like with your valuable time. With the help of our expert travel advisors, come home rejuvenated and appreciative of the planet we call home.
ACCOMMODATIONS IN ECUADOR
Mashpi Lodge is a nature lover’s delight. Set amid the 3,200-acre Mashpi Reserve, the property is surrounded by the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest. Hiking trails lead guests past gushing waterfalls, lush greenery and wild inhabitants, including hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, jungle frogs and even pumas.
Hotel de Parque
This luxurious boutique property, set in the midst of the botanical gardens of Parque Historico, is Guayaquil’s finest hotel. Enjoy relaxing in the 19th-century property’s stylish, spacious rooms and gorgeous patios; admire its historical features; and see Ecuadorian wildlife in the on-site animal sanctuary.
In a unique setting on the crater of an extinct volcano, 450 meters above sea level, eco-friendly Pikaia Lodge provides guests with the unique opportunity to explore the fascinating natural heritage of the Galapagos Islands while staying in sheer comfort. The hotel operates daily land and sea tours on their private yacht, has its own giant tortoise reserve as well as a beautiful pool, a gourmet restaurant, a bar and a relaxing spa.
Ecoventura M/V Origin
The 20-passenger M/V Origin is like a floating boutique hotel. All 10 cabins are on the same deck, there’s an open bar policy, Wi-Fi is available onboard, and there’s a a clear-bottom zodiac (an amenity normally found only on larger boats) to transport you ashore. A unique hull design means this ship is also one of the most fuel-efficient in the Galápagos. In 2018, the boat will offer hosted departures with marine biologist Jack Grove, a wellness sailing with a yoga instructor, meditation and rieki, a photographer-hosted sailing, and a chef-hosted sailing.
La Casona de la Ronda
A graceful white and cream façade encloses this 22-room sanctuary, away from the animation of Quito Old Town’s main nightlife strip right outside. Thick 18th-century walls, a plant-draped atrium, large heavily-shuttered rooms and courteous staff help create a venerable city-centre oasis.
ENJOY A CULINARY SAFARI IN QUITO
As you tour Ecuador, let us plan a culinary safari to the best restaurants in Quito. Here are just a few examples.
Try chef Daniel Maldondo’s Cocina Local Experience which hosts flavors from Ecuador’s four different regions. “A culinary journey where you can taste food that carries our history.”
This restaurant boasts one of the best tasting menus that includes crab, octopus and duck confit. This is the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant in Ecuador meaning luxury is the standard here.
AMAZING ADVENTURES IN ECUADOR
Verano de las Artes (Summer of the Arts)
Each August Quito hosts this extravaganza of theater, music and art each summer. Some of the events highlights include: Sal Quiteña; the Festival of Lights; and the showcasing of other arts, culture and theatre and dance segments. (Art Music Cuisine Culture)
Salsa the Night Away
Take a salsa lesson then hit Lavoe or Cafe Democratico in Quitos and dance the night away. (Culture Music)
Step out of your room into a thermal hot springs that wind through the hotel, Papallacta is one of the most relaxing places in Ecuador. (Wellness)
The Art of the San Diego Convent
The Convent, San Diego was the first place for spiritual retreat in Ecuador, founded by the Franciscan Order in 1597. The convent holds unique pieces of great interest putting together different cultures and decades of art and history. (Art Culture History)
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate
Our destination is the town of Archidona, best known for its Agro Tourism Community Projects and where you will visit working farms and local communities to experience the chocolate making process from start to finish. You will enjoy a great chocolate cooking class with many varieties of this native delicacy. Then relax with the amazing antioxidant properties of chocolate, as you enjoy a skin moisturizing Chocolate Body Wrap spa treatment. (Cuisine Culture Wellness)
Horse Guided Empowerment Experience
Stay in a lavish colonial hacienda built in 1790, once the favorite resting place of Simon Bolivar. While there you will experience a unique interaction with horses, Christina Marz, professional psychologist and natural horsemanship expert, will take you to a new level of self-awareness using horses. (Self History Wellness)
Otavalo Hat Making
You get a hands-on experience by visiting local homes – workshops to learn how the famous Otavalo textiles are woven. Spending time with a family who runs a hat-making workshop out of their home. (Culture Community)
Shamanic Cleanliness Experience
An important location for centuries, Zuleta is one of the two best-preserved mound sites of the ancient Caranqui people in Ecuador which was a ceremonial location for Caranqui pre-Inca culture chiefs. You will experience an Andean cleanliness experience with a local shaman and medicinal plants at this pre Inca pyramid. (Culture History Wellness)
Galapagos Islands Adventure
Venture deep into the land of Darwin, as you explore the Galapagos Islands in style. Aboard the iconic M/Y Grace, formerly Grace Kelly’s royal honeymoon yacht, you will explore the islands as they put on a display that evidences the Origins of life. (history/nature)
- Explore the flora and fauna of the most unique islands in the world.
