Ecuador is an incredible country with its dramatic highland scenery, active snow-capped volcanoes, colorful indigenous cultures, photo-worthy colonial towns and the lush flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle. An Ecuador family vacation promises a unique, off-the-beaten-track experience to explore nature, learn about new cultures and bond with your loved-ones.
Even though many parents may hesitate at the idea of traveling to Ecuador with children, there are a few great reasons that an Ecuador family vacation can offer the ideal breakaway for you and your family members. It doesn’t matter their age, there are wonderful places to see and activities that will entertain and satisfy everyone.
So, if you are keen to learn more about the ideal Ecuador family vacation, keep reading!
– How to prepare
1. Travel Insurance
Even if you are a conscious traveler, and you have all your ducks in a row – most careful travelers are not immune to unexpected situations like car accidents, natural disasters, theft and unforeseen events. This should definitely not scare you off, and keep you overprotective over your loved ones.
Instead, we recommend investing in a well-designed travel insurance package to keep your mind at rest and which allows you to make the best out of your travel experience. Traditional plans may offer adequate domestic coverage, but they are not valid for international travel. Vacation insurance plans are plentiful, so make sure to do proper research to find the perfect fit for your family.
2. Food Safety
Trying different and exotic food while traveling is one of the best “real-life” experiences for indulging in the local culture. That being said – it’s always possible that our stomachs will react to new foods and water in unexpected ways. In some areas in the world, you could run into a nasty bug that can cause serious stomach problems. Don’t stress though! There are safeguards you can take to avoid cutting your vacation time, so that you can enjoy the delicious local food that Ecuador has to offer.
Never drink water from the tap! Bottled water is the safest option when you’re not certain about water hygiene, and don’t forget this when brushing your teeth either. Boiled water is fine, for tea and coffee for example. Also, consider this when washing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Avoid raw meats, even fish – since it is a risky proposition. Some may opt for ceviche, since it is citrus marinated, but check the restaurant reviews before diving in. Cuenca offers some of the most delicious seafood, but be sure everything is cooked well. Be careful when trying street food, choose a cart that appears pristine clean, and one with a source for washing your hands.
3. Altitude Sickness
Symptoms of altitude sickness occur when your body is exposed to a higher elevation within a short period of time. It can suddenly take effect when people are being transported or climbing to a higher elevation in a short period of time. The higher you reach, the lower the air pressure and oxygen levels get.
Our bodies are amazing, and are totally capable of handling this shift – but they need time to gradually adjust. Here are a few things you can do to prevent you, and your family from getting altitude sickness:
- Climb Slowly
It is advisable to slowly make your way up to higher altitudes. Our bodies need two to three days of slowly going higher in order to adjust to the changes. It is best to avoid flying or driving directly to high altitudes. Rather go higher up each day, stop to rest, and continue the next day.
When we are at higher altitudes, our bodies need more calories. This also keeps the body warmer, and gives us more energy to take on challenging hikes. So, pack lots of healthy snacks, including whole grains, for you and your family to enjoy.
- Avoid Alcohol
It is understandable that mommy and daddy would love to enjoy a glass of wine during their vacation, but leave the toasts until after the hikes. Alcohol, cigarettes, and medication like sleeping pills can worsen the effects of altitude sickness. Wait at least 48 hours to give your body time to adjust before having that drink to celebrate reaching the summit.
– Best Destinations
1. Galápagos Islands
We highly recommend cruising the Galápagos Islands with your family if your itinerary allow sit. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your kids to some of the most incredible land and marine wildlife in the world. It is common to spot giant Galápagos tortoises, sea lions, penguins, blue-footed boobies, iguanas, and more. A kid’s paradise!
The sandy white beaches serve as the perfect playground for children to run, play, swim and snorkel. Don’t forget to take them to the Charles Darwin Research Station of Santa Crus Island. There is an extensive exhibition hall and adjoining garden, and a public library. Your family will leave with a whole new wisdom and appreciation for island life.
Mindo is a popular town located in the cloud forest, a 2-hour drive from Quito. It has grown in popularity in the past ten years, mainly due to the humid, but relatively cool air, outdoor activities and different dining options.
Ziplining is a great activity for kids, and there are many hostels that offer well-marked forest trails with the opportunity to view local wildlife. There are many different restaurants, cafes and bars, which offer vegetarian options for plant-based families.
The historical city of Cuenca is a great choice for a family destination in the high altitude. The climate is mild, the food is delicious, and the city is rich with cultural history. Explore the historic center and the city’s various museums to teach your family more about Ecuadorian history – some museums are more suitable for children than others.
The famous Cajas National Park is only 45 minutes away, and a definite treat for your nature-loving children! It is totally possible to do a day hike and then return to your comfortable hotel room at night. Cuenca tends to be quite wet, with unexpected showers all-year-round – so, remember to pack your raincoat and good walking shoes.
In Quito families can explore the Old Town with a stop through Parque Itchimbia, which is located on a hill overlooking the city. Many local families visit the parks to play with kids, exercise and walk their dogs. We recommend stopping by Café Mosaico for lunch and a great view of the city, especially spectacular during sunset!
– Activities for Families in Ecuador
1. Ride Quito’s Cable Car for the best city views
Quito’s cable car ascends to a whopping 13 280 feet above sea level, making it the highest cable car ride in South America. Due to the altitude factor, babies under eighteen months are not allowed on the cable car due to possible breathing difficulties. The ride is about eighteen minutes to the top and the views on a clear day of the Andean peaks are absolutely stunning!
2. See handicrafts at Otavalo’s colorful market
Otavalo is probably Ecuador’s top destination mainly because of its handicrafts produced by indigenous people of the area. The Saturday Market on the Plaza de los Ponchos can get very busy, but it promises an exciting experience for the whole family, and everyone will be able to take something home with the fair prices of ponchos, stones, ceramics, and more.
3. Spot jungle animals in the Amazon jungle
All kids love animals, and what better place to experience an abundance of wildlife than cruising on the Amazon river? The Amazon hosts some of the world’s rarest wildlife, flora, and fauna that will amaze and captivate the whole family.
There are many beautiful jungle lodges that offer comfortable accommodation and provide exceptional activities for the entire family to enjoy. When cruising on the Amazon river be sure to look out for river dolphins, tapirs, monkeys, and other wild animals.
– Plan the perfect family trip with Kuoda
There are so many things to do and explore for families traveling in Ecuador. There are the daunting peaks of Andes, the mesmerizing Amazon rainforest, beautiful colonial towns, pristine beaches and so much more. These are just a few examples of the great contrasts and endless experiences that this diverse country has to offer.
Kuoda specializes in customized luxury travel throughout South America, and we have trained professionals on our team who are passionate about what they do. We can create the perfect package for you, which will include everything that you need to make your experience absolutely incredible.
Get in contact with us today, and start planning your trip with us. We promise a fun, exciting, and memorable journey. Speak with one of our trip designers to talk about your specific needs and requirements.