Podcast conversation with Santiago Martinez.

The Galapagos Islands are a magical place on the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. Today Santiago and I talked about this incredible destination and the many other worthy places to visit in Ecuador. It’s a country that is full of wildlife, marine life, culture, gastronomy, adventures and so much more.

Santiago knows Ecuador well – having been a guide for over 30 years in the remote jungles, volcanos, cloud forests, Andes and Galapagos Islands. In addition to the Galapagos, we talked about the Andes, Cloud Forest, Amazon, cities – Quito & Guayaquil and coastal areas, including Isla Plata, known as the little Galapagos.

Why is Ecuador amazing?

Because you can… go bird watching, ride a cable car, hike, mountain bike, learn about culture and anthropology, learn embroidery from artisans, take ancestral cooking classes, go horseback riding, watch condors, visit pyramids and volcanoes, learn about making cheese in a cheese factory, visit Cotopaxi National Park, wander markets, go fly fishing, adventure in a 4×4, take a luxury cruise, visit archaeological sites, go to the beach, see where Panama hats are made, do a Toak Chocolate tasting, have a picnic, visit with a famous painter, visit a working farm and go to the spa. That is a lot of fun and adventure packed in this fairly tiny country.

Ecuador checks many of the boxes I love to include for families:

  • Wildlife
  • Water
  • Unconventional accommodation
  • Unconventional transportation
  • Picnics and ice cream
  • (And of course, you can bring a beach or soccer ball)

If you want to go up in a helicopter, Santiago recommends flying over the “avenue of the volcanoes.”

Some of the hotels we talked about include:


Cloud Forest

Rain Forest

Northern Andes

Central Andes

Watch or listen to the show to hear about some of Santiago’s favorite restaurants and hidden gems, the best times to visit the Galapagos (and when not to) and other valuable nuggets to inspire your next trip.

Extraordinary Experiences for
Adventurous Families

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