Hidden Places in Ecuador

Those special, hidden places in Ecuador that only the locals know about are awaiting your discovery.  Secret beaches with endless stretches of white sand, secluded hideaways, jungle retreats rich with rare orchids, birds and butterflies -- Ecuador has it all.  The entire country of Ecuador is a treasure trove of little-known jewels, some seldom visited even by locals. 

The Poor Man’s Galapagos

A great many people have heard of the Galapagos Islands.  But how many know that there is another place in Ecuador known as the poor man’s Galapagos? 

It is much more accessible, less expensive and is home to many of the same species found on the Galapagos Islands. Click here to learn more about Isla de la Plata, AKA poor man's Galapagos.

Kashama:  A Pastel Jungle Hideaway

Some of the hidden places in Ecuador are so unique they defy description.  Tucked away in the jungle 30 kilometers north of Santo Domingo is a magical hideaway known as “Kashama.”   

It’s a fairyland of pastel-colored buildings curving sinuously up the hillsides and cliffs that surround a limpid pool and dramatic waterfall.  You can pamper yourself with a variety of therapeutic and cosmetic treatments, including body and facial massage, reflexology, hydro-therapy and aromatherapy. Click here to read more about Kashama.

Dry Tropical Forests of Parque Nacional Machalilla

Nothing quite prepares your eyes for the sight of the oddly-shaped trees in the dry tropical forests of Parque Nacional Machalilla.  Their hourglass shapes are spiked with formidable thorns and capped with crown-like tops, creating an inland landscape that is both foreign and delightful. 

At higher altitudes there are misty cloud forests with giant gray kapok trees. Throughout the park there co-exists a mixture of plants and animals I don’t usually think of as living in the same habitat.  Few places, even in Ecuador, contain such a variety of unlikely bedfellows. There are parrots and seabirds, howler monkeys, anteaters,  iguanas and deer.  Click here to read about Parque Nacional Machalilla.

 El Crater Hotel and Pululahua Crater

One of our favorite retreats in Ecuador is the beautiful El Crater Hotel sitting on a ridge above the Pululahua Crater, a short distance from Quito. Whether for a night or just for lunch, this is a great place to spend some time.

Laguna de Cuicocha and Beyond to Intag 

While Laguna de Cuicocha is one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador to visit, it is very popular with tourists and Ecuadorians alike.  To encounter another of the hidden places in Ecuador one must venture beyond the entrance to Laguna de Cuicocha and enter the reserve of Intag.   

An area less visited by tourists, this ruggedly beautiful area encompasses only a small part of Ecuador, yet it seems vast because travel is so slow along its rutted and winding roads.  Yet, with a little perseverance, one can hike along roaring rivers, ride mules to the mountain retreat of Los Cedros and soak in hidden thermal springs.  An especially nice one is located near the town of an hour from the town of Apuela. 

Intag is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, currently threatened by destructive mining practices.  

Click here to read more about Laguna de Cuicocha and Beyond to Intag.

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