- Snorkel or dive with the diverse aquatic wildlife including sea lions, penguins and iguanas
Ecuadorian Festivals to Entice Your Senses
La Diablada de Pillaro (The Devils of Pillaro) – January
This bizarre celebration is held in Píllaro (north of Tungurahua Province, near Banos City) between the 1st and the 6th of January of each year. Thousands of imps take the streets to dance in the Diablada. The party gathers the whole town and foreigners alike. The three main characters are the devil, guaricha and capariche. The beauty of the ceremony lays o its origin which comes from the colonial era and evokes the indigenous and mestizo rebellion against the Catholic religion. The devil costume is a disguised rejection to the preaching of the priests, as well as the physical, economic, psychological and moral abuse that came for the Spanish.
Carnival – February or March
The actual festival of Carnival usually happens on Monday and Tuesday 40 days before Easter. In Ecuador, the festival incorporates some of the indigenous traditions such as throwing flowers, water balloons and flour. It is the Catholic tradition of celebration and abundance before fasting. Carnival is held throughout Ecuador.
Semana Santa – Easter
Held during the Holy Week of Easter a deeply theatrical tradition, iconic characters in a procession recreating Christ’s journey to the cross. Plan to be in Quito during his period, catch one of the multiple processions and immerse yourself in tradition. However, the not to miss event is the the Jesus del Gran Poder Procession taking place in the lovely historical center of Quito.
Inty Raymi – June & July
The Sun Festival (Inti Raymi) celebrations take place during the months of June and July, however the major party id held on June 2st . A deeply Andean tradition, the Sun Festival begins with the sunset of the longest night of the year. As soon as the Andean summer begins, Inti Raymi is a celebration and gratitude to the sun. The party involves traditional dances (San Juan) and drinks (Chicha de Jora). A colorful and joyful event, symbolizing new beginnings.
The Yamor Festival – September
The Corn Festival is a celebration of the intercultural peoples of Otavalo. It blends the celebration of Koya Raymi (the ritual of the moon and the sun as elements of fertility) with Catholic traditions. The word “Yamor” refers to a traditional beverage, which is brewed using seven varieties of corn and is unique to this area. This beverage runs freely during the festivities. The indigenous groups of Kichwa Cayambi and Kichwa Otavalo honour the Andean agricultural cycle , with a special attention to corn, which is considered to be a symbol of fertility. The festivities include processions, music, dancing in the streets, fireworks, cock fighting, mock bull fighting and lots of fun.
La Mama Negra Festival – September/November
This festival occurs in the town of Latacunga at the end of September and again in November and is one of the oldest celebrations in the city. The festival was established in 1742 after the eruption of the Cotapaxi volcano the town prayed to the Virgin of Mercy to spare them. When the town escaped the wrath of Cotapaxi the celebration was started. The streets are filled with imaginary characters giving out candy, blessings and a local brew.
The Burning of el Año Viejo – December 31st
The Ecuadorians celebrate New Years Eve a number of ways but one of the most unique and amusing is the burning of the Ano Viejo (old year) doll. The burning of the dolls signify out with the loss of the old year and all that goes with it. Las Viudas (The Widows) are the stars during this celebration. Men dressed as women personify the viudas, mourning for the Año Viejo Puppet.