Country Overview

Ecuador is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries in the world, full of howler monkeys in the forest, llamas in the Andes, and humpback whales along the coast. Highlights include Quito, the capital of Ecuador that is filled with Spanish colonial architecture, and the Galapagos Islands, which is surrounded by the second largest marine reserve in the world. With vibrant cultural cities, sleepy beach towns with amazing surf, and ancient jungles surrounded by active volcanoes and snow-capped peaks it's a must-visit destination for any nature lover.

Region: Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, famous as the location where Darwin developed his ideas on the Theory of Evolution, consists of 127 islands and islets, 19 of which are volcanic, and are situated 1,000 km (620 miles) from the coast of Ecuador. The UNESCO World Heritage Site called it a “living museum and showcase of evolution.” Human settlements are restricted to only 3% of the area, on four of the largest islands. The Galapagos Marine Reserve, which surrounds the islands, is the second largest in the world. Here you can see an incredible array of marine life, including hammerhead sharks, blue footed boobies, the giant Galapagos Turtle, iguanas, and penguins. 

Best off the beaten path lodges:

La Palapa Eco-Lodge

Sustainable Certification: Costa Rican Tourism Institute (pending)

Activities: Mountain Biking  Hiking  Bird-Watching  Rafting  Kayaking  Snorkeling  Surfing Wildlife Tours Horse-back Riding

La Palapa Eco Lodge Resort, is surrounded by tropical gardens and located in a virgin Tropical Rainforest, in the Central Pacific Coast of Portalon in Costa Rica, offering an incredible wildlife variety of fauna and flora. The perfect paradise for passionate wildlife lovers. A place where Toucans like to nest and wake you up every morning.

The La Palapa Resort is considered one of the most beautiful and well kept in the area, with grounds and tropical gardens beautifully maintained and clean, by dedicated staff that deliver the best service every day.

This is a very calm and quiet tropical rainforest resort away from modern civilization that delivers to all the clients that stay in it, the peace and tranquility that only a few have managed to create, respecting wildlife.

Rates: Peak season $110-159 per night / Off-Peak season $48-78 per night

La Cusinga Eco Lodge 

Sustainable Certification: TripAdvisor Green Leaders

Activities: Bird-Watching Surfing Hiking Horse-Back Riding Kayaking Wildlife Tours

La Cusinga Eco Lodge is a coastal rainforest eco lodge, pioneer in Eco Tourism and Sustainable Tourism. Dedicated to marine and terrestrial conservation and environmental education. Its location on the southern Pacific coast provides guests with sweeping ocean views and a relaxing beach vacation.

La Cusinga is part of a private nature reserve, that supplies the visitor with an unparalleled look at Costa Rican wildlife and rainforest. The reserve consists primarily of 200 hectares of virgin rainforest that borders thousands of more acres of privately protected forest.

La Cusinga Eco Lodge is located in Costa Rica’s still wild south-western Pacific coast, also borders Ballena Marine National Park. The “Parque Nacional Marino Ballena” was developed to protect the humpback whales that frequent the coast. 

Rates: $95 for shared bunk rooms, $150-225 for private and deluxe rooms

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