Luxury travel in Ecuador embraces the authentic adventures found within the four regions of the country and the stunning terrain within their borders.
Out of the way retreats beckon to those who want to celebrate the finer things in life, while immersing themselves in the outstanding natural reserves in the cloud forests, the Galapagos Islands, along with the coast, and in the jungle.
What makes luxury travel in Ecuador stand out is the level of commitment that goes into respecting the natural wealth in the country. In the jungle, lodges are built using traditional materials, in the Galapagos Islands land-based hotels are involved with conservation and preservation projects, in the cloud forest-hotels are part of large nature reserves where naturalists are part of the staff.
Each of the places listed below are the best options for those who want unparalleled service and accommodations, and unrivaled scenery, activities, and wildlife. Keep reading for ideas about luxury travel in Ecuador to put on your bucketlist.
This urban retreat beats with the rhythm of the forest while making discerning guests feel at home with state of the art design, top-shelf food, guides, services, and above the bar comfort.
Mashpì Lodge sits overlooking the rolling hills and valleys of the 3,200 acre Mashpi reserve in the cloud forest. It’s an elegant, modern building, mirroring the lush surroundings with floor to ceiling windows, spacious rooms with classic appointments, and a level of service that shows off the skill of the apt staff and guides.
The cloud forest in Ecuador has well over 450 species of birds, 400 kinds of orchids, and there are 300 types of butterflies found in the Mashpi reserve.
Groups of howler monkeys, three-toed sloths, and brown-headed spider monkeys also swing through Guácimo trees of the reserve. A suprising and impressive sight when exploring.
Trails start at the main lodge that lead to points across the property-crossing rivers and valleys to peaceful waterfalls, to observation towers, and to the life center-where guides take you through the breeding and life cycles of butterflies.
One of the lodge’s star attractions, apart from the wildlife and the accommodations, is the Sky Bike. A pedal powered ride stretching 700 ft. across a river gorge high in the canopy.
The guides at Mashpi are experts in the reserve, its eco-system, and the creatures that live there. Bird watching here is an adventure where different species appear out of the blue-guides deftly pointing them out before they fly off into the foliage.
Active hikes and night walks reveal the knowledge and experience of the staff-all of whom go through an extensive training period with the biologists of the lodge.
After a lavish adventure in the tropical forest, the lodge and its restaurant are a welcome sight that warmly plays host to groups, families, couples, and children. Gourmet food from the talented kitchen and an international wine list make eating an extravagant affair-where conversations turn from the news of the day to that of the activities of the reserve.
For more information about Mashpi Lodge, its amenities, and the vision of the founder and staff, check out this article.
Standing proudly while overlooking the spas, restaurants, hotels, and bed and breakfasts of the town of Banos below, Luna Runtun is an elegant spa and resort that reflects the exotic natural surroundings of the outdoor adventure capital of Ecuador.
The romantic get-a-way is the place to be after treks into the natural surroundings of the forest. Honeymoons and anniversaries are special occasions here- packages include spa treatments, three course meals, and suites decorated with rose petals.
Luna Runtun’s restaurant serves a medley of Ecuadorian dishes ranging from fresh seafood to Ecuadorian traditional food. Beef in red wine sauce, chicken stroganoff, and shrimp with aji are a few of the dishes that tempt the taste buds after a big day of adventure.
The collection of rooms spare no expense-redefining luxury travel in Ecuador to include an opulent retreat to call home between rafting, biking, canyoning, and climbing adventures. The resort’s spa and infinity pool let you splurge and relax, taking away to the worries that creep up during the hustle of everyday life.
Rock fireplaces and warm wood floors in spacious suites, expansive windows that let in the natural beauty of the lush surroundings, and oversized beds and bathtubs are a few of the special touches that make this resort shine.
The volcanic spa uses ashes and volcanic stones from the nearby, active Tungurahua volcano, and fresh and natural medicinal plants, fruits, and vegetables for a variety of treatments that include massages, facials, and mud wraps.
For those with a thirst for adventure, Luna Runtun is the place to use as a base while rafting Class III and IV rapids, canyoning in nearby waterfalls, horseback riding through the patchwork hills of the region, and biking to vistas overlooking rushing rivers and waterfalls.
Another off the beaten path spot that has made great strides in sustainable, luxury travel in the Galapagos, is a land-based collection of African safari tents surrounding a resplendent main lodge.
Above the bar service, family-friendly staff and guides, and a seasonal menu featuring tapas style food are the tip of the iceberg for discerning travellers.
Within the confines of the property is a warmth and elegance that lends itself to private getaways and adventures into the natural treasures of the islands.
Guides are naturals when it comes to showing guests of all ages the exotic wildlife on land and below the sea. Many have an extensive history in the islands, and this experience brings a relevant, people-oriented aspect to time exploring.
At the end of the day, the camp’s observation platform is the place to watch the sun set over the horizon before headed to dinner around a roaring fire or al fresco on the open terrace.
In addition to the spacious tents complete with stylish bathrooms, there is a family suite that’s suited for guests with small children. The owners’ children were born in the Galapagos, and the camp has been a pioneer in family travel in the islands.
If you are looking for an epic vacation that takes luxury travel in Ecuador to new heights, these three adventure centers offer elegance while fostering one-of-a-kind moments. The stunning landscapes, the wealth of wildlife, and the astounding activities combine into journeys that embrace the spirit of travel while delving deep in to the culture of the country.